The cheapest time to book train tickets for travel during Christmas and New Year 2019 – Manchester Evening News

Christmas is now eleven weeks away, so if you haven't started thinking about your travel plans yet, you better start now.

While it might seem like there's still ages to go until Santa shimmies down the chimney, we all know how quickly time flies in the build-up, and what's more, now is the best and cheapest time to book trains for the festive period.

Speaking to Cosmopolitan UK , a spokesperson for National Rail explained the importance of booking in advance.

They said: "Advance tickets are usually the cheapest way to travel by train. They go on sale from up to 12 weeks before the date of travel but you have to travel on the date and train shown on the ticket."

Virgin Trains then went on to reveal that it is the 'golden rule' to book in advance for the busy Christmas and New Year period if you want a seat, with a reduced amount of trains available and more people travelling.

 

"It will guarantee you the best fares and a seat reservation. We have a section on our website called ' Best Fare Finder ' which is always a good starting point for those looking to travel on our network," said the spokesperson.

MoneySavingExpert has also had a say on when the cheapest and best time to book train tickets for Christmas 2019 is.

In the weekly MoneySavingExpert email , the consumer website advised that train companies usually put their cheapest advance tickets 10-12 weeks in advance. The newsletter then revealed how 17 of the 30 firms have already released their best fares ahead of the Christmas period. Some have even released their best prices for up until the end of December, so if you're planning to travel and haven't started looking yet, there's no time like the present.

Trainline has revealed that Brits saved an incredible £19m by booking Christmas travel advance last year, with the average saving coming in at £58.71 per person.

People in Manchester saved the second most amount of money after Londoners, by totalling a whopping saving of £988k.

But the savings don't stop at booking in advance, as there are several other methods you can use to ensure you get the cheapest possible tickets to travel home for Christmas and New Year.

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How are you travelling home for Christmas this year?

1. Railcards

There are now plenty of railcards available for people of all ages, so if you haven't got one, it's worth shopping around. 

The railcards available in the UK are:

  • 16-25 Railcard - for those aged 16-25, or those aged 26 or over and in full-time education
  • Senior Railcard - for those aged 60 and over
  • 26-30 Railcard - for millennials aged 26-30
  • 16-17 Saver - everyone aged 16 and 17 gets 50 per cent off most rail fares
  • Family and Friends Railcard  - for families of up to four people. Children aged 5-15 get 60pc discount on kids' fares
  • Network Railcard - for those aged 16 or over travelling in the South East
  • Disabled Persons Railcard - those with disabilities that make travel difficult get 1/3 off rail fares across Britain for themselves and a friend
  • Two Together Railcard - for two named people travelling together aged 16 or over

For full details of cost, benefits and more information head to the railcard website.

2. Split Ticket Tools

Split ticket tools are a great money-saving option for those with and without railcards. In a nutshell, you put all the usual details into them (i.e. where you're travelling from, to, your date of travel), and they'll work out the cheapest route you can take, and whether or not it's cheaper to buy one flat ticket or multiple tickets from different stations.

We suggest using the following split ticket websites: