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Getting the Cheapest Flights and Train Fares

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 8 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Getting The Cheapest Flights And Train Fares

Travel, whether by air or train, can often be the most expensive part of any holiday. When you’re travelling for business or to visit friends, you’ll want to keep the costs down as well.

Luckily, there are a few crafty methods you can employ to make sure your travel costs stay within your budget.

Which Airline?

We all know that there are many budget airlines around these days. However, thanks to these budget airlines, traditional airlines have had to remain competitive as well and many offer excellent discounts and deals on flights if you look hard enough.

Although the budget airlines can and do offer some amazingly low-cost flights, they are limited by the places that they fly to. If you want to travel to a far-flung destination you’re more likely to get a good deal from a traditional airline. Additionally, major airlines usually offer more protection than budget airlines, should anything go wrong.

Timing

When it comes to booking flights, you will get the best low-cost deals either very early or very late. If you book early, all the cheapest seats will still be available and additionally, you’ll have more choice about where to sit. Some airline companies – the traditional ones more than the budget ones – will also have dirt cheap airline seats at the last minute too. If a cheap flight is your only option it’s best to book early to avoid disappointment, rather than hedging your bets.

When it comes to train tickets, the golden rule is to book early. The later you leave it the higher the cost will be. Tickets are released about twelve weeks in advance and it’s best to jump on them as quick as they’re released as they get snapped up quickly.

Flexibility

Be flexible about when you travel and you’ll get the best low-cost deals. During peak times you’ll pay peak prices.

If you catch a flight which lands at an unsociable hour or flies overnight, the cost is likely to be lower than if you want to fly on a popular business or holiday flight.

Similarly if you want to travel on weekends by train, or in commuter rush hour, your travel costs will be a lot higher than if you’re able to travel at off-peak hours, for example mid-afternoon on a Tuesday.

Promotions

Look out for special offers and promotions on train fares. Sign up for alerts from train companies as they often run cheap low-cost train ticket offers, but they go fast so you need to be ready!

Also, newspapers sometimes offer tokens to collect, which can be exchanged or part exchanged for a low-cost train ticket.

Rail Cards

If you travel regularly by train it is well worth getting yourself a rail card, if you’re eligible for one. Railcards are available for young people under 26, elderly people, disabled people, and families. Some rail cards have an initial outlay but this is easily recouped through the travel savings you’ll make.

Air Miles

If you regularly fly it could be worth getting yourself a credit card which offers air miles. If you use the credit card for all your spends you could build up enough air miles to pay for a flight or a substantial contribution towards it.

If you do use a credit card to collect air miles make sure you are still only spending within your budget and that you are able to repay the balance every month in full.

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