Although I approached The Trainline for sponsorship, they declined, but I wanted to share my experience.
By booking in advance, you can save lots of money, however you are then restricted to using that ticket not only on that day, but at the time stated also. A bonus is I was able to book a seat for every part of my journey at no extra cost, but I did have to pay a £1.50 booking fee so I booked as many tickets together as I could.
But how do you find the cheapest fare? What happens if your train runs late and you miss your connecting train? If you turn up early can you catch an earlier one? What is the cheapest route?
How much time do you have? It was not easy, thankfully I’m was born in the UK and lived here for 39 years before moving to South Africa, so I know the geography of the country, I’ve lived in Wales, the north east and the south west, travelled with work both alone and with hubby to London and the north west, but still it wasn’t an easy route to plan.
So to get to Leeds from Newport the cheapest way to travel is via Manchester, however this involved a 2 hour wait for my train to Leeds, then the following day Leeds to Manchester another 2 hour wait, then the train to Watford with a change at Milton Keynes another change at Watford and on St Albans (collected from station)
Travel in and out of London for the next 4 days was purchased daily as I didn’t know how long I was going to stay and where I was going to be. I was then dropped at Reading for the train home.
Total journey costs including booking fees with The trainline £158.90
Total journey costs without using The Trainline £175.40
Total cost if I’d travelled by road £ (car size and fuel dependant plus
tolls and parking)
Total savings £ 16.50
If I’d been able to plan the whole journey a week or 2 in advance with The Trainline It would have cost £115.00
I don’t know what would’ve happened if I’d missed a train, probably had to have paid full price for a new ticket. All I know is when I asked if I could catch an earlier train as I’d sensibly planned for at least a 90 minute break between stops, to allow for late arrivals, I was informed that wasn’t possible unless I purchased a new ticket.
It was a bit of a flaff to be honest just to save £16.50 but you can see if if I'd booked 2 weeks ahead my savings would've been £43.90