Thrifty Christmas Travel with A Thrifty Mrs

Thrifty Tips

Award winning blogger A Thrifty Mrs shares her top tips and tricks to make your Christmas travel plans thrifty!

Christmas is a time in which many of us hop on to the roads, or use public transport to travel to see friends and family and those prices get bumped up to eye watering levels.

1.    Book in advance

It sounds a little obvious but it is amazing the amount of people who buy their tickets on the day. -

- Book flights immediately because prices will continue to take a vast hike between now and the last Friday before Christmas. If you can be flexible with your days then all the better when it comes to flying.

- When it comes to booking train tickets you will save money booking a minimum of one week in advance but booking even earlier will save you a far bigger chunk of cash. Make sure to book directly through your specific train company rather than a generic ‘whole network’ website as these are where you’re more likely to find bigger discounts and booking fees are less likely to apply.

- My favourite little tip when it comes to booking your train fare in advance, is to make sure you check First Class ticket prices too. On many an occasion I have found First Class tickets to actually be £1-2 cheaper and you get free wi-fi and often refreshments to make the journey much more pleasant.

There's also a nifty 2.62% cashback on The Trainline at the moment!

2. Share a lift

Did you know there are numerous sites out there dedicated to helping you find a lift? Essentially someone will be planning on driving to a location, they will list their journey on a website and you can hop in the car with them for a small free paid to the driver. There are a number of different websites out there to choose from such as blablacar.com, carpooling.co.uk and my personal favourite liftshare.co.uk

Another great way to organise a lift share is to check your work or university internal intranet system or even post yourself asking if anyone is going in your direction and fancies some company

3. Bus It

I’ve sworn off travelling huge distances by bus after an 8 hour journey from London to Liverpool one new year when I threw up for 4 hours of the journey, however many of my friends use coaches without any issue whatsoever. National Express have some fantastic discounts if booked well in advance and MegaBus have fares from as low at £1!

Plus there's up to 7.875 cashback on National Express.

4. Discount Cards

There are many and varied discount cards you can buy which will apply hefty discounts to the price of travel.

-    If you’re aged between 16-26 (or a full time student) you can buy a National Express Young Persons Coachcard for £10 here which will save you 1/3 on standard fares for a year. A normal fare from Newcastle to London comes in at £36.90 but with a Coachcard you would pay £24.50 meaning you saving £12.40 in total, meaning your Coachcard has paid for itself in one journey.

-    If you’re travelling by train there are whole host of discount cards available to reduce the cost of travel. The following railcards are all just £30 for one year and give 1/3 off rail fares.

-    a.) The 16-25 Railcard (for those aged 16-25 or in full time education)

-    b.) Senior Railcard (for those over 60)

-    c.) Friends and Family Railcard (for those travelling with children aged 5-15 - up to 4 adults and 4 children on one card)

-    d.) Two Together Railcard (for two named people travelling together)

The Disabled Persons Railcard offers 1/3 off rail fares for you and a friend for £20 a year.

You can find details of all these railcards here or at your local train station.

5. Hire a car

Hiring a car is not necessarily the best option for the environment but it does work out great for your pocket. Last year a family member found it significantly cheaper (by around £300) to hire a car for him and his girlfriend to return home for Christmas than to get the train.

There are lots of options when it comes to hiring a car, you can opt for a traditional car hire firm - TopCashback offer some really good cash back deals with these companies, so it is worth checking those out here. You can also look into the likes of car clubs like citycarclub.co.uk and zipcar.co.uk who offer car hire from less than £10 an hour once you’ve joined their scheme.

Something slightly newer is the idea of hiring a car from a regular owner. You can do this through peer-to-peer car marketplace, easyCar Club who charge no annual subscription. Essentially you’re hiring a car from a ‘regular person’ including insurance, unlimited mileage and RAC roadside assistance. It’s a bit like airBnB for cars and means you could make some great savings. You can find out more about this website here.

6. Split your ticket

Rather than buying a train ticket for your entire journey, break down your journey into smaller parts. Fear ye not, you don’t have to get off the train.

For example if you wanted to get a train from London to Liverpool, check to see if you can get a ticket first for London to Rugby, Rugby to Crewe and Crewe to London. More often than not I’ll find I save more than £25 on my ticket.

You don’t have to dedicate your life finding the best ways to split your journey because some clever whizz invented splityourticket.co.uk which figures out all of those cheeky little splitty-tricks for you.

7. Spend your loyalty card vouchers

Did you know you can spend your Tesco Clubcard vouchers on train bookings website Red Spotted Hanky? For each £5 of Clubcard vouchers you can get £10 of Red Spotted Hanky vouchers meaning your grocery shopping could pay for you to travel to Great Aunt Maud’s this Christmas. Find more information on the ins and outs of this deal here.

You may not be aware that you're able to withdraw your cashback as Tesco Clubcard points too? Each year you can withdraw £50 of your cashback as Clubcard points which you're then able to convert into vouchers!

How ever you choose to travel this Christmas I hope my tips save you some money and you get there without delay.

You can find lots more money saving tips and tricks on my website athriftymrs.com daily.

Posted on 25 Nov 2014  |  Posted in  Tips & Updates, Christmas Ideas
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