How to save money on train tickets

Posted by Ian on August-1-2011 under Save Money

In cities around the world where trains are the main type of public transportation, probably every man and his dog is always on the look out for cheap train tickets. Indeed, in the main cities of Japan, the economy would suffer greatly if it weren’t for a public transport system that excels in reliability, comfort and safety. In order for a system like this to be so efficient, local governments charge city dwellers, in some cases, ridiculous commuting costs. For example, a one-way ticket from the capital of Tokyo to the second largest city of Osaka, will cost you anywhere upward of 27,000 yen (around 300 or 400 US dollars). Granted the trip is made at a speed of over 300 kilometers per hour and is a trip that has been reduced from 7 hours, back in the 1950s, to a mere two or three hours in the 21st century. The price however, is considered by many, as outrageous.  You don’t need to be a Harvard Law graduate to see that people in  major cities across Japan, as well as in other nations around the world, are constantly on the look out for savings on train tickets as well as other services. So, with commuter costs what they are around the world, let’s take a look at some ways to save money on train tickets.

train tickets

If you commute by train to work everyday, then purchasing some sort of monthly or yearly pass is going to save you a bundle on public transport expenses. Often rail companies or local governments offer great savings for people that buy the aforementioned monthly or yearly pass. These passes can be used 24/7 and are very useful even on your day off. If you are planning a long distance train trip, you can save a great deal of money by reserving a few weeks in advance. Like airline companies; train companies also offer reductions for those who reserve train tickets early. For those who are planning to travel to another state or city in the same country, reserve at least a month before you plan to leave – you’ll save bucks. Another train ticket saving idea is to travel at non-peak times; traveling to Scotland, for example, by train at the beginning of Christmas vacation is going to cost you a fortune in transportation costs. Traveling across the USA on Thanksgiving will also have you digging deep in your pocket. Non-peak travel is always going to cost less than boarding a train filled with other vacationers like yourself.

If it is Europe or Japan that you’re going to visit for a few weeks, inquiry about the special  Rail-passes that are able to be purchased for various countries in Europe. The Japanese rail-pass, however, can not be bought in Japan and must be picked up prior to departure from your home country. Your travel agent will, no doubt, be able to advise you. The Euro-Pass along with the Japan-Rail Pass allow you to travel freely anywhere in the country or, in the case of Europe – countries, without having to purchase a ticket at various stations on your travels. Although these rail passes are not cheap, they will allow you to save on travel expenses in a foreign country.

You can also check out other money saving tips like how to save money on baggage fee, how to save money on hotel stay and how to reduce business travel expenses.

Another rail ticket saving idea is to be ready to snap up bargain tickets or coupons wherever they become available. There are times when a rail company will drop the price of train travel in order to fill seats. This is a common practice with airline companies in order to get butts in seats; prices a slashed. Coupons are yet other money saving way of getting tickets for a train journey. There are various coupon selling websites where you can pick up tickets for prices that are normally not easily acquired. One can also, occasionally find coupons for train travel in transport magazines or at newly opened or renovated stations. All you need to do is be on the lookout. Should you be traveling with a group of more than ten people, ask rail personnel whether there are group discounts; chances are there is some sort of discount and you’ll again save. If you are traveling with a child or children, make sure you don’t purchase an adult ticket. Tickets for children are usually cheap, albeit free, so make sure you don’t inadvertently buy an adult ticket for a child.

There are, no doubt, many other ways of saving money on train tickets and all it takes to find these savings is a little patience and research. Don’t be afraid to argue with rail staff, don’t be afraid to question prices and don’t be afraid, or too proud, to purchase discount or coupon tickets.

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