With four weeks to go until Christmas, now is a great time to reserve your seat if you’re taking the train home for the holidays. If you leave it late you’ll pay too much for your ticket and on busy trains, you could be left without a reserved seat.
There’s still time to get a good deal for your Christmas trip home – many great value advance fares are still available, even if you’re travelling on Christmas Eve.
Find our which train companies are best for passengers in our best and worst train companies survey.
Cheap train tickets
If you buy your ticket before the day you travel, for longer routes you’ll be able to buy cheap advance tickets. Advance tickets are for a specific train, so you’re limited in when you can travel. But in general, the earlier you book an advance ticket the better. Advance fares are available 12 weeks before travel, but you can buy them right up to the day before.
As well as booking early, look for money-saving alternative routes for your journey home. If you booked on November 27, a London Marylebone to Birmingham advance ticket was £10.50 for Christmas Eve. Wait until the night before Christmas and this rises to £51 and you won’t be guaranteed a seat. An alternative route to Birmingham is from Euston where advance tickets were available for just £7.50. But if you leave it until Christmas Eve to buy, the fare leaps to £48. You may able to save more money by seeing if you can split your ticket mid-way and buying two tickets rather than one for your journey.
Save on Christmas tickets
Check out our table of savings to find out how much you could save by booking train tickets early for Christmas.
|Christmas ticket savings|
|Journey||Advance ticket||Christmas Eve ticket||Saving|
|Aberdeen to Edinburgh||£13.20||£43.00||£29.80|
|Birmingham to Newcastle||£46.50||£101.30||£54.80|
|Cardiff to Liverpool||£23.00||£65.90||£42.90|
|London to Edinburgh||£50.00||£125.70||£75.70|
|London to Glasgow||£54.00||£125.70||£71.70|
|London to Norwich||£8.00||£47.00||£39.00|
|Manchester to Bristol||£24.00||£77.10||£53.10|
|Manchester to London||£12.50||£76.30||£63.80|
|Swansea to London||£18.90||£43.50||£24.60|
|York to Birmingham||£16.50||£57.60||£41.10|
Tickets shown are the cheapest advance off-peak single fares for Christmas Eve available to buy on 27th Nov 2013. For the Cardiff route, an anytime ticket is shown, which is cheaper than the off-peak ticket.
Train baggage allowance
Did you know there’s a baggage allowance on trains? If you’re taking your Christmas presents home with you make sure they fit into the three bags your allowed to take into the carriage. And one of these bags must be kept on your lap. If you have more bags to take home with you, check in advance with your train company.
- Find out more about cheap train tickets with our top five train ticket tips
- Claim money back when your train is cancelled or delayed with our train delays tool
- Learn about what’s wrong with ticket machines with our ticket machine nightmares video