How to save on your train travel in Scotland

Last updated: Monday, 24 July 2023

With the cost of living rising, we’re all looking for ways to make our money stretch further.

Whether that be our everyday costs or making sure we get the best value for money with our disposable income, anywhere savings can be made should always be explored. We’ve put together this handy guide to help you ensure you get the best value train ticket whenever you travel with us.

Book in Advance if you can

The early bird gets the worm and all that, and train travel is no different. On some routes, particularly those between cities (except between Edinburgh and Glasgow), you can save up to 60% when you book early. Our Advance tickets are released up to 12 weeks in advance and cost from just £5 one way. And if you miss out on a £5 Advance fare, you can still often save by booking up to 6pm the day before you travel.

We also have Advance fares available between North Berwick and Edinburgh, and Ayr and Glasgow with super low ticket prices on certain services. Once you've made your plans, it's well worth checking your journey to see if there are Advance tickets available. You can do this using Journey Planner on our website or by using the Search function in the ScotRail app.

Save even more off Advance with a Railcard or Club 50 membership

Plus, if you hold a railcard or have Club 50 membership, you get the extra discount on top too, so you really can save a lot! Advance tickets are available on various routes into and out of Scotland’s cities, making them perfect for a cheap city break or a trip to see family and friends.

Find out more about Advance tickets

Couple in the city

Be flexible with your travel times if possible

Travel during less busy times. Our Off-peak and Super Off-Peak Day Return tickets offer savings depending on when you travel.

Travelling during the week

Super Off-Peak tickets are brilliant if you’re flexible on when you can travel, and even better if you enjoy a lie in because you can’t travel until after 11:00, Monday to Friday. For most journeys, you’re free to travel home whenever you like. But if you’re departing from, or going to, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Aberdeen you’ll need to travel between 11:00 and 14:59 or after 20:00. It’s the perfect ticket if you’re heading on a midweek night out and won’t be home until late anyway.

If those times don’t work for you then opt for an Off-Peak ticket.

At the weekend

Off-Peak tickets are valid all weekend as well as quieter times during the week, so whether you’re making an early start to hit the shops before it gets busy, or leaving it a bit later, it’s a great ticket to have. Plus, every adult with an Off-Peak ticket can take up to four children with them for just £1 return each with a Kids for a Quid ticket.

Take the kids for £1 return all year round

With our Kids for a Quid ticket , a child aged five or older can travel for just £1 return when accompanied by an adult on an Off-Peak service. And if the little one is under five, they travel free at all times.

To get a Kids for a Quid ticket, purchase your own Off-Peak ticket, then get the kids ticket from a booking office or on the train if no ticket office is available. Kids for a Quid tickets can't be bought online or from a ticket vending machine.

Not sure if Kids for a Quid would work for your journey? Have a read of our handy guide that covers everything about travelling with children.

Child tickets - all you need to know!

Family walking on beach

Travel in a group and save

Did you know that if three or more of you want to take a trip together you can get a discount? There are a couple of options depending on where you want to go.

Between three and five of you heading to Edinburgh or Glasgow? Take a look at our GroupSave ticket. This saves you up to 1/3 on Off-Peak Day Return tickets.

For three or four of you travelling along routes between any of Scotland’s seven cities, take a look at our Friends Fare. These fares are released twelve weeks before travel and have limited availability so plan early to save with this one.

Find out more about our Group tickets

Save on your commute

People have different working patterns so we have a range of commuter products available to try and suit as many people as possible.

Working in the office one or two days a week? Say hello to Flexipass

With more people working from both home and the office, it can be tricky to know which train ticket to buy to get the best value. That's where our Flexipass comes in handy. With Flexipass you get 60 days to make 10 journeys on the same route. So if one week you're in the office one day, the next week two days, you can still save. You'll need a Smartcard to load your Flexipass on to but you can get yours for free here.

Find out more about Flexipass

Travel the same route to work frequently? A Season Ticket could be right for you

If you travel regularly to work then a Season Ticket will probably save you more than a Flexipass. We have Weekly, Monthly and Annual Season Tickets available, and all help save a good chunk of money than buying an Anytime ticket everyday.

Find out more about our Season Tickets

Holidaying in Scotland? Save with a pass

We’re all for exploring close to home in a sustainable way, which is why we have a range travel passes and rover tickets available. These enable you to make unlimited journeys over a set time period and are valid on trains, coaches and buses. They’re a brilliant way to see as much of Scotland as you fancy at your own pace while someone else does the driving, leaving you to soak up the scenery on every journey.

Take a look at our travel passes and rover tickets

Looking to travel further afield or more frequently?

It's always worth taking a look to see if a Railcard could help you save even more on your journey. They can be especially handy if you're planning a long distance journey as they can save up to 1/3 off the ticket cost. There are lots of different railcards available to suit lots of different people. So whether you're an Army veteran, always travel with a friend or are aged between 16 and 30, it's worth checking to see if there's a railcard for you.

Find out which Railcards are available

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