Homesickness reaches its peak just three weeks into October, research from the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) suggests. Of the approximate 1.7 million journeys made across the entire rail network last year, over 337,000 were made using 16-25 Railcards – a 13% increase on the usual weekly average.

For railcard journeys originating from university towns, the figure was 28% higher than that of a usual week, the only busier time being around Christmas.

The top five cities 16-25-year-olds were travelling from in the third working week of October last week were:

– Exeter, with 64% more journeys than the usual weekly average.

– Durham, up 61%.

– Liverpool, up 52%.

– Bristol, up 45%.

– Birmingham, up 42%.

Freshers’ week must seem like a distant memory, and as the workload starts to build, many decide a trip home is the way to go (travel pun), data suggests.

Andrew Robertson claimed, “It’s interesting to see such a clear spike in Railcard journeys in October.”

“Going to university for the first time can be an exciting but daunting experience for young adults. And our research indicates that for many, the reality of living away from parents can really kick in after just a few weeks.”

He suggested that things like budget constraints, running out of clean clothes or the lack of a home-cooked meal could be a few of the reasons why many students yearn for the comfort of their own bedroom.

“A trip home seems to be just what students need to recharge the batteries after a few hectic weeks at university,” he concluded.