Five tips to cut the cost of your Christmas travel
Paying in advance and splitting tickets can save significant sums from rail fares
The vast majority of us will be making journeys of one form or another over the Christmas period. Whether it's driving to visit family, taking the train to work or for a night out, or flying abroad for a festive break there are a number of ways you can keep your costs down.
1. Plan ahead
No matter your method of transport, it pays to plan ahead. If you are travelling by car that means checking Petrolprices.com to find out where to buy the cheapest fuel, both before you set off - and also check for petrol stations near where you are staying so you can refuel at the best possible price for the return journey.
If you are travelling by train then buy your tickets in advance. Even if you are travelling tomorrow, or in a few hours, it pays to book your tickets online before you get to the station. Booking in advance saves an average of 43 per cent compared to the price of a walk-up fare, according to Trainline.com.
2. Split your journey
Shocked at the price of train tickets? Don’t worry there is one trick that can drastically cut the cost with very little effort: you just need to split your journey.
This is a quirk in the ticket system that means a single ticket from, say, York to London, can cost far more than several tickets from York to Doncaster, Doncaster to Peterborough and Peterborough to London, which make up the same journey. You don’t have to change trains, just split your tickets using stations on your route.
Tap your journey details into Trainsplit.com and it will work out if you can save money with a split ticket. I found savings of around 10 per cent on numerous different trips, but some people save far more.
3. Use discount cards
If you are travelling by train check to see if you can use a railcard to shave a third off the price of your tickets. There are a variety of different railcards available covering young people, old people, serving members of the armed forces, families and couples. You can check if you are eligible for one at Railcard.co.uk.
Another way to claw money back is to pay with a cashback credit card. American Express's Platinum Cashback Credit Card pays five per cent cashback for the first three months.
Alternatively, if you drive a lot then the AA FuelSave card pays four per cent cashback on fuel purchases provided you spend at least £500 a month on the card.
4. Insure Yourself
Travel insurance isn't just for beach holidays or ski trips, it can also protect you if a stray leaf falls on the railway line or a single snowflake brings the M1 to a grinding halt. If you have an annual travel insurance policy then you should be covered if you have to cancel or delay a trip in the UK due to unforeseen circumstances. Check your policy to see what is covered.
5. Claim Compensation
If your flight or train journey is delayed make sure you know your rights when it comes to claiming compensation.
Delay Repay means you can claim part or all of the price of your train ticket back if your journey is delayed for more than 30 minutes. If you have a season ticket you can also claim compensation, but the process and amount differs depending on the rail company so you will need to check with the firm that issued your season ticket.
For flights you can claim compensation if it is an EU-regulated flight and it was over three hours late or cancelled.