Public service announcement
Posted by Martin on March 9, 2010
It’ll soon be that Salute time of year again and wargamers all over the country will be planning their travel arrangements to get to London on 24th April. So I thought this would be a good time remind people of my tip for saving money.
Generally speaking, the prospect of driving up to the other side of London and finding somewhere to park (not to mention the drive home after a long day on my feet) fills me with dread. So I always travel up to London Paddington by train. Now, buying a conventional day-return ticket on the morning of travel is a sure-fire way to burn a very big hole in your pocket. Luckily, if you plan ahead, you can significantly reduce the cost.
In the old days, British railway companies had the concept of Apex fares – significantly cheaper prices for traveller who could plan far enough in advance to book early and who were prepared to commit to travel on particular named trains. Apex fares were killed off a couple of years ago, but they were replaced with an alternative – and one that actually works well. Now, I don’t know if the tickets vary from train company to train company in different part of the country but for my local provider, First Great Western, they’re simply called Advance Tickets.
The second best bit is that they’re easy to plan and purchase online. The very best bit is that you can save a lot of cash. I purchased my single ticket to and single ticket from London Paddington for the princely total of £17 – whereas the cheapest return ticket (the “Super Off-Peak Return”) would cost £44.80. The sacrifices I had to make to get this ticket are that I had to book early enough to claim the discounted tickets (there’s only a limited supply) and I had to commit to travel up and back on specific trains.
So now I’ll be able to sit in comfort and warmth at a reasonable price rather than endure the stress, wear and tear of driving.