Travelling by train is really expensive. But once toddlers become little wrigglers, a three hour journey by coach must be trumped by reaching the same destination in one hour forty five minutes by train.
Children do travel for free before their fifth birthday. And once they hit this milestone, there are other ways to save money and gain free entry to tourist attractions around the UK.
National Rail has the following money saving advice for parents.
Book in advance: Advance tickets are available to buy up to 12 weeks before the date of travel, with the very cheapest fares often only available on train companies’ websites, so be sure to check them out by visiting www.nationalrail.co.uk.
Use money-saving websites: there are lots of websites aimed at helping passengers find the best fares around, as well as other money-saving offers. For example, National Rail (www.nationarail.co.uk/cheapestfare) offers a Cheapest Fare Finder tool, Best Value Fares (www.bestvaluefares.co.uk) lists train companies’ latest offers and promotions and Days Out Guide (www.daysoutguide.co.uk) offers 2FOR1 entry when you travel by train to hundreds of attractions across Britain.
Use a Railcard: every year, one in 14 journeys around Great Britain are made using a Railcard. Costing just £28 for one year, a Railcard can save you 1/3 off most rail fares. Railcards available include; 16-25 Railcard (young people and full-time students), Family & Friends Railcard (travelling with kids aged 5-15), Senior Railcard (60 or over), Disabled Persons Railcard and Network Railcard (London and the South East). For more information on Railcard visit www.railcard.co.uk
Use GroupSave: Three or four adults can travel together off-peak for the price of two using GroupSave, which covers hundreds of destinations across London and the South East. Travelling with the kids? Up to four children (aged 5-15 years) can also travel for £1 each, single and return. For further details visit www.daysoutguide.co.uk/groupsave.
Mix and match: when travelling long distance, if you travel in a peak period one way but return when it is less busy, look at a combination of Advance, Off-Peak and Anytime fares to get the best deal. Visit www.nationalrail.co.uk to check out all of your options.