9 tips to save money on UK Tube and Train tickets

Last Updated on 1 March 2022 by Dan

Hi everyone! We all love to travel around the UK, and often the train tends to be the best way to do it – as such I thought I’d write a guide to on my top tips on saving money on UK Tube and Train Tickets!

I’m willing to bet that either directly or via cunning student bank account tie in most of us have wistful memories of that 18-25 railcard when buying rail tickets – not least because it meant we were happily still ticking that 18-25 age box on forms…..

This post was inspired as I’m writing it heading back down to my old Uni of Exeter for an sponsored event! Happily the fact I’m attending as a guest means that someone else is paying for my ticket, which is a good thing because “shock and horror” summed up the look on my face when I saw the train ticket price!

So hence time for a train and tube tickets guide. I want to share with you some well known but also a few lesser known tips about the way that railcards and rail travel can save you money.

A picture of a train you can save money on train tickets on.

Our tips to save money on UK train and tube tickets

Save money on train tickets by being alerted to advance tickets

If you know you’re going to be going somewhere in the future and want to be sure of nabbing an advance ticket, the Trainline has a free alert service you can sign up for to let you know when tickets are going on sale, and also a predictor service of when Advance tickets may run out based on historical data. I don’t recommend booking through them though – despite their advertising campaigns they’ll charge you more than other sites!

Save money on train tickets by getting a Railcard

Unless you only travel for work in peak hours exclusively, most people will make their money back on a railcard within just a couple of journeys and can make it well worth it – especially if you’re younger and can get the really beneficial railcards.

What railcard is best for you a more complex question, and it one we’ve devoted a whole article to which you can find here!

Save money on tube tickets by linking a Railcard to your Oyster Card

A lot of people don’t know that you can link a railcard to your Oyster Card – and if you do this you’ll get 1/3 off any TfL off-peak fares which can add up fast. Getting this is trickier than it should be – you’ll need to go to a major interchange in London (like King’s Cross/Victoria) and ask at the ticket desk for them to link the two. Unfortunately, you also need to renew it each time your railcard expires – it doesn’t update automatically

Save money on train tickets Annual Gold Card with a Season Ticket

Did you know that if you buy an Annual Oyster Travelcard or Annual Season Ticket on rail in the South you’ll also receive an “Annual Gold Card” which works as the equivalent to a Network Railcard, getting you 1/3 of most fares in the south of England? Even better that Gold Card will apply the same saving to up to three other adults travelling with them.

Save money on both train and tube tickets by getting another railcard for or from a friend

If you have an Annual Gold Card you can also get another Railcard for a friend for £10 – they’ll definitely owe you a drink!

Save money on tube fairs by checking if an annual Oyster ticket is worth it for you

An annual Oyster can make sense for Londoners – a number of companies will give you an interest-free season ticket loan to cover the purchase making it quite manageable. You need to do the sums yourself to work out if you’re travelling enough to save money for you personally.

Save money on train tickets by splitting a train ticket?

Due to the slightly ridiculous way rail pricing works, when travelling long distances it can be worth using TrainSplit to see if you can save. This checks your journey and sees if you can find savings by (for example) instead of travelling from London to Exeter stopping at Reading you instead get a journey from London to Reading and Reading to Exeter. You stay on the same train, just have more tickets and more money! (Trainsplit actually take a small commission from your saving – so it’s most beneficial to use it for research but book through usual train operators.)

Save money on tube tickets by using Ree:Claim where delayed

One service we love as a regular London commuter is to use Ree:Claim, which links up to your Oyster card and automatically detects if your journey has been delayed and automatically applied for a refund for you.

I’ve used the service for some time and really had quite a bit of money back from it – funnily enough it also improves your mood because you find you know when you’re getting money back you don’t mind the delays quite as much.

We wrote a guide to using Ree:Claim here!

Save money on your day out in the UK

Finally whilst not a train saving per se, did you know if you’ve got visitors/fancy a day out you can get 2 for 1 access to attractions all over the UK any time you buy a rail ticket – you just need to print out a voucher from the Days Out Guide website in advance and hand it over with your train tickets to get the discount. It doesn’t have to be any length so it can even pay to get a cheap ticket you’re not planning to use to get the discount!

And if you’re after an alternative for getting around London, check out this guide to guided bike tours around London.

And a guide to London’s most unusual museums at the Happy Time Blog!

Got any others?

We always love hearing about tips for saving money, so if you’ve got your own tips for saving money on UK Train and Tube tickets let us know your best in the comments below!

And that’s it!

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