Travelling by train is one of the most popular methods of getting to and from University, or to go on a day trip. But unfortunately for students, rail transport in the United Kingdom is among the highest in the world. Getting around the country is a very, very expensive action! In this article, we look at seven different ways that you can save money when it comes to travelling by train. Remember to take a look around our advice section for more articles like this.
1. 16-25 Railcard
This is the easiest way to save money, and certainly the most fruitful too! A 16-25 railcard gives you a third off all rail travel! The only exclusion is peak times, which we’ll come on to later. A 16-25 railcard costs £30 per year. While the initial cost can be expensive – after just two or three journeys you will have already made your money back! Over the course of University, it is well worth doing. 16-25 railcards can be purchased here. Also, Santander customers can get a 16-25 railcard for free as part of their student bank account – see more about bank accounts for students here.
2. Wait for Sales
Every now and then, train companies will have sales where you can save money. If you are wanting to go into London, but have no imminent need – then consider waiting for a cheap deal to appear. Virgin Trains often slash prices, which is useful for Northern-based students. Other companies too will follow suit, so consider subscribing for emails – getting you offers directly to your email!
3. Only Travel Off-Peak
This, with the 16-25 railcard aside, is where you will make your biggest saving. Travelling at peak times will often be at least double the price of travelling off-peak! Over time, travelling off-peak will save you considerably. Peak times are before 9am and around 5pm. Ensure you book outside of those times! The worst part of it all is that peak trains, as they are usually carrying the workforce of the UK, are notoriously hard to get a seat – as our beloved Jeremy Corbyn found.
4. Book In Advance
If you know the date of your travel, consider booking as early as possible! The same rule applies as we see with planes – the earlier you book, the cheaper they are. You can often save around 40% by booking a few months before. While it is of course difficult to know your plans three months in advance, if you do know – then go ahead and book early!
For as advanced as our transport system is, sometimes complete journeys don’t always work out cheaper. For instance, if you are travelling from a small town to London, with multiple changes involved – it can often work out cheaper buying tickets singularly. There are some useful websites to help you with this – Split-ticketing and Train-split are two useful sites – it is always worth checking! Just as a warning, these sites aren’t the easiest to navigate around!
6. Make Some Money Back!
While we are only talking pennies to begin with, when you book online, many rail companies offer a loyalty card to be linked to your purchase. E.g. purchases online with Great Western Railway can earn you Nectar points, or Virgin Trains can result in money towards Virgin offerings. There are always ways of making some money back!
7. Be Prepared!
This final point is based around food and drink on the train! It is a good idea to think ahead and bring anything you need yourself. Try not and buy anything on the train – the prices border on the extortionate. Hopefully these seven ways should prove helpful to you, and free up more money to spend elsewhere!
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