How to find cheap train tickets

Book in advance

Advance train tickets are released up to 12 weeks in advance, so book as soon as you can if you know exactly when you would like to travel. There are a finite number of Advance tickets released before travel and they are not available on the day of travel.

Advance tickets are single (one way) tickets, so even if there is not an Advance ticket available for one direction of travel, you can combine it with an Anytime, Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak ticket to complete a return journey. TrainGenius.com will always display the cheapest tickets available for your search criteria.

Combining an Advance ticket with a more flexible ticket is also a great way to save money. You may wish to do this if you know you can travel on a specific service in one direction but would like flexibility for the other. For example, if you have a meeting which starts at 9am but you are unsure of when it will finish, you could combine an Advance ticket for your outbound travel and book an Anytime, Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak ticket for the return travel.

Advance tickets are ideal if you know exactly when you will travel; however, this may not always be possible. Keep reading to see other ways to make a saving.

Be flexible

To grab a bargain, try searching for different times on a given day, or even trying different dates. Having flexibility on when you can travel will mean you can search for the cheapest Advance tickets which suit your needs. If you find there are no Advance tickets available for a particular day or at the times you have selected, try adjusting your search to earlier or later in the day, or for a day either side of your selected date.

Another way to be flexible and still make a big saving is to book Off-Peak or, even better, Super Off-Peak tickets, rather than fully flexible Anytime tickets. Avoid travelling at Peak times of day, in most cases before 9:30am, though this can vary on different routes. If you can travel after 09:30am you could find a great deal, it may mean arriving at your destination less than an hour later than if you travel on a peak service.

Use a railcard

There are many National Rail Railcards which you may qualify for and they represent an excellent way to save a third or more off your rail travel. For a one off yearly fee, or in some cases a discounted fee for a longer period, you could start to save money with just one purchase. Below is a list of Railcards and how you may qualify. For full terms and conditions please visit Railcard.co.uk where you can also purchase most Railcards. Network Railcards cannot be purchased online and must be purchased at a staffed local station. The below is a brief summary of how to qualify for a railcard and the discounts which can apply:

  • 16-25 Railcard
    • If you are aged between 16 and 25, or are a mature student in full-time education, you could save 1/3 off rail fares.
  • Family and Friends Railcard
    • A great way for families to save money. As long as one of the two named adults is in possession of the Railcard, up to 4 adults and 4 children can travel on one railcard. A child is classed as aged 5 – 15. You can save 1/3 off Adult fares and 60% off child fares.
  • Senior Railcard
    • If you are over 60 you can save 1/3 off rail fares. Buying a 3 year Senior Railcard represents a further saving.
  • Disabled Persons Railcard
    • For eligibility please visit Railcard.co.uk and click the appropriate link. Holders of a Disabled Railcard can save 1/3 off most rail travel. In addition, if you travel with an adult, they also benefit from the discount where applicable.
  • Network Railcard
    • A Network Railcard offers a saving of 1/3 in the Network Railcard area and is available to all adults. You can also get discounted travel for up to 3 accompanying adults, and 4 children aged 5-15 years. As with the Family and Friends Railcard, adults will save 1/3 and children save 60%.
Use a London Travelcard

A London Travelcard offers unlimited travel on trains, the underground (tube), Docklands Light Railway (DLR), London Tramlink and buses in the zones for which it is valid, for one day.

With TrainGenius.com you can buy a Travelcard in two ways:

  • For most shorter distance (less than about 100 miles) train journeys to London, and some longer ones, you can buy a Travelcard as part of your train ticket. This is much cheaper than buying one separately. To do this, select “London All Zones Travelcard” as your destination, rather than “London (Any)” or a specific London station. For example, an off-peak Brighton to London All Zones Travelcard costs £30.40, which is just £3 more than an off-peak day return ticket – and, for that extra £3, you get unlimited travel around London
  • For longer distance journeys, you will most likely need to select your Travelcard after your train ticket, on the “Ticket Options” page. You can choose between Zones 1-2, Zones 1-4, and Zones 1-6 Travelcards. Many of the famous tourist attractions are within Zones 1 and 2.

In both cases you must be travelling to and from London on the same day – Travelcards will not show as part of your ticket if you are not returning on the same day.

Travelcards are available as “Peak” and “Off-Peak” versions. TrainGenius.com will show you which types are available for your journey. Off-Peak is generally after 09.30 Monday to Friday and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

London Travelcard prices

London Travelcard prices start from £7.30 for a Zones 1 & 2 Off-Peak Travelcard. A Zones 1-4 Off-Peak Travelcard is £8.00 and a Zones 1 – 6 Off-Peak Travelcard £8.90. Anytime Travelcards are, respecitively, £8.80, £11.00 and £16.40.

Railcard discounts also apply to Travelcards.

London Travelcards also offer fantastic discounts for kids:

  • Up to 4 children aged 11-15 inclusive can travel for just £1 each when they accompany an Adult Travelcard holder
  • Children under 11 can travel free with an Oyster Photocard (available free) – find out more at Transport for London’s website
Use TrainGenius.com

TrainGenius.com will always display the cheapest tickets available for your search criteria.

Easily navigate to early or later times and dates using the navigation functions on our fares page. Changing dates and times can help you find an even better value fare.

Easily check which train companies you will be travelling with by selecting the info button next to any service. If more than one Train Company operates on your selected journey, you can choose the service which suits you best. Sometimes a slower journey will be cheaper and if you can be flexible you can save money.

When your booking is complete, the TrainGenius.com customer service team are committed to providing all the aftercare which you may require. Visit our Help and Support page for information on how to make contact by email and phone.

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