Can't get the train? Let coach take the strain
If you can't afford to get there by rail, could the coach take the strain? Some pretty cheap coach and bus fares are being bandied about in the weeks running up to Christmas.
Eurolines, Europe's largest scheduled coach provider, is offering Funfares on routes to Paris, Lille and Amsterdam, allowing people to take a bargain break at some big Christmas markets.
At home, National Express, the UK's largest coach operator, has added about 10,000 extra seats over December 23 and 24, following news that engineering work on the West Coast Main Line could cause big delays for travellers heading home for the festive season.
In Europe, Eurolines' one-way fares (online only) start at £9, while returns cost from £15. These fares are available every day, and must be booked at least four days in advance, by December 10 for travel by December 14.
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Destinations in the sale include Lille, with a market of 80 festive chalets until December 30; Paris, which has 160 authentic chalets lining the Champs-Elysees between the Rond-point and Place de la Concorde; and Amsterdam, with its largest and most colourful market in the Albert Cuypstraat, where you can find seasonal snacks, toys and clothing.
Eurolines' prices include a £4 booking fee per person, and tickets are not refundable or amendable.
Meanwhile, National Express promises additional capacity on routes from London to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Preston.
Coach travellers are guaranteed a seat and it's an ideal mode of transport for those laden with bags of Christmas presents.
For travellers still committed to the railway, the time to book any journeys over Christmas is right now, with November fares promising savings of up to 92 per cent on those likely to be charged for the same journeys in December.
Ian Hildreth, marketing director at thetrainline.com, says: "Last year, travellers saved £3.5 million by booking Christmas train journeys in early November. With cheap advance train tickets for travel in Christmas week already on sale, it makes sense to book now to make the best savings."
Call National Express on 08717 818178 or visit www.nationalexpress.com