With finals season picking up fast, students nation-wide are making travel plans to get home for their winter breaks and holiday seasons. For many, this is the first time they will travel the distance alone, so it is important to heed advice from seasoned travelers who know how to make this process easy and stress-free. Blue-prynt has gathered some tips from University of Maryland students who live all over the country about their favorite ways to travel.
“I know it can get pricey, but if you book it far enough in advance, it isn’t too bad. I really like to take the train because it is so easy to get to and from Penn Station from my house and the train stops ten minutes away from campus. From there, I either take an Uber back to campus or have a friend pick me up.”
Similarly, Noa Klein, another UMD senior, chooses to fly to and from her home in NYC. Some would argue that it is too close to fly, but Klein would much rather take a plane than a train or a car. She finds ease in the simplicity of flying.
“A majority of the time it ends up being a lot cheaper. I also love airports and train stations make me anxious because you don’t have a guaranteed seat, so you have to run all over the train trying to find one.”
Samantha Rosen doesn’t have the luxury of choice. Hailing from Miami, Florida, Rosen chose to come to UMD to get away from home and have a new experience all to herself. She flies from Washington D.C. to Miami every time she needs to get home.
“I always choose to fly American when it is available because it’s super easy to switch flights at the the last minute if I decide I want to go home or return to school at a different time. They’re extremely helpful and have great customer service most of the time. The only downside is the pricing, so I have learned how to be on top of my game with scheduling so I can plan my flights way ahead of time so they don’t get too expensive.”
In my opinion, living in South Jersey, my favorite way to get home is to drive. I’ve taken both the Amtrak train and the MegaBus before, but driving is my favorite mode of transport. I’ve had the luxury of having my car on campus since my sophomore year and love having it, not only to drive around nearby, but to get home with ease. I have mastered the drive and know exactly when to leave so I don’t hit traffic. While I do have to pay to park my car, before at my sorority house and now at my apartment complex, and I have to pay for gas, I believe that this has been cheaper than other modes of transportation would be. The flexibility is ideal which makes planning my schedule super easy. Knowing I don’t have to depend on prices, schedules, or other people has worked really well for me.
Many universities will provide transportation for its students. For example, UMD has a bus that stops in both New Jersey and New York to transport out-of-state students home for break. A one-way ticket is 35 dollars and a round-trip ticket is 60 dollars. Inquiring about what your school has to offer is crucial because you never know what you might find.
Parents, it is important to be helpful and understanding when your students are traveling for the first time. They may have a lot of questions or need help booking tickets, so this is the perfect opportunity for you to get involved and teach them something new.
Essentially, the key to a safe and efficient trip home for the holidays is planning. Make sure you have a game-plan ahead of time and be patient with public transportation during this time of year. Traffic will likely be heavy, so if you choose to drive, take it slow and be sure to give yourself plenty of time for the trip. Across the board, students will have different opinions on how they like to travel, and these opinions may change throughout their college experiences. Practice does make perfect, and in time, students will be traveling with ease.
*Disclaimer: all students quoted in this article are friends of the author.