Tips for Cheaper Train Tickets

I think most people have a moan about British Rail from time to time and I’m sure out here in West Wales we have our fair share of cancelled and late trains.#

However I did get a really good deal with them the other day. My mum is coming to stay and as usual is taking a rather round about route to get here (via Durham!) As her resident travel agent it was my job to sort out the train tickets.

At first glance it looked like it was going to be fairly expensive with a single journey from Durham to Aberystwyth costing about £94. That’s without tickets from Liverpool to Durham and Aberystwyth back to Liverpool.

I did a bit of detective work using www.qjump.co.uk and managed to get it a little cheaper by splitting journeys up, e.g. Liverpool to York, then York to Durham.
Using the website I got about a 50% saving with the whole journey costing around £70 instead of the original £150.

However, experience shows that the staff in the train station usually have a few tricks up their sleeves and nearly always get a better deal. It is certainly worth doing a bit of homework first and checking out train times, routes etc and I always make sure I go along when there isn’t a train due to leave so they aren’t so busy.

The staff in the station at Aberystwyth have always been more than happy to help out, often spending half and hour or so trying to find the best deal.

Sure enough half an hour later I’d managed to get the entire journey for £36, that’s over £100 saving. Maybe we’re lucky and have exceptionally helpful staff. Maybe because Aberystwyth is a small station they have time to help but whatever the reason we couldn’t ask for a better service.

Top Tips

1. Book in advance

2. Be flexible, for example we saved by having a longer waiting time at York (only 20 minutes or so) and the later train had cheap tickets available on it.

3. Do your homework. Know the times you need to travel and all the alternative routes to get there

4. Search around for cheap tickets (you may be restricted to certain trains etc. but usually get a reserved seat and if a train is delayed you can continue your journey on the next available train)

5. Ask at your local station if you have one nearby

6. Get a rail card (http://www.railcard.co.uk/). These can offer up to a third of journeys and often pay for them selves on the first trip.

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