Travelling: How to save money on train fare

Being in a long distance relationship, I travel by train a lot. Maybe 2-3 times a month, which means a lot of my money goes on train fare. It can be a lot for people who travel on a frequent basis for whatever reason. I have been travelling this many times in a month (and maybe more) for the last 3 years almost, so I think I have an okay amount of knowledge about how to save. I’ve tried various things to try and help me to save money that I wanna share so that others can save too!

I buy an open return to my boyfriends so that I can come home whenever I want within the month validity of my ticket. This should cost me £22.50 which is a big sum. So here’s afew tips to help others to save money:

  • Railcards: I have a 16-25 railcard that helps me to save money. As mentioned before, my usual fare is £22.50. Because I have a railcard, it gets it down to £14.50 which is amazing. It’s still a lot, but it’s better than paying £22.50. You can get a railcard at your local train station or online through the website. Simply take your evidence of age with you and a passport sized photo. It’s £30 for 1 year or £70 for 3 years.
  • Split ticketing: This is where you buy individual tickets for the individual trains you are going to board. When I worked out my fare through split ticketing, it saved around £4 with my railcard. It’s not a massive saving, but it’s something!
  • Saving tickets: If you have an open return ticket that has not been scanned by ticket barriers and has not been marked by stamp/pen, you could use it again. It is still valid. However, you cannot use it again if it has not been stamped but has been put through a ticket barrier. Once a ticket has been put through the barrier, it cannot be used again. Please bare that in mind if you consider doing this!
  • Pre-booking tickets: By pre-booking tickets, you are getting a cheaper rate somehow. Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting a seat because you have one booked for you! I personally use trainline.com. Simply pick your train time and seat preference, pay, and collect from the pre-booked ticket machines with your code.
  • Virgin trains: If you don’t have a railcard and decide to buy tickets on the day, Virgin train only tickets are cheaper from the train station. However, this means that you can only travel with Virgin trains.
  • One way tickets: If you decide to save your open return ticket, you can buy a one way ticket. With this, I often pre-book tickets online and save money. With my railcard, I can get a train to Manchester for £2 (on Northern trains only) and then got the second train to my boyfriends for £3.35. This is a massive saving. Please note that Northern trains from Stoke-on-Trent to Manchester do take around an hour, but for £2 you can’t complain!

I really hope this has helped train travelers in some way! If you have any other tips, please comment below and make suggestions.

Lots of love,

georgiax

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