Your Students' Union

Saving money on rail travel as a student

Update from your Welfare Officer: Akhil Sha

CoventrycovUniLondoncucoventrydagenhamftofficerupdategreenwichLondonScarborough
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Welfare officer Akhil

Taking the train is often the easiest way for students to travel across the UK, whether heading home on breaks or visiting friends. But those train tickets can really add up, putting a dent in even the most modest student budget.

Luckily there are a few rail card options that can help cut costs for students. When booked strategically and paired with other discounts, these rail cards may just enable you to network over the country by train without going broke.

The 16-25 Railcard

Possibly the best option for eligible university students is the 16-25 Railcard. As the name suggests, anyone aged 16-25 can purchase one of these railcards. With a 16-25 Railcard, students enjoy benefits of 1/3 off most rail fares in the UK. That means cheaper trips home, big city adventures, or tours to the countryside.

The annual cost for a 16-25 Railcard is just £30. Since it offers 1/3 off journeys, it easily pays for itself within a short time, especially if you travel frequently. Discounted fares apply to both peak and off-peak train times as well. Just flash your railcard when purchasing tickets or booking online. Click here to apply for a rail card.

You can even get a 3-year 16-25 Railcard on the day before your 24th birthday, and it will still be valid just before you turn 27!

Uni Discount from the Trainline

In addition to railcards, students should check out discounts offered through ticketing sites like the Trainline. All university students can sign up for their Uni Discount program online. After registering with a valid university email address, students get 10% off UK rail bookings. 20% off your digital Railcard purchase at Trainline with Student Beans. For instant access to this discount simply register and verify your student status. Continue to enjoy great savings with Grad Beans after you graduate for up to 5 years.

This can be stacked with other discounts like railcards. So, a 16-25 Railcard offering 1/3 off plus an additional 10% Uni Discount makes for some very cheap train travel!

Advance Fares

Booking Advance Fares is one of the best ways students can save money on bigger journeys between cities. These are the cheapest tickets offered by UK rail providers, but they must be booked well in advance (usually days or weeks), come with seat reservations, and are for specific trains only.

Sites like Trainline or National Rail make it easy to find and book Advance Fares. Just remember these can’t be combined with railcards. But they still represent huge savings over regular walk-up fares.

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