The majority of UK flights are grounded. Conversely, our travel plans are up in the air. We’re quarantined, hesitant and in desperate need of a holiday fix, fixed in the calendar, all at once. A UK staycation, then, is the answer, providing the certainty and security you need from your trip, providing you manage to understand the latest guidelines, that is.
Don’t let the current lockdown limbo put you off having a Government sanctioned adventure. Though you may have heard horror stories about a train journey to Newcastle costing more than a flight to Tokyo (we’re only slightly exaggerating with that one) with a little nous and some seriously savvy planning, a trip to appreciate all that the UK has to offer is within both reach and budget. With that in mind, here are some UK staycation tips; our 5 ways to save money on UK travel.
There’s something rather liberating about leaving the car at home and taking the train. But trains are notoriously expensive in the UK, and the cost is rising, so you’d be wise to look at ways to bring the cost of tickets down if this is your chosen method of transport.
Fortunately, some train services provide the option of family tickets or discounts for children. And if your children are under the age of five, don’t forget that they can travel for free on the trains, while children between the age of 5 and 15 will save up to 50% on ticket prices.
There are also railcards available if you’re going to make a habit of train travel in the future, which significantly reduce ticket costs. If you’re a couple heading for a holiday, a two together railcard can save you a third off your train tickets. Over 60s can also save a third with a Seniors Railcard. And on top of the reduction on kid’s fares we already mentioned, a Family & Friends Railcard will grant a further 60% off, with a maximum of 4 adults and 4 children able to travel on one card. Do remember that, for now, the group travelling shouldn’t exceed six.
BOOK IN ADVANCE, GO OFF PEAK
The difference between peak and off peak travel pricing is out of control. What’s even more surprising is that so many aren’t aware of the savings to be made simply by travelling at certain times. Indeed, according to Trainline, by booking in advance you’ll save an average of 61% on your tickets.
In general, train travel from city to city is considered ‘off peak’ between 9:30am and 4:30pm, and after 7pm, Monday to Friday. You can make further savings by travelling in the ‘super off peak’ time slot of between 10am and 3pm, and after 7:15pm, Monday to Friday. Both these discounts apply for weekends, too. Right now, this is the most COVID-safe way to travel, too, as these are the least busy times. If you’re flexible with your schedule, this is the perfect way to save money on travel, and the good news; in the UK’s major cities, travelcards bought with off peak discounts also apply to buses, trams and other forms of public transport.
COUPONS & CASHBACK SITES
There are also various reputable cashback coupon sites out there which can significantly help reduce your travel costs, if only you take the time to fill in a few numbers online. With a valid Expedia discount code on website Widilo, for instance, you can gain access to a huge variety of offers, including 50% off London apartments, 20% off stays in York when you book in advance, 40% off places in Eastbourne and many more.
Alternatively, you can pay with points accrued on various loyalty cards. Schemes run by certain supermarkets or big brands enable you to gain points every time you make a purchase, and these points can be saved up over a period of time and put them towards your travel fees, such as a train or plane journey.
ON YOUR BIKE
Hey, a ‘trip’ or ‘travel’ doesn’t necessarily need to mean the accumulation of serious hours and miles on the road, and footprints of the carbon variety. Instead, why not consider travel on two wheels for your next staycation, cycling to your destination and using biking expeditions as the framework for your trip. Doing so will save money, reduce your impact on the environment, and provide you with a great opportunity to appreciate the Great British countryside. We couldn’t imagine anything better, just remember to travel light!
While taking the train, coach or bus is far more sustainable for long distance travel in the UK, if your heart really is set on car travel – for convenience or health reasons – then why not consider sharing the journey?
A more affordable (not to mention sustainable) way to travel on four wheels could see you sharing the journey with a likeminded person or couple also keen on a holiday, preferably from your support bubble to mitigate risk. Blabla Car, Uber, Faxi and Lift Share are just some of the apps out there right now facilitating car pooling and money saving, too.