Britons are expected to cut the cost of Christmas travel to see friends and family by using a Railcard and by snapping up cheap Advance tickets, according to rail companies.
Last year savvy shoppers saved around £7m just by using a Railcard to cut the cost of rail travel over Christmas. Hundreds of thousands of students, young people and over 60s are expected use their Railcards again to slash up to a third off the cost of most tickets as they plan ahead for the festive getaway.
And millions of pounds more will be saved even without a Railcard, as thousands of cheap Advance fares go on sale this week for travel during the festive season.
Examples of great value fares now available include:
• London to Plymouth - £ 13.00 Advance Single fare (just £ 8.60 with a 16-25 Railcard)
• Birmingham to Sheffield - £ 12.00 Advance Single fare (just £ 7.90 with a 16-25 Railcard)
• London to Norwich - £ 8 Advance Single fare (just £5.30 with a 16-25 Railcard)
• Sheffield to Liverpool - £6 Advance Single fare (just £3.95 with a 16-25 Railcard)
The number of cheap Advance fares sold has more than doubled over the last five years. Advance fares become available to buy around 12 weeks before the date of travel and the vast majority of them are available to buy at stations or online, though some of the very lowest Advance fares are only available on the operator’s own website.
The National Rail Enquiries website, nationalrail.co.uk, includes a Cheapest Fare Finder tool, which offers a cheaper alternative route to the journey requested if one is available.
Being flexible on the days and times of travel often means people can find a cheaper ticket. Train companies also encourage passengers to check if they are eligible for a Railcard, which gives them up to a third off most rail fares including many Advance tickets to make the savings even bigger.
Edward Welsh, Director of Corporate Affairs at the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: “Christmas is a time for being with friends and family and there are two sure-fire ways to make big savings on a train journey to get together, by buying in advance or using a Railcard.
“Thousands of cheap Advance tickets are now being offered by train companies for Christmas time and customers can save even more money on these and on other fares by using a Railcard. More and more people are recognising the benefits of booking early to take advantage of cheap fares, with around a million Advance tickets now sold every week.”