UK train rip-off
Anyone who has travelled by train in England or the UK knows it is expensive. Unlike flying, there’s little in the way of UK train loyalty rewards, and no points to redeem for free journeys. I’d definitely be a Millionaire (of loyalty points, that is!) if that was the case!
A standard train journey from Sheffield to London often costs well over £100. Seriously, I can fly to a bunch of places in Europe for less! If I want to travel first class for some much-needed extra space, a hot breakfast and free wi-fi, that price might exceed £300!
UK train travel hacks
Whilst you are unlikely to ever get a budget airline, bargain bucket fare of £9.99, there are a few hacks you can use to get a better deal on train fares.
Book at least two weeks in advance
Virgin entice you to book early with discounts of up to 40%. This can make a huge difference, particularly if a number of you are travelling.
Book off-peak tickets
As someone who has travelled the East Coast Line from Sheffield to London every week for pretty much the last three years, this is the best piece of advice I can give you. If you jump on a train at 8am, you are not going to get the best fare. Why would you even want to? After all, if you are on holiday, you are supposed to be chilling!
Have a leisurely breakfast, book your train mid-morning and you will be surprised by how much you can save!
If three or more people are travelling you can claim a 20% discount so why not get together with friends and save? You can also take advantage of a number of 2 for one offers by travelling by train. In London, for instance, you can book a BOGOF deal to the Sealife Aquarium and Arsenal.
Sign up for alerts
You may also wish to sign up for alerts for cheaper tickets on the Virgin website.
Still too expensive?
If the prices are simply still too expensive, you can check out tickets on National Express buses which run frequently from London Victoria to destinations throughout the UK. Buses are better value but do take longer (especially if you get stuck in rush hour traffic!)
Finally, the newest kid in town is Megabus. Their buses may not be as comfortable as National Express, but you can occasionally pick up tickets for less than a cup of coffee.
Do you have any tips for getting cheap UK trains?
I’d love to know them.