Jess Commons | Deputy Editor | Friday, 19 December 2014

How To Get Yourself Home For Christmas In One Piece

The Debrief: One little train journey and it’s all finally over

The last few weeks have been a nightmare haven’t they? Christmas parties, trying to see every single person you know ‘before the Christmas break’ (why? You’re only away for a week?) and trying to finish everything off at work or uni but now finally, you find yourself teetering on the precipice overlooking a valley of beautiful Christmassy delights. There's just one obstacle left to tackle; getting home.

Here’s your foolproof guide to making it out of here alive.

Get your arse out of bed and leave early
Perhaps the stupidest and most obvious of all pieces of advice, but never underestimate how much time dragging a giant suitcase of all your laundry and ripped clothes you need mum’s sewing skills to remedy will add onto your journey. Plus, whether you were a first class swot and booked your tickets ahead of time or you need to purchase your tickets at the station (hey big spender) you’re still going to need to queue up at the ticket machines, which will be facing likely three times their normal traffic. Also, running for the train in a winter coat and hat? SO not worth the extra time in bed. Get up and out of there.

Buy your train food in the station
Perhaps the most upsetting of all train travel related struggles; realising you don’t have time to sample the salty delights the train station has on offer before you board your train and having to rely on the wares proffered by the onboard shop. Nothing, but nothing will ever repair the damage done by the disappointment of eating a soggy egg and cress sandwich while you mournfully watch the station’s Upper Crust disappear into the distance. It’s a mistake you certainly won’t make twice.

Go incognito
Wearing dark glasses and a low brimmed hat to the station might seem slightly drastic but come this time of year, the chances of you bumping into someone from your home town travelling back on the same train are astronomical. This person's almost definitely not a friend, or you'd have arranged to travel home together anyways. Now, you've got a three hour journey ahead of you with someone you used to once sort of know. Enjoy your slow death by small talk.

Download the National Rail app
Yes we know space on your phone is hard to come by but this app’s invaluable due to the fact that it’ll tell you which platform your train’s going from a few minutes before the information goes up in the board thus allowing you to casually saunter over to the train and pick a seat of your choosing. The alternative; a mass stampede along with 300 other passengers desparate to get a seat doesn’t bear thinking about.

Avoid the table seat
Sure it might be nice to have somewhere to balance your iPad and spread yourself out, but this train’s going to be packed out sister, and the chances of you getting a few mild mannered and well behaved old ladies sitting at your table are slim to none. Instead, get ready to be joined by three lads keen to start Christmas off with a bang with a crate of Strongbow and tales of the ‘total slags’ they spent December trying to shag. Good luck making it past Milton Keynes without one of them cracking on.

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Follow Jess on Twitter @Jess_Commons

Tags: Leaving on a jet plane, Christmas