With the dropping of the majority of Covid-19 restrictions, and workers heading back into the office, many people will find themselves using trains a lot more frequently now.

Unfortunately, according to savings platform Raisin UK, the prices of train tickets rose by 3.8% this month.

Combined with the soaring cost of living in the UK, frequent train travel can very quickly become unaffordable.

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Luckily, Raisin UK have compiled a list of six tips to help train passengers save money amid rising prices.

Here is a full rundown of the company’s advice.

Bid for spare seats on your train

Seatfrog has made it super easy to bid for first-class upgrades – and it could save you money! A first-class upgrade can cost up to £45, but with Seatfrog passengers can bid from just £5 meaning there could be huge savings for first-class passengers.

The app works by allowing passengers who currently have a standard ticket to bid for unsold first-class seats, but could see passengers save money and have the first-class experience they deserve.

So sit back, relax, enjoy super-fast wifi and a range of hot and cold food all at a fraction of the usual price!

Budget rail operators

Known as the easyJet of the railways, Lumo is the newest rail operator with hopes to compete against one of the main operators in the UK. Lumo operates on the East Coast Main Line between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh, alongside LNER which is the InterCity East Coast operator.

Whilst Lumo only operates 4 services a day, they hope to increase this to 10 early this year. This still does not compete with LNER, which operates half-hourly services on the line!

In addition, Lumo does not currently stop at every station due to the current rail competition rules, which is there to protect operators who already run services to the same destinations.

According to the Lumo website, LumoFixed fares from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh start at £19.90, whereas according to the LNER website, standard class tickets from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh start from £31.80.

Unlike LNER, Lumo does not offer a first-class service but does offer a LumoEats service where passengers can order food from retailers such as M&S and have the meal delivered to their seat on board the train. Similarly, LNER offers ‘Let’s Eat At Your Seat’ where passengers can order hot and cold food by scanning the QR code on the back of the seat in front of them. An LNER host will then deliver your order to your seat.

There is hope that Lumo will inspire other operators to compete and switch to a budget business model, helping passengers save on their journey.

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Split your journey

There is no need to pay top prices when it comes to traveling. Split ticketing is an easy way to reduce the price of your train ticket, and works by comparing demand for tickets.

There are websites that you can use that tell you which tickets to purchase, or apps like Trainline will alert you if you can split your ticket and save money.

Trainline have a feature called SplitSave which finds customers clever combinations of tickets to save them money on thousands of routes across the UK, by splitting their trip into trip into multiple tickets, without the need to change trains – just make sure to display all the tickets!

You should check with these websites and apps to make sure they don’t add a booking fee onto your ticket price, if you buy tickets direct from the operator there are no hidden booking fees.

Alternatively, rail operators like LNER provide systems like Smart Save where they will automatically find you the cheapest ticket available – and the best thing, there are no booking fees! Additionally, operator LNER provides One-Click Delay Repay on all LNER journeys booked via LNER meaning once you sign up to One-Click Delay Repay, you only have to click a button instead of filling out the long Delay Repay compensation form!

A ticket from London Kings Cross to Newcastle would cost £155. But, by splitting the journey and booking London Kings Cross to Peterborough, Peterborough to Newark Northgate, Newark Northgate to York, and York to Newcastle you can easily save yourself £60 and cut your ticket price by 40%!

The earlier the book, the higher your chance of purchasing cheaper advance tickets, which will help make your journey cheaper.

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Railcards are an unsung hero when it comes to saving money on your commute. With a wide range of railcards available to suit everyone, passengers can save up to 50% on every ticket they purchase!

All the cards cost £30 for a year, but if you commute often you can easily save that much and more by being able to use the railcard discounted prices. Just make sure you have your railcard on you at all times!

Additionally, some train operators are offering student discounts to students. LNER offers a 40% student discount when passengers use a Unidays discount code, and book tickets to travel between 16 February and 20 December 2022 (excluding certain dates which can be found on their website)!

If you are a student, sign up to your free student discount sites and see where you can redeem your discounts!

Work from home and the office?

For those of us who are still working a Hybrid style, with some days working from home and some days working from the office, a Flexi Season ticket is the new ticket type that will work best for you!

The Flexi Season ticket offers 8 days of travel in 28 days – any time between two stations. It’s flexible to how you work so you can ultimately commute your way, ideal for WFH Wednesdays and face-to-face Fridays.

Do be aware though that not all railcards apply to season tickets.

Snacks for your commute?

As a nation that has been working from home for the past couple of years, going back to the office will see outgoings for commuters rise.

Not only are rail ticket prices increasing, but commuters will now also be paying for the morning coffee and the lunch meal deal.

By using coffee subscriptions (like Pret) or signing up for loyalty schemes, you can also cut down on your snack costs. Alternatively, you can make your coffee and lunch at home and reap the rewards in huge savings! What’s not to love!

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