How to get cheap UK train tickets

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12/4/2021 4:30:00 PM

We've got you covered 👇

Ride that rail for a fraction of the cost.

, or you simply love exploring different parts of the country – many of us still need to use them.That begs the question: is there a way to ride the railway without putting a dent in your wallet?Well, there’s no magic solution for exceedingly cheap rail travel, especially if you need to make a last-minute journey.

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However, there are some discounts available and a few unexpected savings to be made – if you’re willing to work for them.If you want cheaper train tickets, here’s what you need to do.How to get cheap train tickets in the UKBook earlyIt’s worth buying an advance ticket if you can (Picture: Getty)

Usually, train tickets for journeys in England, Wales, and Scotland are released 12 weeks in advance.And yep, this is the best time to buy them.TheTrainlinesays that early birds can expect to save up to 61%.If you’re making a journey in the future, and you’ve got the flexibility to book ahead, it’s almost always worth doing.

The earlier the better, really, as cheaper advance fairs are snapped up quickly by savvy travellers and commuters.Buy off-peak tickets for the best pricesFor lowest possible price, you do want an advance ticket – as mentioned above.But you’ll also want to travel at an

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, which is essentially any weekday after 9am (or 9.30am, depending on the train operator), until around 4pm.To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser thatsupports HTML5 videoAfter 7pm, it’s also considered off-peak time, after the big rush of commuters trying to get home.

Happily, Saturdays, Sundays, and bank holidays are considered off-peak all day long – so if you’re travelling on a weekend, you can benefit from slightly cheaper fares.Save up to a third on rail tickets with a railcardThere arenine different types of railcards

that are valid across the country, which help you save a good chunk on ticket costs.If you’re a young person (under 30), part of a couple/family/group who travels via train together often, a train passenger who mostly travels around London, or are an older person (over 60), then there’s a railcard for you.

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The current options are:16 – 17 Saver Railcard:Teenagers aged 16 or 17 can save as much as 50% on their rail tickets, with this special Saver railcard.Youngsters should start on the Saver card, if they can, before moving on to the 16 – 25 railcard.Who can save with a railcard? (Picture: Getty)

16 – 25 Railcard:Young people are able to take advantage of cheaper rail fares, getting one-third off standard ticket prices, for just £30 per year.26 – 30 Railcard:People aged 26 to 30 years old can continue the benefit of the previous railcard, with a discount of one-third off train tickets.

Two Together Railcard:This digital-only railcard is available to a couple – or a pair of friends, flatmates, or colleagues – who regularly travel on the same service at the same time.It costs £30 per year, so just £15 each. Alas, it’s only for joint journeys, so you can’t use it when you both make separate train trips.

Family & Friends Railcard:This railcard is similar to the Two Together option, except it’s for larger families.Up to four adults travelling with up to four children can take advantage of big savings: one-third off adult ticket prices, with up to 60% off each child ticket.

You can name two adults on the card, so it can be used by one parent, for example, when they’re travelling with a bunch of kids. It costs £30 a year, and can also net you discounts on various family activities.Visit thefor the full terms and conditions.

Families can save on train tickets with a railcard (Picture: Getty)Network Railcard:For those travelling in London and South East England, you could save as much as £191 per year (maybe more) on regular train travel with this railcard, at a cost of £30 for one year.

Disabled Persons Railcard:This railcard costs £20 per year, or £45 for three years.To get this railcard, you’ll need to meet eligibility criteria, such as receiving Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Attendance or Severe Disablement Allowance, or Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Alternatively, if you have epilepsy, a visual or hearing impairment, or purchase a motorised vehicle through the Motability scheme, you’ll also be entitled to it.The full list of eligibility criteria is available on the.Veterans Railcard:If you’ve worked in the UK Armed Forces, you might be able to qualify for cheaper train travel.

The railcard costs £30 for a year’s use, but you’ll save one-third on all train tickets. If you travel frequently by train, it’s worth the price.Railcard can be used when booking online or at a station (Picture: Getty)How to get a railcard? To get one, you’ll need to apply online at

Railcard’s official website.The site will typically ask for ID (such as a passport), which acts as proof of age, as well as a passport-size photo of yourself to be featured on the railcard (so no one else can borrow it, sadly).The railcard is stored in the Railcard app on your phone – but if you’d rather have a physical railcard, go to your nearest National Rail train station’s ticket hall to buy instead.

You can use it when booking online, or if you’re booking a ticket at a station.Travel a lot? Go for a flexi season ticketPart-time commuters may be able to benefit fromrecently-introduced flexi tickets.In June 2021, new season tickets were created, allowing eight days of travel over a 28-day period at a reduced price.

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser thatClearly, it’s aimed at flexible workers, who post-pandemic are able to divide their hours between home and the workplace – rather than trudging into the office five days a week.

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