Martin Lewis urges Britons to book trains for Christmas travel now before prices rise

Boris Johnson advises UK to ‘isolate’ before Christmas period

Martin Lewis, the Money Saving Expert, is helping Britons the pennies in the run-up to Christmas next week. Many will be hopping aboard trains to visit loved ones during the “Christmas bubble” period between Thursday, December 23 to Sunday, December 27. It’s important to time buying train tickets right to make sure you’re not spending the earth.

This week’s Money Saving Expert (MSE) email from Lewis’ team shared their travel advice.

They revealed now is the best time to buy.

Cheap advance fares are still available on many routes.

This means if you buy now rather than on the day you can benefit from substantial savings.

MSE warned demand will be high between December 23-27 as Britons are allowed to meet up with two other households.

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Some routes have already sold out and availability is limited.

Train firms have cautioned that social distancing requirements mean reduced seat availability, so it’s key to act fast.

Train companies still offering advances included CrossCountry, Greater Anglia, LNER, Northern, ScotRail, South Western and Transpennine Express, when MSE checked over the weekend and on Monday.

However, availability is constantly changing, so you’ll need to check at the time of purchase.

These are some examples of savings the team found (to the nearest pound):

London-Birmingham, December 23. Advance: £9. On the day: Up to £75. Saving: £66.

Cardiff-Nottingham, December 24. Advance: £41. On the day: Up to £114. Saving: £73.

Edinburgh-York, December 27. Advance: £49. On the day: Up to £96. Saving: £47.

MSE warned that, while cheaper, advance tickets are non-refundable.

“You can change the time and date of your ticket, and either rebook or get a voucher valid for 12 months, though there’s often a £10 admin fee,” the team explained.

It may also be worth considering other forms of transport.

On Saturday, the government announced up to £3 million funding is to be made available to provide up to 80,000 more seats on coach services over the Christmas travel window.

To minimise disruption and help people travel safely to their bubble, the government set out a series of measures last week, including:

– lifting 100s of miles of roadworks

– enhancing rail services

– postponing and accelerating rail engineering works

– cutting ticket charges

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