Days out are only getting more expensive. With food, transport, and entrance fees combined, it’s no wonder a few busy weekends can leave you feeling strapped for cash. Fortunately, there are loads of ways to save money out there if you’re on your A-game. Check out our run-down of some the best deals, tips, and tricks out there to help you save on your days out.
1) Train tickets with 2-for-1 attractions
National Rail offers 2-for-1 entry to hundreds of attractions all around the country. To claim your 2-for-1 offer for you and a friend, you’ll both need to have a valid National Rail ticket. If only 1 of you has a ticket, you won’t be able to get your discount. Just go to Daysoutguide.co.uk, select the offer you want and print off the voucher. Then, present this voucher with your train tickets and make the most of Britain’s excellent attractions. Some train tickets, like Oyster Cards aren’t valid, so make sure you check before you buy your ticket.
A sneaky tip. You don’t need to actually use your train ticket to get the offer, you just need to have one. If you fancy a 2-for-1 but don’t need to get the train anywhere, just buy a cheap valid ticket, print off your voucher, and make the most of those savings.
Travelodge hotels near Legoland
2) Watch a TV show filming for free
Ever wondered how those lucky people manage to get in the audience for your favourite tv show? Well, it’s straight forward, easy, and free. Production companies give out free tickets to the filming of their popular TV shows. In return for free entry to see Graham Norton chatting with Jennifer Lawrence you’ll be expected to follow direction, applaud when told, and stay seated for a lengthy period of time. If this sounds right up your alley this is a great way to spend a free day out. There are several companies that you can use to get tickets, such as Applause Store, SRO Audiences, TV Recordings, and Lost in TV. Filming for tv shows often takes place in London, but many shows are also filmed in Media City in Salford.
Travelodge hotels near Media City
3) Sightseeing passes
There are plenty of options for the savvy traveller to save on multiple entry fees with a sightseeing pass. Lots of passes offer entry to multiple attractions, and can be purchased for a set number of days. You’ll want to work out how many attractions you’ll be visiting to see if the pass is worth the cost for you. If you’re forking out for a pass and then only going to one or two of the attractions, you might find yourself out of pocket compared with just buying the tickets as normal. Popular passes include The London Pass, which gives you access to 80+ attractions, Cadwr Explorer Pass, which gives you access to over 100 historic Welsh sites, and Historic Scotland Explorer Pass, which grants entry to over 75 sites.
4) Get a membership to National Trust or English Heritage (or both)
The National Trust and English Heritage are Britain’s two main conservation and preservation organisations. Membership to either gives you free access to their sites, which can end up saving you lots of money after just a few trips. The National Trust has over 500 locations you can visit across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including woodlands, manor houses, gardens, and parks. English Heritage has over 400 historic locations in England, including prehistoric sites, Roman forts, castles and monuments. Both offer several types of membership, including family, partner, and lifetime memberships. Make sure you have a good look at each organisation to decide which one would be best for you, and if you can’t decide, why not go for both!
5) Get a great room rate
When you’re booking a stay away, you’ll want to make sure you get the best deal. Fortunately, we have some top tips for making sure you get a room at the best price. First, always book direct. You’ll find our lowest prices on our website, so book directly on Travelodge.co.uk to see the best rates. Second, book early. Room rates tend to go up the closer you get to the booking date. For the best price, give yourself plenty of time in advance to book. Third, check our Deals Page regularly, where we advertise some of our best room rates available. Click the link below to go to our Deals Page and find some our lowest price rooms.
6) 2-for-1 cinema tickets
Everybody’s favourite Russian rodent has made getting 2-for-1 cinema tickets simples. Buy insurance, apply for a financial product, or switch utilities through Compare The Market and you could find yourself eligible for discounted trips to the pictures for a whole year. Now, it’s not necessarily the best idea to buy insurance or change your energy provider just for 2-for-1 cinema tickets, but Money Saving Expert have identified a loophole with this offer. There is no minimum value for what you purchase through Compare The Market to claim your offer, meaning you could buy a really cheap policy and still get discounted tickets. In August 2019, Money Saving Expert found 3 single-trip travel insurance policies for £1.01, which we feel is well worth the price for a year’s 2-for-1 cinema tickets.
7) Don’t pay for sweets at the cinema
It’s a familiar feeling that we’ve all had, a heady mix of panic and excitement as you sneak a few bags of minstrels and maltesers past the cinema attendant. But no longer will you need to feel like a criminal, smuggling illicit goods past the prison guards. Major cinema chains have changed their policies in recent years, allowing you to bring your own drinks and snacks to the cinema. The cost of food at the cinema can often be more than the tickets, so save a few pennies by bringing your snacks with you. As for smaller, independent cinemas, you’ll have to check in advance to find out their specific policy.
8) Tickets that last a year
Why only use a ticket once, when you can use it for a whole year. Some attractions will give a whole years re-entry included with the price of your ticket. Bletchley Park, home of the codebreakers, and immortalised in the Oscar-winning film The Imitation Game, is a site of significant historical importance. Here you can see the ingenious machines built to decipher enemy codes during WWII, and learn the story of Alan Turing. Just buy your ticket, sign at the admissions desk, and your ticket will be valid for unlimited entries for a year. Also offering year long tickets is The Royal Collections Trust, which includes incredible sites like Windsor Castle, Palace of Holyrood House, and Buckingham Palace’s The Queen’s Gallery, Royal Mews, and State Rooms. You can turn your ticket into a year long pass by converting your ticket into a donation. All you have to do is sign and print your name on the ticket before you leave the site, then hand it to a member of staff to stamp and validate. Voila, you have free re-entry to that site for a whole year at no extra cost.
Travelodge hotels near Bletchley Park
9) Free entry to the Eden Project
The Eden Project is the largest indoor rainforest in the world. Whilst a full-priced ticket will set you back £28.50, you can get entry for the price of a little sweat, hard-work and determination. Parkrun, who organise timed 5k routes for running, jogging, or walking, now host events on Saturday mornings at the Eden Project. Entry is free if you are taking part, and once you’ve finished you are free to visit the biodomes and cafe. Take the whole family and you can save yourself a huge amount, and get fit in the process.
Travelodge hotels nearby
10) Claim for a train delay/cancellation
If you frequently suffer delays to your train journeys, then you’ll want to make sure you claim for the inconvenience and maybe get some serious cash. Reportedly, rail passengers are missing out on around £100 million per year in unclaimed refunds. Different operators have different policies on refunds, so check the terms before you try and claim your refund, but typically speaking you’ll get at least 25% back for a 15 minute delay. Here’s how to claim your refund. First, make sure you keep your ticket, so you can scan it in or send it off to claim your refund. Second, check your operator’s refund policy to see what you are entitled to. Third, check to see exactly how many minutes delayed your train was on recenttraintimes.co.uk. Lastly, submit your claim to the train company, which can be done easily online, and await your refund.
11) Take a picnic
One of the biggest costs for a day out can be food and drink. When you’re heading off to a new place, you can’t always guarantee being able to grab a cheap eat, and can end up paying over the odds for a tourist trap restaurant. So, if you’ve got a day trip coming up, plan ahead and make a picnic. Get your hamper, make some sandwiches, chuck in some fruit, and grab your water bottle so you can eat on the cheap.
12) Check deals sites regularly
The internet loves a bargain, and there are countless sites telling you where to find the best deals and vouchers. Scour these sites to find a great saving on anything from days out to beauty treatments and everything in between. Deals go up and down a lot on these sites so they’re worth checking regularly if you’re a serious saver. Some of the more popular sites include Groupon, Livingsocial, Wowcher, Gogroopie, and Hotukdeals.
13) Cashback Sites
Cashback sites allow you to buy online whilst claiming some money back on your purchase. This can be on anything from theatre tickets to socks, meaning you can find a great day out and get a little money back for it. Cashback sites work because of a thing called affiliate links. Everytime a cashback site redirects a customer to make a purchase, the cashback site makes a little money. What cashback sites do is pass a portion of this money on to you. With most of these sites, the cashback you get will be stored in a virtual wallet that you can withdraw. Be aware that not all cashback sites offer cash, and many offer the cashback in vouchers. Popular cashback sites include topcashback.co.uk and quidco.com, but there are plenty out there so you can shop around for what suits you best.