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Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 28 March, 2020

'I'm grateful for the headspace’: 7 people with short and long commutes share how their journeys work for them

‘I made the trade-off for a nicer, quieter, cheaper apartment.’

Image: Shutterstock/XiXinXing

FOR MANY ADULTS, commuting might rack up hours of your week, and finding the right length commute can be the key to your quality of life.

Living close to an urban area, or close to where your work is located, cuts down on your commute but might come with certain costs, like louder noise, smaller living spaces and less choice in properties. Alternatively, living further away from work can give you more space – both inside and out – but might have you on a train or bus for a lot longer each day. 

If you’re in the market for a new home, considering the commuting time for yourself and your family will be a large part of your choice. But how do you decide what length commute is right for you? 

Everyone has different priorities when it comes to location and commuting distance from work. Some people prefer green space and countryside and will therefore sacrifice an hour each way into a city. Others prefer to skip the commute and make sacrifices in their house or apartment space to stay closer to their work. 

These eight commuters – traveling ten minutes to an hour each way – share how they weighed their housing decisions and commuting options to maximise their own quality of life. 

I gradually got used to the commute: I commute from Rush to Beaumont four days a week, which takes me anywhere between 40 minutes to an hour in the morning and evening. I occasionally work weekends and it’s less than 25 minutes then. The commute is fine, but you can get stuck behind a tractor which can add to the delay.

I travel alone and by car as there is no direct public link to where I work from Rush. I could get a bus and walk but this would take me twice as long. I used to live a lot closer, but we are in Rush nearly nine years now. While the commute was an issue for me when we initially moved (we almost moved back in closer to town because of it), I gradually got used to it. The opening of a third lane on the M1 helped with that. The much lower rent at the time meant it was financially worthwhile, and now we have bought a house out there and have no view of moving.

- Peter

I made the trade-off for a nicer, quieter, cheaper apartment: My commute consists of one single Luas journey from James’s to The Point, topped and tailed by a 3/4 minute walk, so when the timing is right I can actually get from door-to-door in 30 minutes. My schedule is flexible but mostly I work from 8am to 4pm, avoiding rush hour on the Luas.

Moving to this place actually increased my commute time as I previously lived in an apartment in the city centre, but the trade-off for living in a quieter, nicer, cheaper apartment in Kilmainham was only an extra 15 minutes on the same Luas. 

I also moved from living alone in my own space in the city to sharing with two friends, which isn’t the easiest transition to make in your 30s, but one that has been more than beneficial, both financially and for my health, I think. I know quite a few people who are moving further out of Dublin city and county for a bit of peace and green spaces, as well as cheaper costs. They seem to think the tradeoff with a commute is worth it, and I could see myself moving and increasing my commute in the future (although, admittedly, I’d like it to still consist of just getting on the one Luas or bus).

- David

shutterstock_752347744 Source: Shutterstock/DGLimages

I often think about how different life would be if I was in traffic for two hours a day: I live in Galway and one of the hardest parts about moving up from Dublin was figuring out where to live and finding a place. Looking at rental properties online I only found one place that I thought looked nice, but in Galway traffic would be over an hour commute to the hospital. Myself and my partner came up to view it, and even though it was a nice place, it would have meant a lot of car time and not a great quality of life. We were incredibly lucky to hear about the apartment we now live in, and definitely one of the things that attracted us was the central location. I have a ten minute drive to work – I definitely could walk it if I didn’t need to have my car during the day (and rainy Galway weather is another factor!). It’s absolutely amazing to be able to get up at 8am, leave by 8.50 and be in the hospital by 9am. I often think about how different life here would be if I was in traffic for two hours a day and I thank my lucky stars we found this place!

- Roisin

By Friday evening, we were fit for nothing except the couch: We used to commute from Limerick to Kildare, which was about an hour and a half drive each way. While it could’ve been worse – we were lucky to have motorway door-to-door – we still found the cumulative effect of the travel very wearing. By Friday evening, we were fit for nothing except the couch and an early night, which really affected our social life, family time and general health. Since moving to Limerick, that’s all changed. We now in Limerick city, and our commute is about ten minutes by car or a brisk forty-minute walk in the summer. We miss living so close to Dublin, with all its attractions, but for us, the quality of life in Limerick is better. 

- Rachael

I’m grateful for the headspace that I can have on my commute: I love where I live in Greystones and I like my job, so that makes commuting a bit easier I think. I’m lucky to have pretty good public transport options for my commute, as I think that driving every day would be far more stressful. I see my commute time as “alone” time, away from my busy home life and work. I read a lot of online news and listen to lots of podcasts and I definitely wouldn’t have this type of time to indulge my interest in keeping up with the news without my commute. I try as much as I can not to get into my work emails or work messages while commuting, otherwise my work day would stretch to 9 or 10 hours a day. When work is particularly busy, I’m grateful for the headspace that I can have on my commute before I get home to the onslaught of home and family!

- Sinead 

The only thing I do miss is the bit of exercise: I commute from Leixlip to the city centre Monday to Friday. It takes around 50 minutes on the express bus that I can get from the top of my road. Currently, I’m living in my mam’s home with my fiancé as we are saving for a house. We used to rent in Dublin 8 and my commute to work was only a 20 minute walk, so it was a bit of an adjustment at the start having to get up earlier.

We are both well used to it now and have a good few options when it comes to getting to work. I actually don’t mind the 50 mins journey because I can just listen to music and catch up on social media on my way home, it gives me a chance to wind down after work and just have some me-time. I also like it because I can do some life admin on the way! The only thing I do miss is the bit of exercise, as the bus pretty much picks me up and drops me off to my door, so unless I go for a walk on lunch or in the evenings, I feel a bit static.

- Fiona

shutterstock_689496949 Source: Shutterstock/William Perugini

The move has allowed us to save over 300km of driving: Due to the prices of houses and what we could afford, we moved into a three-bedroom, three-bathroom detached house in a commuter town outside Dublin. We loved the time we spent living there, but my commute was typically 45-50 minutes with traffic, and facing the M1 and M50 on a daily basis was a challenge.

We are both heavily involved in our basketball club, and between the two of us we had nine sessions to attend each week. Most evenings we would get home, have dinner and be back in our cars by 7pm to get in to the city to attend our basketball separate sessions, which meant taking two cars. Driving home late at night on country roads was a challenge and then knowing we had to do it all again the next day was getting the better of us.

We are now living in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment closer to the city and life is easier for the most part. Downsizing from the house to an apartment has had its challenges. When making our decision to move we calculated the distances we were both travelling on a weekly basis and the move has allowed us to save over 300km of driving, which allows us more time for the important stuff – like sleeping, eating and being with friends and family.  

- Laura

I’ve only missed my stop due to a deep sleep once: My commute isn’t as long as others. It’s a maximum of 23 minutes on an off-peak train journey along scenic North County Dublin. I used to work in Dublin 4, with a daily commute of around four hours, so this isn’t so bad. I use the train time to catch a precious few moments to myself. I listen to podcasts, radio, and enjoy the beautiful scenery from the most stunning train platform in Ireland. As commutes go, it’s not the worst. I’m so used to public transport at this stage, I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat – and I’ve only missed my stop due to a deep sleep once! 

- Caitriona 

Ready for a commute – and a new home – that suits your needs? Find out how much you could borrow and what your repayments would be with the handy KBC mortgage calculatorFind your nearest KBC hub or chat to us today.

Lending Criteria, Terms & Conditions Apply. Security and Insurance are required. The maximum mortgage balance is 90% of the property value. Max loan amount will typically not exceed 3.5 times an individual’s gross annual income. KBC Bank Ireland plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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