Everything you could buy with the money you spend on a train from London to Leeds
A down payment on a ten-bedroom house, probably
Recently, the story of two uni friends who found it cheaper to meet up in Spain than to buy return tickets between Newcastle and Birmingham went viral. As a Northerner with a railcard and two personal taxi drivers disguised as a cousin and a brother, I was horrified to discover how far back a single ticket home can set the average Londoner. At fifty-two pounds for a single (and you can’t exactly just stay at home forever, can you?), there are a million better ways for you to spend your money than on a trip home for a weekend of mummy’s cooking.
Eight tickets to Donuts
You can tell me this isn’t an appealing statistic all you like, but we all know you’re a liar. The slow descent into pure Donuts addiction is a Leeds rite of passage, and for forty-eight pounds (booking fee excluded), you could spend every Thursday for two months straight in the Faversham, dancing the night away to that eclectic mix of Lose Yourself and Gettin’ Jiggy With It that no-one can resist. That’s something insane like thirty-six hours of Donuts, more than any mere mortal deserves to experience. And, if that isn’t good enough news, with your four pounds change you can even stop by the bar on one such evening and treat yourself to a couple of shots to wash down that Sainsbury’s own brand rosé you chugged at pres. Definitely beats sitting on a draughty train for two hours.
A flight to Brussels
My next-door neighbour and five friends are jetting off today for a weekend in Brussels, and the return flights (yep, they even get to come back to Leeds) cost them £16.50 each. You read that right, you could save thirty-four pounds and fifty pence, skip South London and head to continental Europe instead. The beers are cheaper, the people are happier, and it’s the perfect chance to make some memories with your Yorkshire friends whose trains home cost a fiver on a bad day. The only memories you get to make on the train down to London are of that time you hauled your overflowing laundry bag two hundred miles down the country, only for it explode on the Tube platform. No contest: your dog can wait until Easter to see you, and you can get yourself a nice slice of culture in the meantime.
An actual, live kitten (unsure why you’d want a dead one)
If you’re willing to spend fifty quid on a train ticket, I’m going to assume you’re feeling a little bit lonely. Enter Pets for Sale in Bradford & Leeds, an amazing Facebook group where you can get yourself approximately two-and-a-half kittens for the same price as a jaunt down to London; the Internet never ceases to amaze me. There are dozens of pets available on the group, but the most popular offering appears to be twenty pound kittens (that’s twenty Stirling pounds… how much do kittens weigh?) in a variety of breeds. Forget poor Fido, sleeping loyally on your bed every night as he waits for you to return home – these tiny kittens can easily be hidden from the eyes of nosy landlords, and will give you all the affection you could ever need. They’ll be running the mean streets of Hyde Park before you know it.
More vodka than you could possibly drink
I’m aware that exams have only just finished, and perhaps I’m underestimating how badly they went for you, but this wholesale website will sell you six thirty-five centilitre bottles of Absolut vodka for a glorious £47.99. If that isn’t a deal worth dying of alcohol poisoning for, I’m not sure what is. Why go home for the weekend and cry on your mum’s shoulder when you could become the favourite housemate and lose all recollection of that abysmal Biology exam in one fell swoop? It’s a no-brainer, and you can get it delivered direct to your door. I’m not saying you’d regret going to visit your parents instead of getting on the sesh, but you would.
An acre of land on the moon
It’s amazing, isn’t it? Current students aren’t expected to own property until we’re thirty-nine years old, but from a bargainous £19.75 (they boast that it gets cheaper the more you buy) you can become the proud owner of an acre of moon. I’m not sure what you’d do with it – unless your degree is some sort of Astrophysics-y situation, you probably don’t even know how to get to it – but it’s better than nothing, I suppose. And, more importantly, it’s a whole thirty quid cheaper than a trip home. Imagine how proud your parents are going to be when you tell them you’ve invested in real estate.
So there you have it: the hilarity of our privatised rail service. To make matters worse, you could fly to Heathrow tomorrow (and get there an hour quicker than your train to King’s Cross) for just six pounds more, and you’d be guaranteed a seat. Happy travelling, Southern friends.
Photos by: Elliot Young