This list of super-cheap train and coach deals will help you cut travel costs to the bone – sometimes to just £1 each way.
We check with companies' press offices that deals are open to all, but policies can change, so check before booking. These are just one-off promos - for top techniques to cut any journey’s cost, see Cheap Trains.
Whether it's a retailer or restaurateur, airline or air-conditioner seller, computer shop or car rental company, there are always two main risks. Either it's a dodgy company, or it's a legit company that has financial problems and goes bust.
The aim of these tips is to help you minimise the risks.
Quite simply, its customers are immediately transformed into creditors. This hits hardest if you've ordered goods or tickets from them, and not had delivery, as then you become one of a line of people trying to get your money back out of the company's assets, and you usually get back much less than you paid in.
Even if you've had delivery, if the company you bought from goes under and there's a problem with the goods, it can mean you've no comeback.
While MoneySavingExpert.com endeavours to check deals are valid, we don't check companies ' finances. Even huge names like MFI and Woolies have folded, so it's very important you use the right strategies to stay protected where possible.
Pay by credit card for something over £100, and Section 75 laws supercharge your consumer rights.
Unlike debit cards, cheques or cash, pay in full or part (even just £1) on a credit card and by law the lender's jointly liable with the retailer.
This means you have exactly the same rights with the card company as you do with the retailer. So if it goes bust, you can simply take your complaints there instead and get money back if there's no delivery.
Yet it's important you ALWAYS REPAY IN FULL each month, so there's no interest cost. See the full Section 75 guide.
Section 75 doesn't apply to purchases under £100, but there's still an option which can help. It isn't a legal protection, just Visa, Mastercard and Amex's rules, but it's a good back-up.
Spend on a Visa, Mastercard or Amex credit card or any debit or charge card. If the goods don't appear, you can try to ask your bank/card provider to reclaim the cash from the seller's bank, so long as you complain within 120 days of realising there’s a problem. See the Chargeback guide for full details.
Bogus websites are often set up to cash in on popular products like Ugg boots and Tiffany necklaces, so be wary if it's an unfamiliar site. And don't think that because it appears on a reputable search engine, that makes it a reputable site - always check.
Most folk know to look for a security padlock on the bottom right of a website, but that doesn't mean the site's legit, just that payment's secure.
To find out who registered the site and when, search the Whois database. Reputable firms should also appear on the Companies House site, the UK Government's official companies register. Be very wary of businesses with just a PO Box or email address.
Study the site's worldwide web ranking on Alexa. Anything in the top 100,000 means it's reasonably big and a good, though not foolproof indication of legitimacy. Do a quick Google search for other shoppers' experiences.
Crucially, ensure your security's up-to-date - free software can be downloaded to your computer in about five minutes. Full details in the Free Antivirus Software guide.
Many people are surprised to learn you've MORE rights buying online (or by telephone/catalogue) due to the Distance Selling Regulations.
These give you a legal right to send most goods back within seven days for a full refund (including outward delivery costs), even if there's no fault. You'll usually need to pay for the return delivery. Read Consumer Rights for a full guide.
However, of course, this is balanced by the fact ordering online automatically means there's a time gap between ordering and delivering - when the company has your money. So if it goes bust during that time, the distance selling rights don't help.
Ultimately, there is always a risk that a company can go bust. If the above routes don't apply, then you have to make a decision about whether you're willing to take the risk of parting with your cash.
Don't be scared of this. Every day we all make transactions based on trust, and this is part of that, but do balance up the amount you're spending against the risk. Don't give large amounts of money to a company you're not sure about.
If you buy almost any train ticket online from First Group rail companies (First Great Western, First Capital Connect, ScotRail, First Transpennine Express or Hull Trains), you'll earn two Nectar points per £1.
For season tickets, it's a tad different. You'll get 50 points for a weekly, 200 points for a monthly and 2,500 points for an annual pass, no matter the cost or distance. One point = 0.5p, so 2,500 points is worth £12.50.
But, wait till Mon 14 Apr and you'll get double the points on most tickets booked online until Sun 27 Apr, including season tickets, first class travel and journeys booked using a railcard (total cost after discount). You can't get Nectar points on gift vouchers, London Travelcards or Plusbus tickets.
You should never choose where to shop due to loyalty schemes such as this one, but if you've already got a Nectar card and you're planning to travel by rail, here's how to make the most of the points:
1) Compare prices
If you know exactly where and when you want to travel, compare prices via these booking sites and at the First Group rail company which covers your route: First Great Western, First Capital Connect, ScotRail, Transpennine Express or Hull Trains. If it's cheaper via the other booking sites, consider whether it's worth getting the points.
2) Link your Nectar card to your First Group account
Log into your train company account and add your Nectar card number. Then book your journey.
3) When to spend points
Points will be added to your Nectar account within 28 days and you can spend them straight away (though Nectar sometimes runs double exchange events where your points may be worth double so you may want to wait till then). Usually, you need a minimum of 500 points to get a £2.50 voucher to spend at Nectar outlets.
If you've not got a Nectar card, register online at Nectar.com or pick up a registration pack in Sainsbury's or Homebase.
We're big fans of railcards, and the Two Together Railcard is a great way for two adults (16+) to save while travelling, as it knocks a third off rail fares.
The card normally costs £30, but enter the code TOGETHER10 online by Wed 30 Apr and you'll get 10% off, making it £27 for the year. You can also buy the railcard at staffed National Rail stations, though you'll pay £30 there. Just a couple of decent-length trips easily covers the cost of the card.
You must be travelling together for the entire journey. The only time you can't use it is between 4.30am and 9.30am on weekday mornings.
You can have as many of these railcards with different people as you want, so you can couple up with your mum on one and buddy up with your best mate on another.
Boost savings even further by splitting tickets
This is a big trick. Instead of buying a return tickets for the whole journey, bizarrely, buying single/return tickets for its constituent parts separately can slash the price – even though you're travelling on exactly the same train.
Use this in conjunction with your railcard for serious savings. Try it yourself with our new split ticket iPhone app or the split ticket mobile site.
Got kids, are you over 60 or under 25?
If you've kids, the Family and Friends Railcard may be better for you. Under 25? Try the 16-25 Railcard. Or if you're 60+, you'll be eligible for the Senior Railcard.
You may be able to save even more if you've a stash of Tesco points. You can boost their value by swapping points for a railcard. See our Boost Tesco Points guide and for more tricks on train fares, see our Cheap Train Tickets guide.
First class delivery is free. If you're ordering online, an extra week’s validity will be added from the date you order to allow for any delay in postage.
Only one railcard can be used per journey. The two adults must be travelling together for the entire journey.
There's no limit on the number of codes which can be used, so everyone entering the code by Wed 30 Apr will pay £27 for a one year card.
Get 25% off advance and off-peak tickets on London Midland trains when you book by Fri 25 Apr. It's for standard and first class travel before Fri 30 May, though if you're booking a return ticket, the inbound journey can be made up to a month after your outbound journey.
What's more, Family & Friends, Two Together, 16-25, Senior, Network and Disabled Railcard holders can get an extra discount - that's an extra third off your travel.
There are thousands of tickets available every day, though it is subject to availability eg the total amount could dip due to engineering works. But, if there are tickets available, you'll see a red asterisk beside the ticket price.
How much will I pay after the discount?
Savings include: an advance one way ticket from Birmingham New Street to London Euston for £4.50 (usually £6), an off-peak return from Liverpool Lime Street to Birmingham New Street for £27 (usually £36.60) and an off-peak return from London Euston to Northampton for £19.70 (usually £26.30).
It's valid on off-peak journeys: trains arriving into London after 9.59am, for trains departing after 9.30am in the West Midlands and trains leaving after 9am elsewhere and anytime at weekends.
Also excludes the following: off-peak tickets to/from London leaving Euston between 4.45pm and 7pm for journeys to Watford Junction and any station as far as (and including) Long Buckby. Off-peak tickets are not valid on trains leaving central Birmingham (New Street, Snow Hill, Moor Street, Jewellery Quarter and Five Ways) between 4.35 - 6pm, unless you are travellling beyond Hereford, Shrewsbury, Stafford or Northampton.
You can collect tickets from stations from two hours after buying or get them delivered for free.
Valid on London Midland services only.
Get 25% off single and return off-peak tickets online at Southeastern until Mon 21 Apr (you must book and travel by this date). It's valid on the mainline and high speed services, but not for travel wholly within London zones 1-6. Though you can travel via these zones and go to other destinations.
What's more, Family & Friends, 16-25, Senior, Two Together, Network and Disabled Railcard holders can get an extra discount and it can also be combined with Southeastern's Kids for a Quid promotion (max four kids) when you buy a 25% off adult off-peak day return only. Tickets can be booked on the day of travel, but must be booked at least two hours in advance.
You'll see a red asterisk for valid journeys. Savings include: a standard off peak day return from Ashford Int to London St Pancras for £20.35 (usually £27.10) or Folkestone to London Victoria for £24 (usually £32).
Collect tickets from stations from two hours after buying or get them delivered for free. Not valid on journeys entirely within the London fare zones, first class or when buying a Travelcard. There's no limit to the total number of discounted off-peak tickets available (all valid journeys will get the discount).
Valid on these tickets and from these times only:
You can get 25% off single or return off-peak tickets for train trips made on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays when you book online at C2C at least two hours in advance.
It's valid on journeys starting within London's Travelcard zones (Fenchurch St, Limehouse, West Ham, Barking, Upminster, Dagenham Dock and Rainham) to Southend Central station. You can't use it for journeys starting from Southend.
What will I pay?
An off-peak Fenchurch Street to Southend Central single ticket usually costs £16.40, but you'll pay £12.30 with this deal. West Ham to Southend Central is normally £14.90 but you'll pay £11.20. For Barking to Southend Central, you'll pay £10.05 instead of £13.40.
C2C says this is a trial offer so there's no official end date. The discount will automatically come off your total and it's only valid on travel after 9.30am.
You can pay £8 for a single ticket from one of two London stations to Stansted Airport when you book online at Stansted Express at least 30 days in advance. It's valid on standard class tickets only and you can travel in either direction. Here's the deal:
As long as you book a valid ticket at least 30 days in advance, you'll pay the prices above (there's no limit to the number of tickets available at this price).
Book over seven days in advance and you’ll pay £12 single, £24 return. Book less than seven days in advance and it’ll cost you a whopping £23.40 for a single, £33.20 return.
You must book by Mon 19 May but you can travel up to six months in advance.
Once you've booked, you can print your ticket or have it sent to your mobile. You can't get it delivered to your home address. It excludes first class travel and railcards. Kids under five travel for free. Stansted Express says there are no booking or credit card fees.
Up to four adults can travel on a Groupsave ticket via Chiltern Railways but only two adults need to pay. It's only valid on off-peak returns (after 9.30am Mon-Fri) and off-peak day Travelcards. What's more, in addition to the four adults, up to four children aged 15 and under can travel for £1 each and under 5s go free.
This is an ongoing offer which can be booked online (you'll see the letter 'G' for the group booking), at your nearest station's ticket office or by calling 08456 005 165.
There's no need to book in advance but you all do need to be travelling at the same time.
Both these are absolutely cracking deals so if you’re over 60 and living in London, it's a no-brainer to apply. Even if you only use it for a year before reaching Freedom Pass age, you could save hundreds of pounds if you travel daily.
Other deals can be better value than the railcards but if you're buying them anyway, and don't need any other deals, it's a good conversion. Read more in the Loyalty Points Boosting guide. Also, check the railcard site for restrictions and to ensure you're eligible before exchanging your vouchers.
What discounts do the railcards get you?
16-25: A third off fares if you're over 16 and under 26.
Family & Friends: A third off adult and 60% off child fares, a minimum of one adult and one child, up to four adults and four children (age 5-15) can travel using one card.
Senior: Those 60 and over get a third off rail fares.
Print at home tickets are currently stating the return date as being the same as the outward journey. Gatwick Express has said this is an error and you have up to 30 days to make the return journey.
Found a cheaper deal?
Let us know in the Cheap UK Travel Discussion
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