How to beat the ticket touts

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Nobody likes to pay over the odds for a ticket they know is worth a third of the price but ticket touts still do a roaring trade by preying on desperate gig, festival and theatre goers. It doesn't have to be that way - avoid getting stung by exorbitant prices with these tips for beating the ticket touts.

Beat ticket touts

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Ticket alerts
If you are a regular theatre-goer or music-lover, it is worth signing up for ticket alerts from some of the big-name sites. Ticketline, Ticketmaster and Seetickets all provide such a service, enabling you to get in quick when tickets for new shows, gigs or festivals become available.

Similarly, if you are desperate to see your favourite artist or band but repeatedly miss out on those tour dates, join their website and register for email updates. Some will charge to become a member of their fan club but in many cases, you'll be offered the chance to grab tickets before they go on general release - and given that sought-after tickets often sell out in minutes, it'll ultimately save you a pretty penny when you don't have to pay the tout's high prices.

A host of venues, including the O2 Arena and Brixton Academy, also offer email alerts so it's always worth checking in case presale tickets are available.

Sold out
Even when your tickets of choice appear to be sold out, there are still options to try before raiding your bank account. First of all, double check that tickets aren't available from other agents - you'd be amazed how many people use one site and give up when their tickets are gone.

And if you're desperate to get your hands on a ticket it may be worth travelling to a venue further away. Booking a night at a nearby Travelodge might seem like an unnecessary expense but it's still cheaper than lining those touts' pockets.

Theatregoers should definitely check out packages - websites such as www.london-discount-theatre.com and www.superbreak.com often have ticket packages that include either dinner or a night in a hotel so why not make a proper night of it and get your hands on that all-important ticket into the bargain.

Ethical sites
Thankfully, there are fans out there who DON'T want to see their fellow music-lovers ripped off - and for those that have been lucky enough to buy a ticket but unlucky to find they can't go, sites such as www.scarletmist.co.uk and www.stoptout.com allow fans to sell tickets at face value. So don't let the touts have your hard-earned cash - hit them where it hurts and get your tickets elsewhere.

Have you got any tips on how to beat the touts? Leave your comments below...