To Go Home or Not To Go Home: Thanksgiving Travel Stress for Students

By Riley Brennan

The season of thanks is overshadowed by stress for students at the University of Maryland. 

More 55 million travelers are predicted to crowd the roads, sky and public transportation for Thanksgiving travel this year, according to AAA; a daunting number for travelers, especially for UMD students. The university’s Thanksgiving break started the Wednesday before the holiday, giving students limited time to travel home before the holiday. 

The university does not give students a fall break; however, the school’s Thanksgiving recess runs from Wednesday, Nov. 27, to Sunday, Dec. 1. With this narrow of a time frame, students are left to scramble to get home in time for the holiday.

“With a big school like UMD, giving people more time to prioritize and organize would make things less hectic, and give people the opportunity to leave on their own accord, instead rushing them out,” sophomore Jasmine Boykin said. 

According to AAA Newsroom’s report on 2019 Thanksgiving travels, over 49.3 million travelers will take to the roads for the holiday, causing major delays. According to the report, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving was predicted to cause trips to take “as much four times longer as commuters mix with travelers.” 

Boykin, who traveled to Alabama for Thanksgiving, missed her classes the Tuesday before the holiday to travel. “It’s about 12 hours, but it’s probably going to be much worse,” said Boykin of her traveling plans. 

Sophomore Dylan Spilko shared in Boykin’s dismal view of his holiday traveling. Spilko, who takes an Amtrak train to travel home to Long Island, placed little faith in the service.  

“Every Amtrak train that I’ve taken, over half the time, gets delayed,” said Spilko of his traveling experiences. 

Other students, like sophomore Bri Corley, have decided not to go home. Corley, who is from southern Maryland, decided to stay in College Park with her boyfriend, who will also not be traveling home. Corley said she felt bad leaving him by himself for the holiday, and found the length of the break provided by the university to be further motivation to stay put. 

“If he only gets three days off, it’s not worth it,” said Corley of her boyfriend’s drive home of over 21 hours. Corley’s boyfriend is from Houston, and couldn’t justify spending close to two days worth of traveling to spend such little time home. “He has dogs, home responsibilities,” said Corley of other motivations to stay in College Park, and avoid the stress of Thanksgiving travels. 

Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Pixabay.

Riley Brennan is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at rbrenna1@terpmail.umd.edu.

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