personal finance

Save on summer travel


If you’re visiting friends and relatives this summer or just enjoying a break, here are seven tips to save you money on travel. 

Petrol station or supermarket?

For diesel and petrol, the cost per litre tends to be cheaper at supermarkets than at oil-company branded forecourts – supermarkets want to entice you to spend in store, too. PetrolPrices finds local rates, which can vary hugely, so you can find the best deal. 

Car hire

Book before you go on holiday. It’s up to three times cheaper than renting a car when you arrive. Carrentals.co.uk searches more than 50 rental car websites, plus Skyscanner and Kayak. Car hire excess insurance is essential otherwise you risk paying £500 or more for a scratch or windscreen damage. Buy in advance, not from the car hire company – insurance4carhire and MoneyMaxim could save you up to 90%.

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Claim compensation

If your train is delayed (as little as 15 minutes for some companies), you’re entitled to a refund. National Rail states that as a minimum you’re entitled to 50% of the price of a single ticket if your train is one hour late. Request a form from a staffed station, or go to National Rail.

Big coach savings

For low prices on main routes – albeit with longer journey times – go to Megabus. London to Exeter booked a month in advance costs £6.30, journey time 4h 25min.

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UK train tickets

Booking the cheapest, fixed-time Advance single tickets could save you 43%. Tickets are usually released 12 weeks before departure. Register at Trainline; go to the Tools & Apps section (top right corner), click on Ticket alert, then add the route and date. An email will be sent to you as soon as the cheaper fares become available.

If you’re buying tickets for travel within the next two months, use the Trainline Best Fare Finder.

Europe by train

Trains beat planes for getting from the heart of one city to another. However, prices go up closer to departure dates. Trainline EU has easy ticket booking and includes the cost-effective Interrail pass; Loco2 does similar with ‘on-sale’ alerts.

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