Ditching your car in favour of using public transport more often is great for the environment and by not having your car on the road as much, you can do your bit for the planet. As well as being more green, it can also be good for your wallet too. Here’s how to save money on getting around.
Saving on Train Tickets
Many people are reluctant to travel by train because of the high ticket prices but there are ways to cut the costs:
Time your ticket purchase right. You can make good savings by booking tickets early but there may also be savings available on last minute buys. The latter can be much cheaper than buying at the station on the day so if you were going to buy your ticket this way, it’s worth checking the evening before to see if you can save.
Travel overnight. If you’re going to need to stay overnight as part of your trip, you can save money by travelling through the night on a sleeper train. Because these journeys are during off-peak times, they can be a lot cheaper and as an added bonus, you can sleep on the train and avoid the need for accommodation expenses.
Returns aren’t always better. It’s logical to assume that buying a return ticket will always be cheaper than two singles but this isn’t always the case. Many good deals are only available on one-way trips so it can be more beneficial to opt for two single tickets to maximize the potential savings. Before you book a return, check to see whether it will actually cost less to get two singles instead.
Split up your journey. It can be a lot cheaper to buy tickets covering separate legs of your journey compared to one return or two singles. For example, if the train doesn’t go straight from A to B but instead stops at X along the way, it can be more cost effective to get tickets for A-X and X-B (rather than the most common tactic of buying a ticket for A-B) and for the return, B-X and X-A (rather than B-A). It may not be the obvious way to book tickets and it does take a bit more effort to check the prices for each of these ticket options to make sure that they are a) available and b) cheaper than buying a through ticket but it can get you a much better deal.
On longer journeys, if even part of your journey is in peak time, a return ticket will often cost peak prices. Splitting tickets means that if only one leg of your journey falls is at peak time, you won’t be charged peak prices for the trip as a whole – just for the leg(s) that is at peak time.
Buy a season ticket. If you’re travelling by train most days, you can save with a season ticket. These can be quite expensive as they usually cost the equivalent of around 40 weeks of travel (on season ticket prices) but you’re essentially getting 12 weeks worth free.
Using the Car Less
Beyond using public transport more, you can also save money and be more green by cutting down on how much you use your car:
Don’t use the car for short trips. It’s not fuel efficient to use the car for short trips and you’re be using more fuel than you need to on these kind of journeys. If you can walk, do so.
Join a carpool. By agreeing to share lifts with someone who is heading to the same place as you, you can cut your petrol costs (and parking costs if this is also a factor) for the days that you won’t be doing the driving.
Combine activities to make less trips. If you’ve got an appointment or meeting one day, decide if it’s feasible to do your shopping while you’re already out and about so that you’re making one less trip.
Walk or cycle instead. These can work out cheaper than both driving and using public transport and are much healthier options too. If you don’t live too far from your destination and you won’t be lugging heavy bags around, try getting into the habit of walking or cycling instead.