Do cheap tickets for $1, £1 or €1 really exist?

$1 bus or coach tickets are still available on some routes in the USA, with these tickets randomly appearing on some schedules such as Greyhound. However, they’re very rare, so if one happens to appear during your search, great. If not, we always still recommend booking early if you can (which also gives you a better chance of randomly finding a $1 ticket). £1 coach fares existed in the UK until just a few years ago. While they are no longer available, some promotions and even standard bus and coach tickets still offer extremely good value, with prices for trips that are hundreds of miles sometimes being cheaper than a cup of coffee! Booking early for trains (see section 1) can also throw up some bargains, while in many parts of Europe, public transport is heavily subsidised so travel can be much more affordable than you’d expect.

Cheap tickets and budget travel deals are available on the search function on our homepage, which also shows the latest discounted tickets offered by operators. 

When is the best time to book tickets to save money?

The earlier in advance tickets are bought, the cheaper they are likely to be. Even if you don’t think the tickets will be cheapest right now (unlikely), this rule of thumb usually applies to longer distance train, bus and coach travel. And even hotels and accommodation. Remember that some transport services will sell out at peak times and you could be left having to travel at times or on days that are not as attractive as well as paying more. Most operators publish timetables at least 3 months before departure dates and some much longer. So, if you’re able to buy tickets 10 to 12 weeks before the departure date, fantastic, as you’re much more likely to grab a bargain and be saving money on travel tickets. Not to worry if your trip is in 2 weeks time, that is still plenty of time to find a bargain, though it might not be quite as cheap as it was a few weeks earlier. However, if you need to travel within 24 hours, the ‘book now’ principle applies; you never know if a ticket price could jump or worse, the trip you want gets sold out!

Can I change my ticket and should I be flexible? (in terms of travel, not at the gym!)

You might be able to save a few bucks, pounds or euros by travelling when others are less likely to be travelling (see Section 4 for more on this). If you need to keep options open while you firm up other plans, it is still worth thinking about buying tickets now, especially if you are able to amend the booking at some stage in the future. Top tips for flexibility? Here are 3 strategies for saving money with flexible travel plans:

a) Check out exact pick up and drop off points (see also Section 7) and work out if you have more options with different operators or could switch between, say, train and coach.

b) Check your departure time - can you travel an hour or even half an hour earlier or later to uncover cheaper fares, or could you use a different route that might be slightly longer, but cheaper.

c) Are fully flexible ticket options available? You’ll likely pay a little more, but some operators do allow ‘open’ or fully flexible tickets, meaning you can use the ticket on a variety of departure times. This tends to be on services that are very frequent, such as city centre to airport services, which might be every 15 minutes. Be aware of the risk that you won’t always be guaranteed a seat on a service unless you have specifically reserved a seat, so always allow plenty of time if you have an onward connection - travel is so much more relaxing when you have built in contingency!

Changing travel plans is very likely to mean ticket amendment fees. This tends to be because bus, coach, train and others like ferry and air travel operators‏‎ like to know as early as possible how busy they are going to be and whether or not they should be trying to put on additional services. This is no simple task, as operators don’t tend to have spare buses, trains, boats or planes that they don’t regularly use and they’ll need to find employees willing to work extra hours! Hence, they’ll ask for an amendment fee, which travel agents are obliged to pass on.

What time of day is best to book tickets for cheap deals?

Many operators know that people making last minute decisions have fewer alternative travel options, so will often raise their prices near to departure dates and times. Even a few hours can make a difference, with some operators able to change prices at any point during any part of the day based on criteria like the number of seats sold. There isn’t a standard best time of day to book, but busier times of day for web traffic tend to mean more bookings at that time of day, which increases the chances of prices suddenly jumping. So, when are the busier times of day for web traffic and higher levels of bookings? Typically around lunch and early evening. And which days of the week get the most traffic? This is even harder to answer, as public holidays and events can change booking trends, but in a typical week, the middle of the week will tend to have fewer sales than a Thursday or Friday in the lead up to the weekend.

So, if you find yourself having to follow a last-minute booking strategy, ideally book earlier in the day and towards the middle of the week. If not following a strategy, it is still a good idea to get those tickets booked as quickly as you can, whatever the time of day or night!