By Christina Armeni
It’s officially December, which means Starbucks now serves festive cups, finals are right around the corner and we get to go home for the holidays. Most students at the University of Maryland have a short drive to their house, while the rest are out-of-state students who have a bit more complicated travel plan. Here are a few tips for students to make traveling home less painful for you and your bank account.
- Take Advantage of University Transportation
Expenses quickly add up for out-of-state college students traveling home. Every time the holidays come around, you have to pay for your flight, train ride or bus ride. Most universities do what they can to lessen the financial burden of traveling. The University of Maryland offers free bus rides to the Baltimore-Washington Airport and bus rides to New York and New Jersey for $60 round trip.
- Split the Fare
There are plenty of students who need to get to the airport or train station. If the university transportation options don’t work for you, find a friend to split an uber with. It will make a big difference. You can also take advantage of UberPOOL, which allows you to split the fare with passengers heading in the same direction as you. If you choose this option, leave plenty of travel time in your schedule, as the driver may have to drop off other passengers on the way.
- Be Early!
Whether you are going to a train station or a bus stop or an airport, make sure you arrive early. If you are flying home, make sure to get to the airport at least an hour early (if not more). This is a big one. There could be a huge line at security, you could forget a water bottle in your carry-on, or maybe a flock of birds is disrupting departures. Anything and everything can and does go wrong at the airport. It’s best to play it safe and allow yourself adequate time to handle the chaos that is an airport. They say you’re either early to your flight or late, for some reason it’s hard to master getting the timing just right. So it’s better to be early than miss your flight and be forced to have a long conversation with the people at the flight desk. Get there early, grab yourself a well-deserved Cinnabon and relax.
- Don’t Overpack
Traveling is stressful. The more you have to lug around, the worse traveling becomes. Less is more. Remind yourself that you are going home. Most of the things you need will be there! Plus, you will save a lot of money on baggage if you fit everything in a carry on. Once you have packed, see if you can take out half of the items. Remember, when it comes to traveling, yes, you can have too many pairs of shoes.
- Plan Ahead and Don’t be Afraid to go Deal Hunting!
With anything you do that involves traveling, the earlier the better. If you find yourself buying a plane ticket home the night before, you will definitely break the bank. Go hunting online for the best deal you can find as early as possible. Don’t just accept the price you find on the airline’s website. Check the prices on travel sites like Kayak and Expedia. It may save you some extra Christmas spending money!
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Facebook page.
Christina Armeni is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.