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Student railcard- how soon in advance do you have to order tickets?

(26 Posts)
Miljah Fri 07-Jun-19 14:20:10

I gather you must 'pre-order' your tickets when using a student railcard, but how soon before you travel can you leave it?

fiftiesmum Fri 07-Jun-19 14:25:07

It is always better to buy rail tickets in advance as you can get much better deals even without Railcard but usually have to get specific train. I booked ticket this week at 9am for a 10am train with Railcard and no problem

Miljah Fri 07-Jun-19 14:32:59

Thanks.

DS wants to make a £21 (with railcard) return trip, out tomorrow, back Sunday.

I don't want him to book until he knows the fellow student he's visiting isn't going to flake on him, so I want him to book it tomorrow morning, to go at noon.

But the rail fares don't shoot up and down like Ryanair do, do they?? As in it won't suddenly leap up tomorrow, will it?!

ForeverBubblegum Fri 07-Jun-19 14:34:43

I haven't had one for about 5 years so it may have changed, but I definitely used to buy from the machines at the station just before getting a train. Couldn't use it to buy on the train though.

If you can it is usually cheaper to buy further in advance, tickets go on sale 12 weeks before and each train will have a pre-set number of cheap tickets, and once there gone there gone.

OKBobble Fri 07-Jun-19 14:41:01

You can buy them right up to boarding the train but there are cheaper advance ones.

fiftiesmum Fri 07-Jun-19 14:41:28

Sometimes the really cheap tickets (£10 return lands end to John o'groats - slight exaggeration there) may have sold out but not the typical off peak

freshstartnewme Fri 07-Jun-19 14:49:26

No you don't have to pre order when using a rail card.

SouthKoreaquestion Fri 07-Jun-19 15:34:07

The prices of advance tickets for a particular train can shoot up, so delaying the booking until tomorrow is a risk. At one time, I don't think they sold advance tickets at all on the day of travel. I think some rail companies do now do that, but I don't know whether all do. Probably worth comparing the price of the advance ticket with the price of buying a non-advance ticket in order to decide whether to take the risk.

Miljah Fri 07-Jun-19 15:54:46

For fear of asking a stupid question, but how can we find out what the fare will be if we order tomorrow morning, before he travels?

titchy Fri 07-Jun-19 16:13:20

You don't have to pre-order at all! If you want to know the price before you buy use the Trainline or similar app - or simply ask at the ticket office. An old-fashioned method granted, but works.

Miljah Fri 07-Jun-19 16:18:46

The problem is the local station isn't manned, and if we use Trainline, it will tell us how much the ticket will be if he buys it now, not how much it will be if he buys on the day, tomorrow!

freshstartnewme Fri 07-Jun-19 16:22:12

For fear of asking a stupid question, but how can we find out what the fare will be if we order tomorrow morning, before he travels?

Check how much it would be now, to travel now, although if he is traveling peak it may well be different; but it won't be massive, can he not just carry a few extra pounds?

freshstartnewme Fri 07-Jun-19 16:26:29

Sorry my mistake, it's Saturday lunchtime so not peak.

bigTillyMint Fri 07-Jun-19 16:29:14

You can buy the tickets online at the last min and show them on your phone - no need for real paper tickets!

titchy Fri 07-Jun-19 16:29:49

Use trainline as if he was travelling today?

SophyStantonLacy Fri 07-Jun-19 16:30:24

you can see the standard price on Trainline.

SilentSister Fri 07-Jun-19 16:32:10

You can buy the tickets online at the last min and show them on your phone - no need for real paper tickets!

This ^ - DD buys all her tickets just before she leaves the house to catch the train! To be fair, if it is a long or expensive trip, she does try to buy way in advance, as much, much cheaper, but that is weeks in advance.

BackforGood Fri 07-Jun-19 17:00:46

No, you don't need to pre-order. You can get a discount buying them as you are about to step on the train.

Generally, if you buy weeks in advance, with all tickets you can get a better deal, but I doubt it makes a difference buying today or tomorrow.

Citygirl2019 Fri 07-Jun-19 17:03:17

If you use the Trainline app you can look at the different prices with or without the railcard.

My DS books his tickets this way.

Miljah Fri 07-Jun-19 17:14:20

Thanks everyone.

I think he'll book tomorrow.

Can I also ask, which app will he need to just show his ticket on his phone?

Hortz Fri 07-Jun-19 17:33:32

The student railcard does not affect which tickets you may or may not buy it gives a discount on every ticket.
Some tickets cost more than others - it's a minefield but that's nothing to do with the railcard.
Generally speaking the earlier you book the cheaper and the more flexible you want the ticket the dearer.

fairweathercyclist Tue 11-Jun-19 12:41:15

which app will he need to just show his ticket on his phone

Probably just his email.

justanswerthephone Tue 11-Jun-19 12:42:56

Whichever app he uses to buy the tickets.

I frequently buy tickets from LNER so use their app.

SellFridges Tue 11-Jun-19 12:45:52

Does your DS have additional needs? I’m not sure why you need to be so involved in the booking (or not) of a train ticket.

BubblesBuddy Tue 11-Jun-19 13:21:37

Some unmanned stations have ticket issuing machines. You put your reservation details in and your bank card and you get the tickets!

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