They say the United Kingdom is a fairly small country, and traveling around is equally easy. But for some, it’s not always the case, especially during their first time visiting the place. Additionally, it can be pretty complicated to navigate your way around if you plan on taking the train most of the time.
The country’s roads are notorious for being tricky and challenging to drive around, so you might want to think twice before renting a car to use while exploring different spots and attractions. A rail journey is something most travelers would love to experience in London, given the romantic setting the scenery often offers. But then, it doesn’t come without struggles.
Train Tips When Traveling To London For The First Time
Perhaps one key thing to remember when traveling by trains to London is that there are multiple companies that operate and run trains in each destination. You have to make sure you buy the right ticket from the right company so you’ll end up riding the right train. Or else, you could be required to pay the penalty when onboard or asked to buy a new ticket.
In addition, here are several other tips you can take note of when traveling to London by train:
1. Book Tickets In Advance
As with anything, a rail journey in London is always about preparation and planning ahead. If you want to avoid hassles and expensive train fares, it’s best to book your tickets well in advance. Train ticket prices are like airfare—the closer you get to your travel date, the higher the prices will become. So, buying the tickets at the station on the same day you’re about to ride is a big no-no. Unless, of course, it’s an emergency and you need to get away urgently.
Splitting your tickets is also another way to save on costs if you’re traveling on a budget. The idea is to use a platform with minimal fees so you can find cheaper tickets when traveling by trains to London and anywhere in the UK. Split My Fare is an example of these platforms where you can book your tickets in advance, and they’ll help you find the most convenient and most affordable solutions for your travel needs.
2. Get Group Discounts When Applicable
If you’re traveling with friends or family, you can get group discounts when booking train tickets. The discount is usually offered when you’re in a group of at least three to nine people. During off-peak seasons, the discount could go up to 50%. It’s best to do your research first before booking your tickets so you’ll have an idea of which seasons are generally more affordable, not just in ticket fares, but also with accommodation and other travel costs.
3. Expect Long Lines When Collecting Your Tickets
If you plan to get your tickets before departure, make sure you leave ample time for any delays and long lines you might encounter along the way. Trains to London are pretty notorious for having long lines when it comes to ticket collection. Ticket machines are often busy, especially during peak times. You’ll surely be frustrated in case you miss getting on the train because of the lines.
Consider getting your tickets via email or through rail apps if you have one. Some booking platforms also offer the convenience of downloading e-tickets to your mobile phone, so you no longer have to worry about waiting in line before departure.
4. Check If You’re Getting On The Right Train
As mentioned, UK has several train companies, and if you’re not entirely familiar with them, it’s easy to get confused and board the wrong one, especially when you’re in a hurry. Multiple trains depart at similar times, and if you’re not paying enough attention, you might already be making a mistake and only realize it when it’s too late. You might miss the right train and will have to pay for new tickets, which could be ridiculously higher than what you’re supposed to pay for.
London alone has 12 major train stations, so you can just imagine how confusing and complicated it could be for first-timers like you. It’s best to know your way around, do your research, and ask around to ensure you’re doing the right thing.
Traveling by trains to London is an exciting way to explore what the city has to offer. But before you get too excited, don’t forget all the tips above, especially if it’s your first time visiting the place. Plan ahead so you can make your overseas trip even more memorable and fun.
Booking your tickets in advance is highly recommended if you want to save money on ticket prices. Consider looking into different platforms and travel solutions that can offer the most convenience and cheapest prices. Group discounts are also available if you’re traveling with friends or family.
Take into account the long lines you’ll need to brave when collecting your tickets. Lastly, ensure you’re boarding the right train, or else you might end up missing the right one or paying for new tickets.