Conversation Travel Holidays and Meetups
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Holidaying by train

How easy is it?

Tillybow  Female  Hampshire 14-Jul-2017 20:26 Message #4695191
I have never learnt to drive, so holidaying without a car, where you can drive to the destination, park up, book in and bobs yer uncle, can be a bit worrysome. Booking a suitable hotel/ b & b near a sea side resort, that will be easy to get to, and from, as well as being able to get to other destinations within the area of choice, is for me rather a scary idea.

So how does one plan such a break?
Basically, I am of the mind to go Devon for a few days, take in some fresh air, maybe walk along the shore and do a bit of pebble hunting.
Would it be best to look at where the railways are and work from there? Or book a room somewhere that looks nice, and hope i can get there without getting lost.?
mancers  Male  Greater Manchester 14-Jul-2017 20:45 Message #4695193
Hello Tillybow ( bit of poetry there ) Have a look at Bay Hotels you get some good deals at hotels in Devon Cornwall etc, well worth a look.
tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 14-Jul-2017 21:12 Message #4695197
A few little thoughts that might help ( or perhaps hinder )

Don't be scared of it all. Try and enjoy the journeys there are back as much as you can. Not always easy on crowded trains etc, but it's all part of the adventure.

If you decide to go by train, it is sometimes cheaper to look at breaking the journey down to get the best deal. For example, if you are going from A to C, changing at B, the cost may be say £50, but if you looked at booking it separately, A to B could be £12, B to C could be £20, so total cost would be £32. I did this the other week, when I went to Warrington, changing at Birmingham.

Sometimes the off peak returns are the cheapest option, but not always.

You can also get plusbus bus tickets when you book some train journeys, which gives you unlimited bus travel around the town you are going to for £2 for the day. There are usually buses from the station to the town or seafront or hotels.

Look at the places you are thinking of going to, and check out where the railway stations are on google or routeplanner perhaps, and how easy it is to get to the seafront etc. You can usually find details of local bus services online.

Well there are a few. If I think of some more, I will add them.

Good luck and good adventures.
tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 14-Jul-2017 21:40 Message #4695198
Just noticed the bit where I said 'journeys there are back' should be 'journeys there and back'

I also forgot to mention that I use the Trainline website to book my tickets. You put in the details of the days you want to travel and suchlike and it comes up with all the info, cost etc.

There is an option of how you want to collect your tickets. Various ways to collect them.

There are other ways you can book the tickets as well.
BeBe  Female  Greater Manchester 14-Jul-2017 21:55 Message #4695199
The train thing is called split ticketing, and you have to make sure that the train does travel through the station where your ticket is split. Easiest is book via Trainline and then you are given a code to retrieve the tickets at station or you can pay to get them posted to your home if time permits. As has already been said, you can sometimes add PlusBus to your train ticket for a few extra £s which can be cheaper than paying on the bus, although this is not like buying a weekly ticket.

I dont drive either and took myself on a holiday down south. I booked a hotel that wasnt too far away from the beach and train station. You can always get a taxi from station to hotel as long as its not too far. I sometimes print out a map so i dont get lost, and i look at buses that are available and you can print out timetables for these too if needs be.

Alternative choice is a coach trip holiday (usually half-board included) although some of the hotels are not of great quality, usually 3* but may be worth a try as you can save a bit of money with them.

If you decide to go, have a great time
justfem  Female  Cambridgeshire 14-Jul-2017 23:07 Message #4695207
Check the price difference between standard and 1st class. Often in the long run by the time you've paid for food, drinks etc. it's as cheap, sometimes cheaper and more comfortable to travel 1st class.
justfem  Female  Cambridgeshire 14-Jul-2017 23:40 Message #4695210
I think if you book through crosscountrytrains they don't charge booking alteration fees when you click and collect tickets. Trainsplit automatically offers you the cheapest fares but sometimes it's as cheap to buy direct and you can end up with more flexibility.
tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 14-Jul-2017 23:45 Message #4695211
Unless you fancy being really adventurous, then try and make your first break a fairly simple one.

Things like one or two changes of train maximum, the destination allowing easy access to the surrounding area. Things like that. Once you have experienced it a bit, you can start branching out a bit more, but you don't want too many things that might put you off to begin with.
justfem  Female  Cambridgeshire 14-Jul-2017 23:58 Message #4695212
In many cases Superbreak hotels also offer rail discount offers.
tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 15-Jul-2017 00:41 Message #4695214
Try and avoid trains where this is only a few minutes to change over.

You probably know all this anyway and some of it is just a bit of common sense, so sorry if I am stating the obvious. If the train is running a few minutes late, you are more likely to panic a bit to get the connection.

Small stations might have a bridge across to the platform you need, but at the bigger stations you have to go up or down the escalators to get to the walkway, where the platform signs are usually quite distinctive.

Look out for the big screens that give all the trains due in the next hour or so, not just the one for the platform you are currently on. Find the time on the screen of the train you are due to get, and it will say what platform it is, then head for that platform.

Go to the toilet when you can at the stations, if you have time. The toilets on the trains can be a bit dodgy, or out of action, or if the train is busy, you won't be able to work your way easily to it.

Take some fluids and perhaps snacks with you, but don't drink a lot, otherwise the toilet thing above will need to come into action more often. Also, I think that buying the refreshments on the train is quite expensive.
vanman  Male  Cambridgeshire 15-Jul-2017 07:53 Message #4695235
After reading the replies on here, I should give up the idea of holidaying by train!

Too much stress!

You'd need a holiday afterwards too get over it. lol.

Go on a coach trip! lol ;-}
tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 15-Jul-2017 08:15 Message #4695239
Now, with a coach trip, where do I start.

Right here goes, Coaches can get busy...etc, etc, etc, don't use the toilets...etc etc

I've just read back some of my train tips, and as vanman jokes, it does all sound a bit stressful, but armed with all the knowledge, hopefully it will help.

Oh, and don't take too much baggage with you, especially on a busy train. There will be peoples baggage all over the place, blocking the alleyways etc.

And mind the step when you get off.
tsunamiwarrior  Male  Hertfordshire 15-Jul-2017 08:19 Message #4695242
I have travelled around the uk by train and find it simplicity itself. Throw your belongings in a suitcase with wheels, buy a ticket and go.
Maybe avoid rush hour around bigger towns and cities.
Minnie-the-Minx  Female  Hertfordshire 15-Jul-2017 08:22 Message #4695243
Find out if you can get a coach down there. Takes a bit longer, but all you have to do is turn up at the bus station.

I would get an idea of how you are going to get there first, pick a destination that they go to, then try to find somewhere to stay. Look at airbnb and for some ideas about accommodation.

jennifer  Female  Gloucestershire 15-Jul-2017 10:19 Message #4695260
A friend and I do drive, but we won't drive long distance. We have done coach holidays last 2 years, and will be going on another one this year to Bournemouth. We take the attitude that as soon as our backsides sit on the coach, our holiday starts there. We let the driver and JustGo Holidays take the strain.
Tillybow  Female  Hampshire 15-Jul-2017 10:38 Message #4695270
ive heard of air bnb. Never really thought about looking at it for a break tho,so will have a look. Thank you. :)
as this, if I go, will be a first ever trip I will be doing on my own. Thats the daunting thing about it. I have been on trips before, but with family or friends waiting for me at the other end so feel 'safe'. I use trainline for these journeys, as they do give you the best prices. And now I am of the age of a senior railcard, its even cheaper!
Coach travel i find, is long and winded, and often has to have a long break in between swapping coach in Birmingham or London.

I figured, if i can do a mini break on my own,something ive never done before, then I should at some point, be brave enough to go away for a longer time.

Time, I thought, to stop putting things off, grab bull by horns and just do it! so now I just have to be brave enough to look, book and go somewhere.
justfem  Female  Cambridgeshire 15-Jul-2017 11:53 Message #4695286
Another option for travelling that can be more flexible is to use carpooling groups like blablacar.
brisinger  Male  Lancashire 15-Jul-2017 13:38 Message #4695315
I can't drive either but have travelled extensively. There's plenty of rail options in the UK that give offers. Some hotels will even have package arrangements. If you want to travel further afield then groups in Meetup can offer great options. Even within groups such as these in the past I have arranged things. Sadly too many people have either left or joined the Grumpy Old Fooglies Society (GOFS) on here and I no longer post meets. Instead I arrange things in the background.

This year I am planning a tag-along for people interested in the Brno Folklore Festival (24-28 August) in the Czech Republic. I just leave it as a people contact me rather than meets tied to one site. That way I can either go on my own or people can join me if they so choose.
brisinger  Male  Lancashire 15-Jul-2017 13:47 Message #4695318
If you are going to the Plymouth area NigelinDevon is probably your man to speak to. He's dead nice even though his daughter has affectionately tried to affiliate him to the Grumpy Old Codger Society at times ;-)
AndyMacG  Male  the West Midlands 16-Jul-2017 11:51 Message #4695432
Its quite simple really, ... You find a place you'd like to go, buy your train ticket to where you've booked your hotel, turn up at the station on the day, (much the same as an airport when flying abroad) get on the train, arrive at your destination, get a cab to your hotel or resort, Job done, enjoy your holiday, Simples :)

Andy Mac
Blue-Poppy  Female  East Yorkshire 16-Jul-2017 18:33 Message #4695488
Please be aware Tillybow of something that almost caught me out.
I recently booked a flight from Liverpool to Ireland then had to match up a couple of trains there and back. I had already looked at 'Trainline' prior to booking the flights but when I went back the fares had risen to almost double.
I travel via Leeds and Manchester.

Thought I would see the price at the railway station and this is what I was told.
"Sorry madam that day (5th) there are rail maintenance and repairs on that line, you will need to make 3 changes and go from Leeds to Huddersfield by bus". Their price was much cheaper than Trainline but sadly this did not get me there in time so we looked at alternatives. SO, I can go via Sheffield and Manchester and return the normal way for about half the price of that quoted on Trainline.

Just been and had another look at Trainline and there is STILL no mention of any maintenance works and the prices are still higher than I paid.

If I had not had the foresight to inquire at the station I would have missed my flight.
Judance  Female  Berkshire 16-Jul-2017 18:59 Message #4695491
I have family in Devon, Tilly, and do go down there by train.

The line from Paddington goes through Reading, right down to Cornwall. I have a Senior Railcard, which gives a good discount and I also book via the Trainline app. You book your seats at the same time .. it's free.

For a first trip, you could try East Devon and go to Exmouth. Get the train to Exeter St David's and then the local train to Exmouth. The train station is within easy walking distance of many of the sea front hotels, or you could get a taxi.

Drop me a message if you want to know more.
Tillybow  Female  Hampshire 16-Jul-2017 23:35 Message #4695552
thanks Blue poppy. I hope my journey will be less stressful! Smooth and easy travel is what I need.
Andy, it sounds so simple. And it is usually so, when I have people to meet me othere end of the journey. But this will be o solo mio, although I should be ok.
Once i am on the train I am sure i will be ok, as long as i dont get all anxious about getting there and being on me own and worrying i will get lost etc etc..
Nah i will be fine.
Just have to decide where to go. I know what dates, just not sure where lol

Judance. Exmouth sounds good. Never been there I will have a look at the area, see what they have.

Thank you all for helping. I will let you all know how it goes
Nigel_In_Devon  Male  Devon 17-Jul-2017 07:07 Message #4695573
Re the split ticketing, I belive there is an app on the Martin Lewis website (moneysavingexpert ?) That will automatically find the best price by splitting the ticket. There can be some good savings but many don't make a lot of difference. Are there many trains that travel along the south coast? Or do most of then entail travelling north to somewhere like Reading and then back down again? If you do make this journey and you fancy a tour of Dartmoor, let me know and, if i'm not busy i'll happily drive you.

Enjoy your trip

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