Money Saving: Cheaper Train Tickets

Today I managed to book tickets for a return journey from Newark Northgate to Manchester, for £6 cheaper than the standard price*. How did I do it? I split the journey. My ticket covers exactly the same route, times and changes, but because I paid for two separate return journeys (Newark - Doncaster, Doncaster - Manchester), I only paid £25 rather than £31.

It might not sound like much of a worthwhile saving but if, like me, you travel by train quite regularly (i.e. more than a couple of times a month), you could be looking at over £200 worth of savings.

Top tips for saving when booking train tickets:

  • Book online in advance - Although many short journeys promise the same price on the day when bought at the station, it is better to be prepared .Save having to queue at the ticket office and risk being late for your train and paying over the odds, and book online from the comfort of your sofa, and more to the point save £££s!
  • Use your railcard when booking your train tickets to get a discount - A young persons railcard is available to anyone aged between 16 and 25 and can save you upto 1/3 on ticket prices. More information (including other types of railcards and how to apply) can be found here: http://www.railcard.co.uk.
  • Take advantage of discount fares - Sign up to email alerts from the 4 main Train ticket sites (East Coast Trains, The Trainline, RailEasy, and National Rail) and they will email you with special discounted ticket fares for customers for popular routes.
  • Look at the different types of tickets on offer - Sometimes buying 2 single tickets can be cheaper than a return ticket, likewise an off-peak return ticket with specific times for travel is likely to be cheaper than an open return ticket. Split the journey if a saving can be made, like I did.
  • It pays to book train tickets at least one month before your travel date, ideally 12 weeks before (as this is the maximum time most ticket sites allow you to book in advance).
For more information on how to get cheap train tickets, check out this guide from Martin Lewis on Moneysavingexpert.com.

(*my journey included a young person's railcard, so savings on a standard non-railcard ticket may be even greater)