Solo Train Travel Tips for the Adventurous Explorer

The esteemed naturalist Sir David Attenborough has been quoted as saying: “I just wish the world was twice as big and half of it was still unexplored.” However, even if you are very much the nomadic type, there could still be more than half the world left for you to personally explore.

Even within the UK, there are plenty of places you could reach entirely by train. You wouldn’t necessarily need to bring anyone with you, either — as the following tips attest.

Book train trips when they are in less demand

Wherever you want to go, you might want to research what times of year other people tend to visit it. You can subsequently be careful not to personally visit then.

Otherwise, you could struggle to contend with the crowds. Travel advice websites like TripAdvisor and Wikitravel will be able to tell you when the ‘off-season’ is.

Also, when researching train tickets, watch out for journeys running at ‘off-peak’ hours. The tickets for these times of the day are generally cheaper than those for ‘peak’ hours.

Decide which types of train tickets would work best for you

If you aren’t experienced with purchasing train tickets, you could be surprised by how many different types there are. For example, you can — when on the website for National Rail — buy tickets for ‘Split, ‘Advance’, ‘Off-Peak’ and ‘Anytime’ journeys.

However, don’t be daunted by these terms, as our website provides succinct, easy-to-understand definitions for each. You could be particularly intrigued by our Split tickets, where dividing your journey into multiple train rides — with a ticket for each — can paradoxically save you money.

Book your train tickets in advance

According to a report published by the Intergenerational Foundation, booking train tickets ahead of time keeps rail travel’s cost competitive with that of flights. That’s another benefit on top of train travel being — as the study also indicates — seven times eco-friendlier than flying.

Using our website, you can buy a wide range of train tickets in advance. So, you could understandably be curious about what we call ‘Advance’ tickets.

These are specifically one-way tickets available for many longer-distance trips. These fares, though sold in limited numbers, can be well worth obtaining due to the lower prices attached to them. The further in advance you book the ticket, the cheaper it will be.

You could seriously consider an Advance ticket if the destination is one where you would easily be able to arrange your return home, whether by train or other means.

Be selective about what you pack

What you do need to pack will very much depend on the length and nature of the trip. Obviously, you are unlikely to need to pack as much for a weekend break as you would for a holiday lasting a fortnight.

In either instance, though, you would be advised to pack not only shirts, trousers and underwear but also toiletries and footwear. The latter can include comfortable walking shoes for when you will make your way from the station to the hotel and flip flops for wearing to and from the shower.

Read a book (or more than one) while on the train

Of course, if you have an Amazon Kindle or an e-reading app on your smartphone (and, yes, there is an official Kindle app for both iPhones and Android handsets), you could do a lot of reading on the train without having to pick up a single physical book.

However, this could all be a missed opportunity for you to disconnect from tech. Imagine escaping into a relaxing book rather than wrecking your mental health by ‘doom scrolling’ on social media.

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