Top tips for travelling with Avanti West Coast this Christmas

Avanti train blog author avanti team

Written by Steve from our web team

8 min read | 19 October 2023

A family day out at Winter Wonderland, heading to a Christmas party with friends or going home for the holidays. All of these journeys are what make this time of year so exciting.

Making these trips by train and travelling home for the holiday means you can sit back, relax and soak up all the festive spirit.

The Avanti West Coast team will be working hard during this time to keep our train journeys running smoothly. However, it is a busy period for everyone.

To help you get to your final festive destination, we’ve put together some helpful tips for travelling by train at Christmas.

Family at Christmas Market

10 Tips for travelling with Avanti West Coast this Christmas

Find the best ticket fares, climb aboard and snuggle into your seat with a hot chocolate and some festive tunes. Follow our 10 top tips to make sure your Christmas train journey is as smooth and affordable as possible.

1. Book early: Save on train tickets this Christmas. Get up to 42% off the ticket price when you book eight weeks in advance or up to 70% when you book 12 weeks in advance! The earlier you buy your tickets, the more you can save.

2. Sign up for Ticket Alerts: Be the first to know when tickets for your festive journeys go on sale. If you’re travelling during the festive period the majority of tickets have now been released. However, if you are travelling in January please setup a ticket alert to get notified when tickets are released.

3. Avoid travelling during peak times: We advise you to travel as early in the day as possible to enjoy a comfortable journey. Trains are likely to be very busy during this period, with passengers travelling across the UK the week before Christmas. Take advantage of our Seat Picker to secure your perfect seat, don’t miss out.

4. Book Passenger Assistance: By letting us know your travel requirements in advance, we can help make sure you have a hassle-free journey. Either book online via ‘My Bookings’, use the Transreport App on an Apple or Android device, or call 0345 528 0253 and select option 3. We're open 24 hours a day, Monday to Sunday.

5. Feast with Click & Collect: What’s Christmas without a few treats? There’s plenty to enjoy on an Avanti train, whether you need a lunch for the journey home or want to warm up with a hot chocolate after a day out. Use our Click & Collect service to order delicious food and drink from your seat.

6. Take advantage of discounts: Discounts are available all year round. So don’t forget to take advantage of them at Christmas! If you’ve got a Railcard, you enjoy up to a third off your fares. Heading home with children aged 5 to 15? Buying a Family ticket can help you save. Group tickets will also give you a discount if you’re heading on a day trip with three or more people.

7. Stay informed with Journey Alerts: If there are any changes to your trip, be the first to know by signing up for our Journey Alerts. Depending on what you prefer, we can send you an email or SMS to update you.

8. Join Club Avanti: Get 10% off your next journey when you join Club Avanti. You’ll also get rewards like 10% off food and beverages, a free hot drink and free train tickets. Christmas has come early!

9. Treat yourself to an upgrade: Say cheers to the festive season with a glass of fizz in First Class. Enjoy relaxing in the station lounge as you wait for your train. Then, settle into your seat with extra legroom and tuck into a feast of complimentary food and drink. Just call it an early Christmas present to yourself ! Alternatively, you can upgrade to Standard Premium from £15 (prices may vary dependant on journey) which means extra room doesn’t need to cost a lot.

10. Book via Avanti West Coast: This festive period, ensure you book directly with us to get the best ticket prices. Or, if you download the Avanti West Coast app, you can plan your journeys easily and store your tickets in one place.

Things to remember when travelling this Christmas

Everyone wants to enjoy the holidays, including the Avanti West Coast team. So here are a few things to remember when planning your festive journeys:

  • All Avanti West Coast services from Friday 22 December to Sunday 7 January inclusive are Off-Peak
  • Trains are likely to be very busy across the Christmas period
  • There will be no trains on Monday 25 December and Tuesday 26 December
  • Train services are likely to finish early on Sunday 24 December and Sunday 31 December

To enjoy a smooth trip home or on your festive day out, make sure you plan ahead for your journeys this Christmas.

Christmas decorations

8 great hacks for travelling at Christmas

Whichever part of the UK you’re heading to over the holidays, here are eight hacks to make your journey as relaxing as possible.

1. Double-check travel info: Before you head to the station, take a look at the live travel information for your journey. That way, you’ll know of any changes before you get there.

2. Arrive early: Leaving plenty of time to get to the station means you can relax on your journey. Check the departures board, find your platform and even enjoy a sneaky mince pie while you wait for your train.

3. Pack light: You’ll no doubt want to pack as many presents as possible for your trip home. If you’re hopping on and off services though, it’s probably best to take as small a bag as possible. This will make your luggage easier to carry and fit in the luggage racks, even if the service is busier than usual.

4. Wear comfy clothes: Layers are key to staying at the right temperature when you’re hopping from platform to train. Plus, comfy shoes make it easier to walk through the station with your case in hand. Naturally, Santa hats and Christmas jumpers are encouraged!

5. Before travelling, make sure your phone or other devices are fully charged for your journey: This means you can access your tickets and the free onboard WiFi as soon as you board your train. Don’t forget to pack your chargers somewhere you can get to easily. There are lots of charging points on Avanti West Coast trains, so you can grab your cable and plug in as soon as your device runs low. 

6. Carry cash: Having a small amount of cash on hand is always useful. This way, you’ve got some backup funds in case a card reader isn’t working or a market stall doesn’t accept cards. Plus, if you need to buy a last-minute Christmas gift or want to add something to a charity box, you can.

7. Christmas is a time for friends and family: Pack a festive picnic full of everyone’s favourite treats. Take a Christmas colouring book or game for the kids to play at your table seat. Encourage your mates to dress up in their best seasonal outfits. Create a Christmas playlist with everyone’s favourite festive sounds (though make sure they’ve packed their headphones). Or go old school and bring some cards or travel board games. If you’re travelling solo, make sure you download your favourite festive films or playlists onto your device before your travel. This means you can get into the spirit of the season without wasting your data!

8. Don’t forget the presents: Last but not least, don’t forget those special gifts you have bought for your family and friends. Wrap any fragile objects in your jumpers or fluffy socks and put them in the middle of your bag to give them extra protection. To avoid your gifts coming out crinkled, wrap them in colourful fabric rather than paper. It looks great, won’t get crumpled and is also more sustainable. And if you’ve forgotten something, all is not lost. You can do last-minute Christmas shopping on the free onboard WiFi.

Download your favourite film or playlist in advance

There’s nothing like settling down to a festive film or playlist. You don’t need to wait till your final destination just make sure to download your favourites before travelling. Sit back and relax, you can soon be hearing jingle bells, doing some last-minute Christmas shopping, or even checking your train’s progress.

Top 5 Christmas Films to download at home and watch whilst travelling

Whether you want a sing-along, to laugh out loud, or to lose yourself in a festive fairytale, Christmas films always make travelling fly by. Here are some recommendations of our favourite family Christmas films for you to enjoy as you travel with us.

  • The Muppet Christmas Carol: Full of festive fun and music, kids and adults alike will love this retelling of Charles Dickens’s classic story
  • Polar Express: It might be cold outside, but this heartwarming story will keep you enchanted for your whole journey
  • Elf: With an all-star cast, this story of Buddy discovering New York City is a favourite with both adults and little ones
  • The Santa Clause: An unfortunate accident leads to plenty of festive fun and mishaps in this American comedy
  • Miracle on 34th Street: Family, toys, and Santa Claus himself, this classic film has everything you could hope for
Christmas market stall 

Travel safely and comfortably this Christmas with Avanti West Coast

Get into the festive spirit when you travel with Avanti West Coast's delicious food and drink, free WiFi and smooth, comfortable service. Whatever trip you’re making this holiday season, the whole Avanti West Coast team wishes you and your loved ones happy holidays and a Merry Christmas.