From travelling at off-peak times to planning holiday transport far in advance, there are a number of ways for holiday-makers to save money when getting from A to B.
But what about group travel? We have put together a list of ways to help you save money when organising the transport for your next group outing.
Whether you’re planning a train journey for a group of 20 or looking to combine several attractions in one itinerary, there’s a way to save a few pounds.
Here are five tips for the thrifty group travel organiser…
1. When navigating London
Group Day Travelcards let you travel as often as you like on bus, tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services within London Zones 1 to 6.
The benefit of buying one of these tickets is that groups can travel together and save money on buying individual tickets when travelling through and around the capital.
These paper tickets are valid for groups of ten or more people, who must be travelling together at all times on the date printed on the ticket. Group Day Travelcards are off-peak tickets that can be used from 9.30am from Monday to Friday, and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
Groups must use the travel cards on the date printed on the ticket, and for any journey that starts before 4.30am the following day.
2. When taking the train regionally
Ideal for both small groups and larger parties that can be split into smaller ones is GroupSave – another type of ticket you can buy to save money while travelling as a group by rail.
GroupSave tickets can be used regionally with train companies including, but not limited to Chiltern Railways, Great Western Railway, Gatwick Express, Great Northern, London Overground, Southern, South West Trains, Stansted Express, and Thameslink.
Parties of three to nine adults applying to use a GroupSave ticket can get a third off of off-peak tickets when travelling together.
The group must travel together at all times, and travellers should note that no further discounts (using Railcards, for example) are available for any of the passengers.
3. When travelling by coach
National Express, one of the largest British coach operators, offers a similar discount on the GroupSave rail ticket. It’s available for parties of between three and nine people, so can be used for different sizes, which may be more flexible that hiring a whole coach dependent on your travel needs.
If your group is numbering into the 40s or 50s, National Express also offers private coach hire on vehicles including executive coaches and double decker coaches. Of course, there are some fantastic coach operators out there that really specialise in groups. Many GTOs will have their favourites but it is worth keeping an open mind and not always fixating on costs.
A balanced view as to what you get and the level of service you want is important. You won’t be surprised to hear that there will be a number of top coach operators at the Group Leisure & Travel Show – and some top class vehicles will be showcased in the Coach Display Area.
4. When considering an itinerary
Take advantage of combination tickets to save money on entry prices to attractions, like a theatre trip and a meal at a nearby restaurant under one booking. Often these packages will save you money by offering a cheaper combined price.
For example, Windermere Lake Cruises in Cumbria offers what’s called the Transport Trio, which encompasses a visit to The Lakeland Motor Museum, a ride on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Steam Railway, and a lake cruise from Bowness. Booking this value option would save group members paying three separate prices.
Likewise, Group Line boasts a number of combination ticket itineraries such as a joint visit to the Coca-Cola London Eye and the Houses of Parliament, and a trip to the Buckingham Palace State Rooms followed by a meal at the Charing Cross Hotel.
It’s always worth asking at one attraction if they have any combined deals with other places of interest nearby. As the saying goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get…
5. When (and where) to book your holiday
Choosing the right time to book your group trip can also mean saving some money. Avoiding the school holidays is obvious of course and if you organise for people in retirement, make the most of the fact you can be flexible. It will save you money for sure.
GTOs might also like to consider booking a city break during the summer – these tend to cost less at a time when many people are focused on beach holidays. Stay away from the trend at that particular time of year and ask plenty of questions.
Perhaps try going somewhere out of season – like the Caribbean between March and September or Switzerland between October and March – for considerably cheaper rates. A cruise repositioning could also be a fantastic opportunity if you’re happy with being at sea.
Alternatively, if travelling domestically, look for certain hotels that are used mainly by business travellers. Booking your group for a weekend stay at accommodation that tends to be used on weekdays might mean a much cheaper rate.
You can find out more about how to save money when travelling as a group, and everything else group travel-related by visiting the Group Leisure & Travel Show at the NEC in Birmingham on 20th October.