Are you living in the UK ? Lucky you, there are so many interesting places to visit around the country ! However, you must have heard and seen for yourself that transport can be quite costly. While this may be true, the good news is that some extra planning may save you huge amounts of money. Here are some tips for travelling around the UK.
The Big Decisions
Firstly, it is very important to look at your particular circumstances (location, work, personal habits, etc.) and make sure that the choices you make are not ones you will be regretting in the future. To start with, is it important for you to live close to where you work or study, or would you be fine taking longer to commute every day ? Are you planning to live, work or study in the same place for a long time or is it only a temporary situation?
Also, would you like to be driving on regular basis ? Would this be beneficial to your physical and mental heath ? Is it worth investing in a (new) car, insuring it and maintaining it ?
Travelling by Train
Let us start our discussion with the British railway network. Whilst it is well organised and travelling by train is both quick and enjoyable, you may find that the prices scare you off. That is why it is important to plan your journey in advance and to get hold of a relevant discount card if you are eligible for one.
You are more likely than not to be able to get hold of a Railway card, which usually costs £30 (per year) and would normally get you one third off the prices of train tickets. If you are aged between 16 and 25, you may consider getting a hold of a 1-year (£30) or 3-year (£70) 16-25 Railcard. You are allowed to buy these types of cards respectively right before your 26th birthday and right before your 24th birthday.
You already have children or have friends that do ? Then the most suitable card for you may be the Family and Friends Railcard. With it, up to four children and three adults that travel together can get a significant discount : 30 per cent off the price for adults and 60 per cent for children.
If you tend to travel with one particular person, the two of you can get a Two Together Railcard. You will be getting a discount only when you are travelling together.
Network Railcards are available only for Southern England, and they get one third off the price for up to four adults and 60% off the price for up to four children.
To go further, Senior Railcards are available for people over 60, and Disabled Persons Railcards (at £20 for a year or £54 for three years) are accorded to disabled people as well as one accompanying adult. There are often further discounts on these kinds of Railcards.
Start checking for tickets and reserving them as early as possible. The cheapest of advance tickets are usually available 12 to 10 weeks before a journey, although tickets that are significantly cheaper than what they would cost on the day of the journey may be on sale as late as the night before. If you are well aware of where you are going, you may subscribe to get email alerts for cheap tickets to your destination.
Depending on the exact route you are taking, you may also save a significant amount of money if you use season tickets, which are valid for one year. Off-peak and super off-peak tickets are also a bargain if you can afford to choose the time of your travel outside of peak times (peak times are usually before 10 am and between 4 and 7 pm).
Other little ‘tricks’ for reducing the price of tickets include buying single rather than return tickets (strangely enough, this may be cheaper in isolated cases) and dividing your journey into ‘parts’ even if you will be using one and the same train.