Train Tickets And Prices
It is very frustrating when you consider that you can now fly from the UK to other countries in Europe for less money than it costs for a train ticket from your home town, city or village to another town city or village in the UK. I myself cannot understand how this can be the case but as long as people continue to pay the high prices charged for these fares, the longer the fares will continue to rise. Sadly, there does not seem to be a decrease in rail fare so, if you need to catch the train to your chosen destination, it makes sense to ensure you pay the least amount of money possible for your train tickets!
It really does seem ridiculous that it costs more to travel 50 miles from one destination to another, in the same country, than it does to travel 1000-2000 miles from one country to another by air!
Anyway, I could go on all day about this but the bottom line is, that no matter how long I spend discussing the matter on this page, it will not change the fact that train fares are expensive in the UK and just seem to keep rising! What we really need to discuss is how you can minimise the amount you pay for your train tickets before travel and the simple tips you can use to cut the cost of your travel. This guide is designed to provide information on how to get cheap train tickets.
Advance Bookings For Train Tickets
As with the majority of travel purchases, it generally seems that the more in advance you book your train tickets, the cheaper they will be. There was a lot of publicity surrounding ‘Advance Train Tickets’ and how you could get your train tickets for a fraction of the price if you book them in advance. So, in order to receive the best deals on your train tickets and ensure you get them for a fraction of the price, how far do you need to book them in advance?
The majority of train tickets generally go on sale 12 weeks in advance of the actually departure date for the journey. The reason for this is simply because the rail companies must release the timetable at least 12 weeks before the departure date. So, in theory, if you book your tickets for your travel as soon as they go on sale (12 weeks in advance) you should get the best deals. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and many people have stated that when they have searched for prices of train tickets for their specific journey 12 weeks in advance, the price has been no different to the Standard fixed price for the journey were they to book it closer to the date of travel or even buy the ticket at the station on the same day as they travel! This has caused a little confusion with passengers and many have been reluctant to buy their tickets in advance, simply because they believe that they will not save any more money by doing so. The big question is ‘Should you buy your tickets in advance or wait nearer the date of travel?’. To be honest I believe there is only two outcomes and they are.
- You can buy your tickets in advance and hopefully you will either get them at the standard rate or a little cheaper. One thing is for certain, you will never pay more than the ‘Standard’ rate for the ticket which you will probably have to pay were you to buy your ticket on the day of your travel.
- If you wait nearer the time of travel you may receive a discount but if not, you will still be charged the ‘Standard’ rate anyway!
Hopefully, the following tips might help you with making the decision of whether to purchase your train tickets in advance or simply wait to buy them on the day of travel.
Obviously, you can only book your rail tickets 12 weeks in advance if you know that you will be travelling on a certain date to a specific destination. As I said earlier, the ticket prices may not always be cheaper 12 weeks in advance and if they are not any cheaper at the time you look, there are a couple of ways in which you can still find the best deals and prices.
Sounds very obvious doesn’t it but many people believe that the cheap train tickets are only available when they are released 12 weeks in advance but the truth is if there are still plenty of seats left, you can still purchase cheap tickets the night before or even on your way to the station if they are available. I would not say that this is always the case and would certainly not advise you to rely on this method but sometimes you can be lucky! This method is definitely worth trying if you are travelling last minute and do not know your travel itinerary weeks in advance.
Most Advance Train tickets are available up to midnight the night before the departure date but it is recommended to check with each company to see what their policies and Terms and Conditions are.
Train Tickets Alerts System
If you do know the specific dates you wish to travel and to where you want to travel to, you can take advantage of a FREE service that will ensure you receive information on the best deals and prices. The Trainline now provides a FREE Alerts service that will instantly inform you the moment that any cheap advance tickets are released for the journey you would like to purchase tickets for.
The service is very simple to use and all you need to do is register and then type in the dates and destination you would like to travel.
The theory is that the sooner you book your tickets in advance, the cheaper they will be. Sometimes this may not actually be the case but if you know your dates of travel and destination, you could save a large amount of money by booking 12 weeks in advance. If you do not know and are traveling last minute, it is worth looking online before you travel to the station as you may still be able to purchase your train tickets at a discount price.