If you're looking travel over the Christmas period, it's important to book as early as possible to get a good price.
Read more for our tips on how to save even more money on your travel...
Before booking a train ticket, check to see if you’re eligible for a railcard which will give you a discount on all rail fares across the UK.
There are three main types of concession: 16-25 Railcard, Senior Railcard and the Family and Friends Railcard. Each costs £30 per year, or £70 for three years, and can sometimes save you money - even if you're only making one journey, as it will give you a third off ticket prices. Even if you don't recoup the £30 railcard charge on your first ticket purchase, 33% off is obviously a large amount and if you're likely to make other rail journeys over the next 12 months, then your savings will soon stack up.
If you're registered as disabled, the Disabled Persons Railcard will offer you the same benefits, but for the slightly lower price of £20 per year, or £54 for three.
Further to the discounted fares, 16-25 year olds can get a further 10% off the cost of the actual railcard up until the 15th May 2016. The age limit is 16-25 inclusive, meaning even if you turn 26 tomorrow, you can still technically get a railcard today which will be valid for the next 12 months.
If you live within commuting distance of London, you might also want to look into the Network Railcard which will save you a third on off-peak travel within that region.
Looking For Bargains
The earlier you book the cheaper your fare is likely to be. For example a train ticket from London – Edinburgh on the day will cost you at least £125. If you book the same ticket in advance, e.g. 21st December, then the cheapest daytime fare is less than a third of the cost, coming in at £40.
If you can afford flexibility as to what time you travel you can save even money. For example the same journey on 21st December has a fare that's just £30, if you don't mind travelling at 6:43am. The time of day that you travel can make a big difference to your ticket cost, so be sure scroll through the appropriate travel times for you to find the cheapest fare.
To save a bit more cash you can avoid aggregate sites such as the Trainline who often charge a booking fee for sales over a certain amount. All rail companies have their own online portal that you can book through, or if you prefer you can visit a station ticket office and get the same price as online. If you're travelling via Virgin, be sure to use their Best Fare Finder Tool which will give you an easy overview of the cheapest fares available.
If you're making regular trips, it's not a bad idea to keep an eye on the train company’s websites, as they often advertise special time-limited deals where you can pick up a bargain.
The Megatrain website has some fares listed for £1, which may be of interest for future use, but you're perhaps unlikely to be able to travel for such an amount over Christmas.