By Lucy Buglass
We’re two weeks into October, so Christmas is rapidly approaching. If you’ve got children coming home for the festive period, here’s how to get the best train fares.
Thanks to Martin Lewis at Money Saving Expert, we now know exactly when we should be booking train tickets in order to get the best deals. It’s common knowledge that booking them as far in advance as we can, but there’s a specific time period.
Rail companies tend to promote their cheapest train tickets 10 – 12 weeks before the travel date, but they’re in high demand of course. So your best bet is to let your children (or anyone who may need them) know that they should book sooner rather than later.
Out of 30 UK rail firms, 17 have already released advance train tickets up to Saturday 21st December or further.
Some others have released them for the entire month of December, so it’s worth checking as soon as you can.
London Northwestern and London North Eastern Railway are offering tickets up to 12th and 13th December respectively.
Virgin Trains and Southeastern are offering tickets up until 22nd December.
CrossCountry and Great Western Railway are offering tickets up to 27th December.
For the full list of train companies, Money Saving Expert shared a breakdown on their website, detailing exactly when tickets across a number of rail companies could be purchased.
They have also recommended signing up for a free alert which will notify you when tickets are going on sale, so you can be first in line for cheap tickets. You can do this by visiting Trainline and putting in your journey details.
If your children are aged between 26-30, they’re eligible for a Railcard, which saves them 1/3 off rail fares. According to National Rail, the average Railcard user saves £125 a year.
It costs £30 a year and guarantees savings on a number of journeys. So it’s worth doing!
To further save money, travellers can also check to see if buying two single tickets is cheaper than a return, as that’s often the case.
You can also buy a pre-Christmas advance single when they’re released, then do the same with a post-Christmas advance single at a later date.
So now you can get all the Christmas tickets in advance, life admin can be done ASAP and you’ll have more time to relax with the family this festive season.
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