Whether you’re a home bug and can’t stay away from your mum’s fry ups for too long, love to party with friends in different cities, or perhaps cart yourself halfway across the UK to see a loved one; many of us have to grit and bare the infuriation of tedious train rides. With these handy tips, you’ll be a pro in no time.
Get yourself a rail card
Even though £30 might seem pricey to spend on a card, the 16-25 Railcard gives you 1/3 off ticket prices every time you travel. Depending on how frequently you commute, this can be paid off quickly due to the large amounts of money you save every time you buy a ticket. Bear in mind that however much money you save on a train ticket can instead be spent on something more fun, like a cocktail or a fancy burger.
Instead of thinking of trains as a place to waste time, think of them as a place to get on with fun or essential tasks. This could be work related; planning an essay, writing an important email, or perhaps starting the recommended reading that you’ve been putting off for weeks months. Or it could be play related; catching up with 400 messages of banter from your WhatsApp group, indulging yourself in a trashy but oh-so fabulous glossy magazine, or maybe reading that book you started on your last summer holiday which you’re yet to finish. Whether it’s work or play, indulge in a task which makes the time go quicker.
Headphones, earphones, earplugs, it doesn’t matter as long as there’s something to block out sound. The fantastic thing about trains is the unexpectedness of your fellow passengers. Who knows who you’re going to get – a group of rowdy lads, a screaming baby with a stressed parent, or perhaps that strange man who’s trying to tell you he’s only had ‘one tinny’. No matter who you might receive as a delightful travelling companion, headphones can help you close off into your own little world without the distraction of undesired disturbance.
Don’t forget the snacks
Unless you’re on a train which dates back to the 20th century or on a short commute, usually there will be a snack trolley, with ridiculously overpriced goodies. Despite the desire to dive hands (or face) first into that £4 bag of Maltesers, bringing your own food for the journey is much more convenient and cheaper. However, a small piece of advice when bringing your own packed lunch or snack: remember that other people on the train don’t agree that your tuna, onion and pickle sandwich is ‘really tasty’, so please, be considerate for the other commuters and don’t bring something that will make other passengers despise you.
Time your train
Travelling at slightly quieter times is your best bet to bag the cheapest tickets. This doesn’t necessarily mean getting a train at 11.23 at night, but just try to miss the rush hour commute in the morning and early evening. Booking weeks in advance can also help slice the price, yet don’t dismiss the last minute trains (£2.70 ticket from Leeds to Sheffield = excuse for impromptu night out).
Beat the toilet blues
Let’s be honest, no one likes using the loos on public transport. But when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go. The last thing you ever want to find when using a train toilet is a lack of running water, soap, or toilet roll. If you want to be a super savvy traveller; come armed with hand sanitiser, hand wipes and tissues. This way you can beat the panic of a pee-stained seat and nothing to wipe it with. Crisis averted.