June 24, 2024

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Christmas: 10 expert tips to save money on travel as cost of living soars

Christmas: 10 expert tips to save money on travel as cost of living soars

A woman clears snow from her car in Tow Law, County Durham.

Cut costs when driving home for Christmas. (Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)

With the rising inflation this year, many households are looking at how to save money this Christmas.

From getting through party season on a budget to trying to save money on food bills, while Christmas is undoubtedly an expensive time of the year, it is possible to save a few pennies if you plan in advance.

For example, travel is always looming large in the minds of many to get back to family and loved ones over the holidays.

Whether done by car or public transport, getting around over the festive season can be very expensive if done at the last minute.

So Metro.co.uk has put together a list of ten tips to help your money go further.

Whether travelling by car, train or internationally – here’s what you need to know.

Use the ‘Lift and coast method of driving’

While Formula 1 drivers might not have been the first experts to come to mind when it comes to saving money, they definitely know a thing or two about conserving fuel.

Car expert James Baker told Metro.co.uk that they use a technique for conserving energy called the Lift and coast method’.

When it comes to a dead stop, your car uses much more fuel to get going again.

By trying to predict when you may need to stop ahead of time, you can carry your previous momentum and save on fuel.

James says: ‘If it’s possible, try and slow down early when you’re approaching a roundabout or a red light, so that it’s less likely to have to stop completely.

‘Lift your foot off the accelerator, and the car will continue rolling for a while and slow down, using less energy to break.’

Have you tried the ‘lift and coast’ method? (Picture: Getty)

Remove unnecessary items from the boot

Weight is a real killer when it comes to fuel consumption, and carrying around items you don’t need in your car can soon add up.

James from RegCarCheck says: ‘When your boot is weighed down with Christmas presents, you’ll end up using more fuel, so make sure you remove unnecessary items from the boot to make your car as light as possible and use less energy.

‘Remove things like roof racks, bikes, and storage boxes when they’re not being used to make the car more aerodynamic.’

Stick to the speed limit

While sticking to the speed limit is integral for safety and compliance with the law, it can also have advantages for your bank account.

James says: ‘This is especially the case on motorways, where driving at 80 mph could use up to 25% more fuel than maintaining a legal 70 mph.

‘On some roads, the speed limit has been reduced to 50 mph to reduce emissions’

Sticking to the speed limit can help you stay safe and save money. (Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

Fully inflate your tyres

If you have a long journey planned for this Christmas, ensure your tyres are fully inflated to the correct pressure level to save on your fuel bill.

Incorrectly inflated tyres increase your level of rolling resistance which harms your fuel consumption – potentially by as much as 10%.

James says: ‘Tyres naturally lose 1-2 PSI in pressure a month, so keep them inflated to increase your miles per gallon.

Book train tickets in advance

Possibly the oldest trick in the book regarding train travel is to book as far in advance as you can.

Not only do you then get a better understanding of the train’s capacity, but you also have the opportunity to book the cheapest trains available for the day you are travelling.

James explains: ‘You can save up to 60% on your train fare by booking it early, up to 12 weeks in advance. The price will go up the later it gets, so book now to save as much as you can.’

Consider single tickets

Buying single tickets or ‘split’ tickets can sometimes reduce your bill for train travel quite dramatically.

Before you book and ‘open’ return, double-check that it isn’t cheaper to book your ticket in advance as two singles.

Similarly, if you are making one journey by rail, look up your route in advance and see if splitting it up into two or three tickets could reduce the price.

James says: ‘You won’t have to change trains, and often won’t even need to change seats, and you’ll just have two tickets instead of one, for less money.

‘The only rule is that the train must be stopping at all the stations you have a ticket for.

‘You can also use this to avoid paying for peak time tickets for the entire journey, if part of the trip won’t be during peak times.’

Planning your rail journey in advance can help you save money. (Picture: EPA/ANDY RAIN)

Buy a railcard

Railcards can save you a lot of money on train journeys, with many of them costing just £30 on their initial purchase and earning back that value in just a couple of trips.

You can learn more about the different kinds that are available at railcard.co.uk.

Research airport parking

If you’re travelling internationally this Christmas, it can often be the airport parking that ends up blowing your budget, as it’s probably the last thing on the list to research.

James says: ‘If you’re paying too much for parking while you’re away, It might be best to try a different airport, perhaps the second closest to you, if there’s a dramatic difference in parking cost.’

Book parking well in advance

As with train travel, it’s best to look at airport parking options in advance to save money.

The earlier you book in advance, the cheaper it is likely to be, though this does depend on your location.

James explains: ‘Even if you don’t book that early, make sure you do book before you arrive, even if it’s on the day of your flight.’

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Look at off-site parking

To anyone who has travelled recently, it will be no surprise that official airport site parking can be remarkably expensive.

If you’re willing to travel further, you can save money with off-site parking while still remaining close to the airport.

James says: ‘On-site parking isn’t always the best option, as off-site parking can sometimes actually be closer to the terminal and is generally a little cheaper.

‘It’ll be just as convenient – but perhaps a couple of minutes longer on the shuttle bus to the terminal.’

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