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Mastering the Rail: How to Find Cheap Train Tickets

By Jesse Wallace Subscribe to RSS | May 17th 2012 | Views:

As economists have explained, Britain's experiencing a ‘double dip’ recession and to make matters worse, it seems as though the cost of living is rising relentlessly. It’s easy to cut back a little bit with your weekly grocery shop, or to avoid high street fashion in favour of cheaper brands, but with travel it seems that such corners can’t be cut.

Of course, that’s unless you know where and when to look. While rail fares continue to rise, commuters and travellers alike can rest easy in the knowledge that, with a little bit of savvy, it’s simple to get your hands on cheaper tickets.

Buy as Early as Possible

To get the best deal on your train ticket, you need to book in advance. Train providers usually set their timetables 12 weeks in advance, so you should really start looking for tickets three months before you plan to travel. If you get in there early enough, you can pick up a real bargain. These advance tickets often sell out quickly, so be sure to get your tickets as early as possible.

Buy Singles instead of Returns

Return tickets may sound like they’ll be cheaper, but sometimes this isn’t the case. When you’re looking for cheap rail tickets be sure to look at the combined cost of two singles as well as the cost of a return ticket. This may restrict you to travelling at a certain time, but it can save a lot of money depending on where and when you are travelling. Of course, it’s not always the case: and in rare cases you can find a return ticket that’s cheaper than a single.

Buy more tickets

Splitting tickets may sound illegal, but it’s actually completely within the law as long as the train you’re travelling on stops in every station mentioned on the tickets. The way split tickets work is, instead of purchasing a ticket for the full journey, you buy a ticket to an intervening station. You also buy a ticket from the intervening station to the final destination.

In short, you have two tickets to cover a journey instead of one. This might sound like it will cost more money, but surprisingly it can work out cheaper. It may take some playing around with the booking website to find the perfect combination, but again, it’s worth it in the end.

This is a particularly good trick to use if part of your train journey is during peak times: simply split the ticket at the last station that falls within peak travel time, and book an off-peak ticket for the rest of your journey.

Get a Railcard

It may sound like a no-brainer, but if you travel frequently, a Railcard can save you a lot of money. For an annual fee, the railcard entitles the holder to discounted rail tickets. There are special Railcards for those who are under 26 and over 60, and some that are designed with families in mind.

Jesse Wallace - About Author:
Jesse Wallace writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.

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