A decent commute makes us happier than having sex – but can you afford these fares?

Recent figures show that many popular commuter routes and rents combined are fast becoming too expensive for us to afford

(Image credit: Getty)

Oh, the joys of commuting. The rammed trains that are too hot or too cold, and that come late. The joy of standing up for a whole hour, having paid thousands for the privilege. In fact, a lifetime of commuting costs more than a lifetime of holidays. That's quite a thought. 

It was also once thought that lower rents and bigger homes were worth the hassle of spending more on train tickets – and over an hour each day commuting into a bigger city – but recent figures* show that this may no longer be the case for many popular commuter destinations.

Thinking of commuting into London from Oxford? Prepare to fork out an eye-watering £5,256 for an annual season ticket. This has gone up in price by £159 in the last year alone. Add to that Oxford's average annual rent of £16,392 and you have yourself the most expensive commute to London imaginable. 

Guildford and Brighton also will cost those commuting into London over £20,000 each when train and rent costs are combined – even though both have seen rent reductions in the past year, annual train fares between these two cities and London have gone up by as much as £200. 

If you live in Bath but commute into Bristol, your overall costs will be just over £17,000, with the majority of that spent on rent. The annual train journey costs might seem reasonable in comparison with somewhere like Oxford, costing £1,688, but it might seem less so when we take into account that the journey time between Bath and Bristol is just 17 minutes. 

Nor is this situation limited to the south and west of England. If you're thinking about commuting from Leeds to York, your annual season ticket will set you back a crazy £2,384, on top of annual rents of over £12,000. 

Numerous studies have shown that people are always happier when their commute is short (15 to 30 minutes each way) – by some estimates, not spending ages on a train makes us happier than having sex (though that doesn't say much for the sex). Maybe time to reconsider your commuting schedule? Or your partner...

*Gov.uk and National Rail data compiled by Ideal Flatmate

Anna is a professional writer with many years of experience. She has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. She covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.