26 February 2015

Posted by Discount Insurance on Thursday, February 26, 2015
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Trainsplit.com – a website which promises to save you up to 22% on each journey went viral this weekend. Interest is such that people are crashing the site in their eagerness to attempt to save money on the UK’s ever-more expensive rail fares.

But what other ways could you save money on your journey? Here we list some of the most straightforward:

1) Book 12 weeks ahead of when you travel

Train companies love to advertise how little it can cost to travel, but the reality is that much of these deals have to be booked months in advance.

The best time to look for a deal is around 12 weeks before the date you want to travel. Which does mean you have to plan in advance – but here’s the reason they do it – contractually Network Rail must finalise the train timetable 12 weeks prior to the journey, so the cheapest seats are available just after that decision is made.

2) Sign up to alerts

To help with the above, National Rail have also put together a future travel chart, where you can check the furthest ahead date that you can book.

Discount website TheTrainline also offers an alert system which emails when you when cheaper tickets for a specific journey become available.

3) Have friends

If you’re planning to visit a destination with a group, it pays to travel as a group. South West Trains offer discounts of up to 34% when groups of between three and nine people book together.

For example a trip from Waterloo to Bournemouth – otherwise costing £208 – costs only £137.20 when booked as a group.

Note: if you still have a young person railcard this option may not work out cheaper. For those who are over this hump, this may be a great alternative.

4) Understand your railcards

A student railcard isn’t the final say of discount cards. Here are some overlooked favourites that might be worth looking into.

Family and Friends railcard, which gives you 60% off on child fares and a third off adult fares. Two together: third off for two named adults on card travelling together.

The Network Railcard for southern England is a steal: third off adult fares and a £2 flat fare for children travelling within the designated zone.

All railcards do come with terms, conditions and initial costs but they’re worth glancing over.

5) Watch out for peak times

If you’re taking a particularly long journey or popular one, your journey may include some peak times. But if you don’t split up your travel then you will be charged with peak fares for the entire journey. 

This can turn a relatively inexpensive journey into an eye watering one.

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