Planning a trip by train can be very expensive, or it can be done cheaply on a budget. If you’re used to calling a ticket agent to buy your train tickets, you are missing out on valuable savings found only online.
Buying train tickets online is cheaper, and in fact, many providers sell tickets exclusively online today. But you can find unique online discounts that promote providers’ apps or websites that are inaccessible at booking stations.
Read on as I elaborate on why buying train tickets online is cheaper than buying at a train station. I’ll also discuss how to find and secure the cheapest tickets.
When Buying Train Tickets Online Can Be Cheaper
Although the convenience of buying train tickets online is irrefutable, you might be more concerned about its cost for other reasons. If the price is less than those of a train station, by how much? Are there any special conditions to fulfill for the cheaper bargain?
Ideally, a regular train ticket cost from a train operator is the same online or at the station. But there are possible ways to get them cheaper online.
Buy Your Ticket Months In Advance
If you’re a meticulous vacation planner, you should already have your itinerary ready many weeks or months before your travel date. You’ll want to buy an “advance train ticket” weeks before your departure date, which is much cheaper than regular ones.
Some companies even sell advance tickets on the day of departure if they’re still available.
For example, Amtrak offers “Saver Fares,” a 20% discount on advance tickets through popular routes across the U.S. You can save up to $9.75 from Atlanta, GA, to New Orleans LA. And $22.5 from New York, NY, to Chicago, IL.
Although few companies offer the opportunity for this booking type at their ticket offices, others don’t. Moreover, these tickets readily sell out rapidly, so buying them online is the fastest way to secure one.
Many train service providers for various reasons continually offer ticket price discounts accessible online.
An example is the Amtrak Guest Rewards for regular travelers. You can conveniently apply for membership by completing an enrollment via their website. Then you can manage your account on Amtrak’s mobile app.
The bonus plan is somewhat complex yet highly rewarding if you’re on a budget because it doesn’t just potentially cover the cost for tickets when qualified. You can enjoy the bonus points on Amtrak car rentals and hotels when you arrive at your destination. Even unique restaurants and shopping malls accept the points to subsidize costs.
Other travel companies also host special discounts online via their mobile apps or websites.
Explore Many Options
It’s easiest to find the cheapest train tickets online than anywhere else, owing to the numerous train-booking websites available today.
An example of one is Wanderu, which is committed to finding the least expensive ticket prices with its search engine. After setting your location & destination station, departure, and date, you can get the best option. The site doesn’t charge any fees, which is crucial to your vacation saving goals.
Busbud, a more international booking platform, also provides rail transport options, which are cheapest earlier in advance. You also have to select the two stations you are traveling between, and you’ll see the most inexpensive choice(s) right away.
When you’ve got the cheapest option, I recommend you buy it quickly, as it may no longer be available if you go to a station.
Also, on some occasions, Busbud will refer you to the train’s booking site to complete your order. However, the opportunity to book directly via their website or app incurs an extra charge. So you’ll want to consider visiting the website despite Busbud’s offer to help.
How To Book Cheap Train Tickets Online
Although you can get an inexpensive train ticket online, simple but necessary steps are required. By following these steps, you shouldn’t have to worry if you’re getting the lowest price because they will be cheaper online. And you can focus on other aspects of your vacation that you can make more budget-friendly.
To successfully book cheap train tickets online, follow this step-by-step process:
- Be sure you’re getting the most affordable option. Use specific websites or apps like Busbud. By providing your location and destination, you can assess your options for the cheapest on their intuitive page. Beware that Busbud could charge extra booking fees, but other train-booking lines like Wanderu won’t.
- Set your journey details. Follow the steps on the booking site to get the lowest price. If you’re looking for an advance ticket, check the timetable if they are already on sale. If so, provide your departure date and time, ticket type, number of passengers, and available discount, if any. For more access to discounts, it’s better to use the company’s website or app directly to book tickets.
- Complete your order. The accepted mode of payment can include a debit card, credit card, PayPal, eVoucher, Amazon Pay, or Visa Checkout. Note that there could be more underlying payment charges you can avert by switching your payment method. You can also use your railcard to buy discounted tickets online.
- Keep track of your ticket. If you have an electronic ticket, you’ll need to keep track of where you store it. Ensure your screen isn’t cracked or impeded by any software as it could affect the barcode scanning process at the ticket gate. Or, if you printed your ticket, keep it in a safe place until your trip starts. Then carry it with you so you can show the agent prior to boarding the train.
Online train tickets are cheaper because you can book them as advance tickets, take advantage of exclusive discounts, and explore multiple options. Online is better than booking from a train station, especially when you’re on a tight budget for your vacation.
To successfully book the most affordable option:
- Explore chargeless train-booking websites like Wanderu.
- Set your journey details.
- Complete your order.
- Keep your e-ticket safely.
- Amtrak: Book Early For Savings Up To 20% Coast To Coast
- Amtrak: Amtrak Guest Rewards
- Wanderu: United States Train Ticket
- Busbud: Train Ticket