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Tips on Getting Cheap Rail Tickets in the UK

Travelling by train in the UK is most enjoyable, fast and a convenient mode of travel. However, they are quite expensive as a one way journey from Chester which is just below Manchester to London can cost anywhere between £9 and £250 for a journey that lasts for just about two hours. As such, it is important to know how to get a ticket near the £9 end of the price range. The following tips can be of great help.

Make an Early Booking: There is no point in delaying the booking of your train ticket if you have already decided the date of your travel as prices will not come down.

Keep Track of Sales: Train tickets are also similar to airlines tickets in respect of sales offers and as such it is a good idea to keep track to find out when such sales will be happening. The best way is to keep checking the website or sign up for email updates that will keep you updated. Attractive sales of train tickets are often offered by Transpennine Express but the percentages keep changing. 

Build Up Your Nectar Points: Each time you book train tickets, you can get Nectar points and as such you should keep collecting them as you will be able to redeem them when necessary.

Try to Travel at Off-Peak Times: The best way to get cheap train ticket is to travel at off-peak time. However for availing of this facility, you have to know which are the peak times and the off-peak times. You may be quite wrong in your assessment of which is the off-peak time as in the case of London Euston station, any time between 15.01 and 18.44 is peak time which is unexpected because 15,30 pm certainly seems to be off-peak.

Booking for Specific Times Saves Money: If you book for a specific time, the train ticket will definitely be cheaper although you may lose flexibility regarding travel. You can book an open return ticket if you are not sure as to when you will be coming back but this is often more expensive.

Get Cheaper Peak Train Tickets on Thursdays and Fridays: You can get cheaper train tickets for peak time travel on Thursdays and Fridays as more people work from home or travel for business on the days that are nearer the weekend.

Get A Railcard: If you buy a railcard that will cost you £30, you can get a discount of one-third of the cost of your rail ticket. The validity of the railcard is 12 months but you may be able to recover its cost even with one journey. You can even qualify for a Young Person’s Railcard if you are 25 years of age or younger. It would be a good idea to apply for a under 25 railcard anytime during your 25th year but before you turn 26 and you will be able to avail of its discounts until you are almost 27.

Staying at a Grand Park London Hyde Park hotel is convenient to reach other places in the UK as Paddington and other stations are located close by.

Break up your journey: Taking a combination of shorter train journeys works out cheaper than a single long journey, especially if you are travelling at peak times. However, it is inconvenient to switch trains en-route your journey especially if you have a lot of luggage or if you are travelling with kids. You can also take a train that stops at many stations if you are not hard-pressed for time as it will be cheaper. You can get the train to Paddington and Hyde Park quite easily from other places in London.

Free Wi-Fi: You can get Wi-Fi only in first class compartments and as such if you are not travelling by first class, you can try to sit as close as possible to this compartment as you may be able to pick up the Wi-Fi signal. Wi-Fi supplied by T-mobile can be bought on Virgin trains.

Upgrading to First Class:

Travelling by first class is a pleasure and a great experience as you will get a meal or a snack and unlimited drinks along with a bigger seat and Wi-Fi. You can often upgrade to first class for as little as £5 especially if you are travelling at the weekend. The upgrading can be done at the time of booking your ticket or you can simply enter the first class compartment and find out if any spare seats are available, which are mostly there. Hot meals are not available during the evenings but a snack box is served. If you are not taking advantage of the free drinks offer, it would not be worth upgrading to first class.

Reserve Your Seat Before Travel: Since the trains in the UK are mostly full, it would be frustrating to enter a compartment and find it completely full, in which case you may have to sit on the floor if the journey is essential for you. As such, it is better to reserve a seat in advance.

However, when the train is full, you may be allowed to sit in the first class if you have a regular ticket. As such, if the train is full, it would be a good idea to move around near the first class as you may be lucky to get a seat there.

This post was written by

Fergus Brandon – who has written posts on All Here.


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