There’s a good chance that, if you have a family, you’re thinking of traveling by train to your getaway.
The Easter holiday, at the start of April, is coming up fast. There’s a good chance that, if you have a family, you’re thinking of traveling by train to your getaway. No, we’re not mind readers; data shows us that more and more travellers take trains during Easter holidays.
Between 2016 and 2017, we’ve seen a whopping 120% increase in Easter rail bookings made by families.
Loco2 co-founder Kate Andrews shared her thoughts on the increase in Easter train travel:
"Put simply, kids love travelling by train. It’s far more engaging than flying – not only the excitement of the railway station and the trains themselves, but there are only so many options for ‘eye-spy’ from a plane!"
The feedback we receive from families is that they are pleasantly surprised by how easy and convenient train travel can be. Their whole experience is improved when the journey is made part of the holiday. With most rail operators, kids under four travel for free (with the odd exception). It’s a different story on planes as that offer usually expires when a child turns two.
Seemingly cheap, short flights can be tempting. However, we compared the costs between flying and taking the train this Easter and the results might surprise you:
A cost case study - flying versus train travel
- Who: A family of four – two adults and two children aged 3 and 8.
- When: Friday 30th March 2018 returning on Wednesday 4th April 2018.
- Where: London to Brussels, return.
- Cheapest flight available from London Heathrow to Brussels Airport on the same dates = £581.20* (including 2 x 23kg bags and seat reservations).
- Return rail travel from St Pancras to Bruxelles-Midi (Eurostar) booked via Loco2 (no fees) = £322.50* (luggage goes free and up to two under 4-year-olds travel for free with every paying adult). Plus there’s a 50.85kg estimated CO2 saving versus flying.
This example yields a cost saving of £258.70.
These prices, which don’t include the costs of airport parking and transfers, show that a train journey planned in advance can be more cost-effective than flying, even over a busy holiday. This is not to mention that time is saved as the trains cuts out the journey to the airport and the need to arrive a good amount of time before take-off.
If you’re ready to plan your Easter travels, check out our top tips for families looking to get the best deal on train travel:
Book tickets as soon as they go on sale. Generally, this is two to four months before the date of travel. It also depends on where you are traveling to, but check out this list of rail operators for their booking horizons - period of time where travel on a certain date can be booked from.
- If booking isn’t open set a booking alert – you’ll be notified as soon as tickets for your journey go on sale, enabling you to get the best price.
- On overnight trains, families with small children can choose a sleeper or couchette.
- Single parent travelling – there are single-gender sleeper cabins on some routes, should parents wish to reserve them.
- Many rail operators permit young children (up to four years old) to travel for free if they share a seat with an adult passenger. Loco2 will prompt you to enter the age of child passengers when you search for tickets and automatically assign suitable tickets.
So, where will the train take you to this Easter?
*All prices captured 26 January 2018.