Train travel is a classic experience all over the UK, but it can be a bit daunting if you’re new to the long-distance train travel style.
However, if you are still not sure, you should know that there are some advantages that are not associated with air travel at all.
So, if you have planned your next trip to London and have chosen a train instead of an airplane, here are a few tips that will help you make the most of your journey.
6 Crucial Tips for Long-distance Train Travel
1. Research the routes
The UK is large, and with many train routes, it is relatively easy to get around the country. However, there are still some regional differences, and knowing the best route for your journey is essential. Trains in the UK can be quite expensive, so you want to ensure you get the most out of your journey.
Before booking your ticket, do a quick Google search for the best routes from your origin to your destination and consider the factors that constitute your travel. If you have to take a train from London to Edinburgh, it is advisable to look at the various routes available.
This can be done online by using a journey planner or ticket finder like the Rail Online -London to Edinburgh Train Tickets website, which will show all the possible routes for your chosen journey. It is advisable to look at the various routes, as some are quicker and more direct than others.
It is also worth noting that some routes may take you further away from A to B but will take you through towns, villages or other places of interest.
2. Choose the right type of train
With over 150 private train companies operating in the UK, choosing the right type of train for your journey can be confusing. If you’re new to train travel in the UK, the chances are you’ll find it difficult to know which train company to choose.
As a general rule, the mainline rail services will be the most reliable, comfortable, and (usually) the fastest way to get from A to B. The big players in the UK train travel industry are the likes of Virgin Trains, CrossCountry, Great Western Railway, and the long-distance arm of London’s tube network, London Overground.
3. Know the different types of seating for your comfort needs
When you first enter a train carriage, you may be shocked at the different types of seating available and the way they are divided. For example, on some trains, you may have a table in the center of the carriage, or on others, you may have a four-seater bench in a small compartment.
If you don’t know what each type of seating is, it can be easy to make a mistake and end up in the wrong place. That’s why it’s important to know the different types of train seating so you can make the most of your journey, whatever you need.
4. Understand the luggage restrictions
When booking a train journey, you might assume that you can take any luggage you want on the train. After all, it’s your stuff, isn’t it? Not quite. Long-distance trains have a weight limit and a luggage allowance that might not fit your needs.
You still get to take your luggage with you on your train journey, but you’ll have to pay extra if it’s over the weight limit or if it exceeds the luggage allowance. If you’re planning to travel long-distance by train in the UK, it’s worth understanding the luggage restrictions before you book your tickets.
5. Avoid peak hours and book your tickets early
Traveling by train in the UK is the best way to get around, but it can be difficult to get a seat if you don’t book in advance. Most train journeys are in peak hours (7:00 to 9:30 AM and 5:00 to 7:00 PM); therefore, you should avoid traveling during these times.
If you’ve booked your trip with a train company, it’s worth checking their website for special offers. These can be as much as 50% off the normal price.
With the rise of budget airlines, more people are choosing to fly to their holiday destinations. But somewhat ironically, budget airlines have made travel far cheaper than it was 10 years ago. For instance, a return ticket from London to Manchester can cost as little as £30 return.
And the best part is that you get to travel from A to B in a much more relaxed manner. But if you are planning on taking a train, you must remember that it’s not as simple as a trip to the shopping mall. You will have to plan for it, especially if you are planning to travel during peak hours.
6. Prepare for comfort and entertainment
If you’re planning to catch a train in the UK, it’s important to know what to expect from long-distance train travel. Trains are a great way to travel the UK but are prepared for what you’ll encounter. In general, most long-distance trains are relatively comfortable, but you can’t expect to be able to lie down and sleep in a seat.
UK train companies equip their carriages with fold-down seats to make this possible, but you’ll have to make sure you have a reservation before you board. Some of the trains in the UK are run by private companies, and they may not have fold-down seats.
If this is the case, plan on finding a seat where you can lean back and relax or bring along a travel pillow. You’ll probably want to bring along a travel blanket and a thick sweater. Many trains in the UK don’t have air conditioning, so it’s important to be prepared. If you’re on a long-distance train, you might want to bring along an MP3 player or an e-reader to keep you entertained on the trip.