We know life as a student can be a little tough on the purse strings. For those living away from home at university, or commuting into college, travel is both a necessity and a big expense. Whilst there’s no such thing as an official student train ticket, there are plenty of ways to save money on train travel.
Our guide to student train travel will show you money-saving tips including when to travel, when to book and how to make the most of student discounts. Read on to find out more and book your student train tickets.
There are a few different ways for students to save some extra pennies on train travel. We’ve put together our top tips for buying cheap train tickets below.
You may have already heard about split ticketing, or even tried it yourself! In essence, split ticketing involves buying separate tickets for two legs of your journey rather than one ticket for the entire journey - taking advantage of off-peak windows to save money. Our app will now do that for you automatically, courtesy of our clever SplitSave feature.
Using SplitSave is super-simple. Just download our app, search for your journey and if there are split tickets available, we'll show you the savings in the results page. Don't worry - it's completely legal and you won't have to change trains for the second 'leg' of your journey.
Learn more about how it works here.
One of the simplest ways for students to save money on train travel is with a Railcard. Save up to 1/3 on your train tickets for a whole year for just £30 – trust us when we say this Railcard pays for itself in no time! The most popular option for students is the 16-25 Railcard, often referred to as the Young Persons Railcard. You can also now pick up the new 16-17 Saver if you're a younger student – for a whopping 50% discount on train services. If you haven’t already, get yourself one of these to save money on those journeys to university, college, work or home.
Train companies in the UK release Advance tickets for a journey 12 weeks before the departure date – usually at a much cheaper price than booking on the day. Snapping up one of these Advance tickets is a great way to save money (and be organised)! It’s also more likely you’ll be able to reserve a seat, perfect for long train journeys home or away during the holidays.
Find more details about Advance train tickets or sign up to our handy Ticket Alert service – let us know the date and route you’d like to book and we’ll ping you an email when Advance tickets go on sale.
If you’re heading somewhere with friends (three to nine friends to be exact), you may be able to buy a GroupSave train ticket to save up to 34% on your UK train travel. It’s completely free to apply a GroupSave discount on eligible journeys when booking with us, all you have to do is hit ‘Add Railcard’ and pick GroupSave when booking train tickets as a group.
To find out more about how GroupSave works and the train companies that offer this discount, visit our dedicated GroupSave train tickets page.
In the UK, train tickets are generally cheaper outside of Peak hours (Monday to Friday rush hours), travelling during Off-Peak train times or even Super Off-peak times (between 10:00 and 15:30 and from 19:15 onwards Monday to Friday) is an easy way to cut the cost of train tickets.
When searching for train times in our Journey Planner, we’ll mark each route as either Peak, Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak.
Heading to the capital for the weekend? Or maybe you’re at university or college in London? Travelling into London by train can be pricey at times, luckily there are a few extra ways for student to save money on tickets.
If you have a 16-25 Railcard, you can also apply the 1/3 off savings to Off-Peak Day Travelcards (subject to a minimum fare of £8.60) and Anytime Day Travelcards when brought as part of a train ticket to London from outside zones 1-6 (subject to a minimum fare of £18.60).
Even better, your 16-25 Railcard discount can also be applied to Oyster cards, they just need to be linked up.
Find out more about travelling to London by train on our dedicated trains to London page.
Whether you’re planning a trip during the summer holidays or taking part in a study abroad program, it’s also possible to find cheaper student prices on train travel in Europe.
Depending on the country you're visiting, student and youth discounts can vary between different train companies, types of train and when you chose to travel.
We’ve put together a guide to finding cheap European train tickets – so why not head there to find out more and start saving on your train travel in Europe.
Two train companies offer discounted train tickets for students with TOTUM cards (formerly NUS Extra): CrossCountry (10%) and Grand Central (25%). However, several train companies offer discounted season tickets for students in full-time education to travel to and from their educational institute, including Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern and SWR.
You can also get 1/3 off the price of rail travel with a 16-25 Railcard - also known as the 'Student Railcard'. And if you're slightly too old for the 16-25, you can get a 26-30 Railcard for the same price of £30 for a year of discounted travel.
We don't offer a student discount at present, but keep your eyes peeled on our Deals & Discounts hub for the latest deals on train tickets, rail passes and more.
The cheapest train tickets usually come on sale around 12 weeks ahead of the date of travel. Start your search early and you may well be able to find these cheap Advance tickets. You should also look to travel outside of busy periods (such as morning commuting hours), as this is when Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak fares are usually available. And using a Railcard will almost always pay itself off after a few journeys, so make sure you renew yours when it expires!
Splitting train tickets takes advantage of peak and off-peak windows to reduce the price of the overall journey - completely legally! Our app will split our tickets automatically, taking the hassle out of manually searching for split ticket discounts. Find out more about SplitSave.