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Going home for Christmas

17 December 2019

We are fast approaching the end of your first term and as such we’ve compiled a short list of top tips to check before you head home for Christmas.

  1. Book your travel early

If you haven’t sorted out your travel already, make sure you do it now!

If you’re heading home on the train, remember that the earlier you book, the cheaper the tickets will generally be.

Plan the dates you’ll be travelling (try to be flexible and avoid peak times as much as possible) and reserve yourself a seat as soon as you have a date in mind. You’ll be grateful for the seat when you see people resorting to sitting on bags of presents because it’s so overcrowded!

Most train ticket websites allow you to book up to 12 weeks ahead – and you can save up to 40% depending on where you’re travelling to and from.

  1. Get as much work done as you can before you leave

If you know you have deadlines just after the holidays, try and get as much done as possible before you head home.

No one wants to spend Christmas stressing out about writing essays or revising for exams – and chances are when you’re full up on turkey and Christmas pudding, you won’t be in the mood to work anyway.

Getting ahead means you don’t have to worry that the work won’t be complete, and you can relax and enjoy yourself.

  1. Don’t overpack your suitcase

Bear in mind that you’re only heading back for a few weeks, and there is a washing machine where you’re going. Ask yourself if you really need to take half your wardrobe with you!

You’ll be grateful for this pointer when you’re watching other poor souls dragging their suitcases through a busy train station and trying desperately to cram it onto a rammed coach or train carriage.

Take it from us, train stations close to Christmas are not pretty. The last thing you need is the extra stress of squeezing a massive case onto a busy train. You’ll need space for any presents you want to bring back to university after Christmas, too!

  1. Do your Christmas shopping online

Doing the majority of your Christmas shopping online saves a whole lot of time, effort and space in your suitcase. Just make sure you’re on it ASAP, so that everything you buy is delivered in time for Christmas Day.

You’ll be super grateful for being spared the task of carrying all the presents home, not to mention avoiding the risk of breakages along the way.

An additional bonus is that you won’t be rushing around the shops on Christmas Eve looking for gifts with everyone who left it all to the last minute. Just make sure your parents or siblings aren’t tempted to peek at the parcels before you get there!

If all else fails, you can always resort to rustling up some presents by hand DIY style.

Have a gander at the last order dates for retailers around the UK to make sure your pressies arrive in time for Father Christmas!

  1. Remember to pack all your presents

If you have done some Christmas shopping while at university, don’t forget to pack your presents!

Similarly, buying everything online can get a bit confusing and difficult to keep track of since you won’t see what’s delivered.

Make sure you take note of everything you buy in a gift list, otherwise you’ll end up with double the gifts for granny and nothing for your dejected little sister.

Travelling back to uni just to pick it up is excessive, and mailing it later in the year may be a little expensive. So, in short, remember your gifts!

  1. Make a list of Christmas essentials, check it twice

Make a list of everything you’re taking back home, this will help immensely when it comes to packing your case again.

When you get home and take everything out of your luggage, everything blends in, making it easy to forget what you actually need to take back. But whatever you do, don’t forget your house keys! We’ve all been there.

  1. Empty the fridge

The worst thing you can do is head home for three or four weeks, only to return to milk that’s turned to cheese. Make sure the fridge is completely empty before you go. You’ll thank us for this later!

The fridge will absolutely stink if you don’t, so make sure that you use up those student Christmas dinner leftovers before you head home.

  1. Switch gas and electric off

Just before you leave to go home, make sure everything is turned off. Electrical appliances? Off. Heating/boiler? Off. Kitchen AND bathroom taps? Tightly closed.

And remember, this includes turning things off standby – you might want to unplug everything to be extra sure.

You don’t want to come back to a mass of scary utility bills when no one has even been at home over Christmas, or suffer that wave of panic where you’re 200 miles away but think you’ve left the iron on.

  1. Lock up your flat

Make sure all windows and doors are locked and make sure that everything in your room is locked away safely in the built in safe.

  1. Don’t turn into a slob

For many students, Christmas is the first time they’ll be heading back home since summer – especially if you moved to a uni on the other side of the country.

Try to remember that although your family will be happy to see you, they’ve just gone three months without you living at home, and you’ve probably adapted to living away from them, too.

Make every effort to fall back in line with how your parents expect you to be in their home, and accept that you’ve both probably changed a little during your time away.

  1. Keys, wallet, phone, tickets

Just before you go, double-check you have all your important little bits and pieces, such as your purse or wallet, (the all-important) phone, train tickets and your laptop.

  1. Try to relax and forget about uni

Try to relax and enjoy being back home. Christmas is a lovely time of the year and it’s great to spend that time with your family (if you get the chance).

Don’t worry too much about impending exams or deadlines. If it makes you feel better, set aside a few days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve to go over anything that’s been niggling at you.