From Platform To Destination: Solo Train Travel Made Simple

If you're planning on taking a staycation or are visiting the UK from abroad, one way to get around the country is by train. Traveling alone by train allows you to enjoy beautiful views passing by your window, meet interesting people, and have time to reflect on things as you watch the world go by. 

Pick a Destination That Inspires You

There are so many places to visit in the UK so firstly, decide what kind of experience you are looking for on this trip. Do you want to explore historical sites or see famous landmarks. Maybe you prefer hiking in stunning natural landscapes or discovering a new city? With so many options, it's important to pick a place that interests you the most.

You can check out websites like Split My Fare for a list of top train destinations in the UK. If you're unsure where to go, here are a few examples of popular train journeys:

London to Edinburgh: This journey takes you from the bustling capital of England to the picturesque capital of Scotland. Along the way, you'll pass through beautiful countryside and historic cities like York.

Glasgow to Mallaig: Known as the West Highland Line, this scenic route takes you from Glasgow through the stunning Scottish Highlands to the coastal town of Mallaig. You'll pass by lochs, mountains, and the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct.

London to Bath: Travel from London to the historic city of Bath, famous for its Roman baths and Georgian architecture. The journey offers glimpses of the English countryside and charming towns along the way.

Manchester to Windermere: This journey takes you from the vibrant city of Manchester to the Lake District National Park, where you can disembark at Windermere. Enjoy scenic views of rolling hills, forests, and lakes during the trip.

London to Oxford: Journey from London to the famous university city of Oxford. Along the way, you'll see the English countryside and charming villages before arriving in Oxford with its iconic spires and historic buildings.

Plan Your Route

One great thing about traveling by train in the UK is that England and Wales have extensive train networks that make it easy to get around while enjoying beautiful scenery. With a bit of planning, you can figure out exactly how to get to your destination and make the most of any stops along the way.

Use websites such as Trainline or National Rail to find train times and routes, and compare ticket prices. Think about getting an open return ticket so you can be flexible with your return date.

And don't forget about railcards—they offer discounts for students, seniors, and young travelers. Make sure to download offline maps on your phone and bring a physical map too. This way, you'll always know where you're going, even if you don't have internet service.

Pack Light

Traveling by train means you'll need to carry all your stuff yourself. Start by packing only the essentials; some versatile clothes, comfortable shoes for walking, a rain jacket, etc. Look for items that are compact and lightweight, like packing cubes, a small backpack, and clothes that can be worn in different ways. Don't forget important items like sunscreen (and an umbrella), chargers, toiletries, and snacks. Bringing your own water bottle and snacks can save you money on drinks and food during your journey.

It's also a good idea to have a basic first aid kit in case of emergencies. With smart packing, you can fit everything you need into a small backpack (around 30-40 liters) that's comfortable to carry. Bonus points if it has lockable zippers to keep your belongings safe during overnight trips.

Find Affordable Places to Stay

Accommodation costs can take up a big part of your travel budget. But with some smart planning and booking strategies, you can save money on where you stay and spend more on train tickets and activities.

Hostels are a great option. They often have private rooms as well as dorms, so you can choose what works best for you. Look for highly-rated hostels that are close to train stations for convenience.

You can also find budget-friendly Airbnbs all over the UK. Use the search filters to find entire apartments within your budget. And don't be afraid to ask hosts if they offer discounts for longer stays. You might be able to save even more money.

Embrace Spontaneity

Sure, you could plan out your train tickets and activities in advance. But where's the fun in that? One of the best things about traveling alone is being able to go with the flow and follow your instincts. Let yourself explore and see where each day takes you, using your planned route as a rough guide.

Talk to locals and other travellers to discover hidden gems and new experiences that you hadn't considered before. Instead of just visiting the popular tourist spots, explore up-and-coming neighbourhoods for a more authentic experience. By embracing spontaneity, your solo train journey becomes a more unique adventure.

Capture Memories

When you're not enjoying the scenery from the train window, you'll probably be taking photos with your smartphone. But blurry pictures and awkward angles won't do the scenery any justice.

Luckily, there are some simple tricks you can use to take better photos on the train. Bring a small tripod to steady your camera, even when the train is moving. Use lens filters to improve the colors and reduce glare in your photos. And most importantly, focus on capturing moments that reflect how you feel, not just what you're seeing.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, traveling alone by train in the UK is a great idea. The train network is big and easy to use, so you can go almost anywhere. Trains are safe and comfortable, which makes the journey more enjoyable. Plus, you can meet new people and see beautiful scenery along the way. Train tickets are usually affordable, and you don't have to worry about driving or getting lost. So, if you're planning a solo trip in the UK, traveling by train is a fantastic option to consider!