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Go by Train, 5 Ways to Save Tons of Money on Tickets

Cheap Train Tickets
photo by JasonRogers

Cheap train tickets anyone? A month doesn’t seem to go past without another, “Train ticket prices set to rise by [insert inflation busting value here]%”. True, UK train ticket prices are generally rising, but as with flying there are some bargain offers to be had.

Here’s my top 5 tips:

1.) Buy Early

Cheap tickets are available on most journeys and routes. But as with airlines, these tickets are often loss leaders to the train operating company. Therefore always aim to book your tickets at least 3 weeks if not 4/5 weeks in advance, as these seats are limited per train. Remembering peak time tickets are most sought after by bargain hunters/experienced rail travellers.

2.) Split Your Journey

Experiment online, often there are silly things when buying your ticket. For instance a ticket booked for a train between Cardiff and London can cost a lot more than a ticket between Cardiff and Bristol, then Bristol and London. Even though you may stay on the same train all the way through! Just remember booking a ticket which starts or ends beyond where you are getting off is against the terms of travel, so even if it is cheaper, don’t do it! I will give you an example I just looked at. A ticket booked from Cardiff to London costs 19 but splitting the tickets on the same train costs 3 Cardiff – Bristol and 10 Bristol to London. In total 13 a saving of 6! Without even having to change train!

3.) Don’t Book For Peak Times

May sound obvious, but it’s worth remembering. If you have to catch a train during peak time, split your ticket as in tip 2.). So that you only pay peak prices when you are doing the section of your journey that is at peak time.

4.) Get a Railcard

With up to a 1/3 off on many journeys a young persons railcard (student railcard), will save you a fortune or at least the cost of it. That assumes you travel often by train or travel large distances.

5.) Travel For Only 1

You may have heard of MegaBus, well there’s MegaTrain as well who offer tickets from as little as 1. As in tip 1.) the tickets are limited, but if you book early, you could find some astonishingly cheap tickets.

As long as you plan head and are willing to put a little time into experimenting on National Rail Enquiries website. You to could be sitting on a train smugly thinking the person opposite you may have paid twice as much for the same journey!

Happy travelling,

Martyn.

Call the World for Free, Why aren’t You Using Skype?

Skype kills the phoneSkype is simple, useful and free.

Well OK not strictly free. But it proved it’s worth in the first year I was at uni. My dilemma was simple, “how could I phone home cheaply and easily without a landline”. Firstly the mobile phone was ruled out, without doubt it is useful but it won’t be cheap, even making calls to a landline. The alternative was (without trying to sound like a geek!) voice over internet protocol or VoIP, for those who haven’t heard of or understand what this is, basicly it involves routing phone calls through the internet, or for more detail see the wikipedia article.

So how is this cheaper, firstly if you are talking to other users of VoIP then your call is completely free, secondly calls to landlines are often cheaper than making normal landline calls and certainly cheaper than payphones. Another positive is calls to international numbers are likely to be cheaper.

The drawbacks, well, people cannot phone you unless you pay for a number and then you have to be online to receive calls. Although if you are using an internet connection in a halls of residence you are unlikely to be paying costs equivalent to line rental. But call quality’s is not always as good as landline services. Also you need to have a microphone and headphones, but you could also use a webcam if you want.

But overall I was really pleased with the service I used, Skype, which is probably one off the most established VoIP operators. It allowed me to phone people cheaply without having to leave my computer, allowing me to do work at the same time! All you need to do is download the free software to your computer and follow their instructions. One last point if you are using university provided internet connection, check to see if Skype will work over it, for me it did but there is no guarantee as you are going over a network connection too. But if it does you should find Skype will help you save money whilst keeping in touch with family and friend!

Martyn.

image: www.freeimages.co.uk

Enjoy More, For Less

Cheap TicketsThere’s no point going to uni, if you just go to lectures and then spend the rest of your time staying at ‘home’. Nothing wrong with spending a little time socialising with your flatmates and friends in your new home, but everyone needs to get out and about at sometime.

The problem, well going out costs money. Going out to a club, costs you entry plus drinks to get you in the right ‘state’. Going to the cinema to see the ‘must see film’, all your friends have seen. The list goes on, but how do you get a great night for less money? Well with clubbing it’s worth setting yourself a limit, e.g. only withdraw a set amount of cash before you go out. Also try drinking at home before going to a club, it’s always cheaper (pubs/bars/breweries put a large mark up on pints, remember you’re paying to use there facilities), just don’t go over the top, else you will never get to the club! If you do want to go to pub first always try your student union bar/pub, they generally give the best deals on drinks. But also listen and look out for pubs and clubs doing student deals, and remember drink responsibly!

So you want to go to the cinema? But if you are not on the Orange network or it’s not Wednesday? What’s plan B?

Well try studentbeans.com

As long as you have a student I.D. you can get great offers to print off including my favourite 2 for 1 at Cineworld from Mon – Thur. There are many other offers in a range of categories such as entertainment or eating out. Some offers are better than others. One slight drawback is studentbeans.com is mainly based in and around major university cities in the UK, therefore not everywhere is covered. Although I would say coverage is pretty good.

Plus things just feel better if you get them cheaper than usual!

Cheers,

Martyn.

image: www.freeimages.co.uk





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