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Tips for students going home for the holidays


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

As a future college student you may find the prospect of living away from home liberating and exciting. However, you may be more than a little disappointed to learn that many colleges do not allow freshmen to have a car on campus. Whether the restriction is for space, safety or social reasons, the reality is that you will have to find alternate modes of transportation when traveling home for the holidays. Consider the following tips when you make your holiday travel plans.

Carpool with your classmates
You may have learned that other students live in areas near your hometown. Talk to them and see if they have a ride home – it's a great way to make friends and keep your transportation budget in line. Chances are they'd love some company during their drive, and you'd be making a healthy contribution to the environment by carpooling. Just be sure to chip in for gas money and be prompt and ready to leave according to their schedule.

If you have trouble finding a ride to or from your area, talk to someone in the student life office at your school to see if there are any resources that will put you in touch with other students who are carpooling. There are also mobile apps, like Wheeli, that connect you to individuals who might be heading to your same destination. Simply download the app, input your start and end location and the dates you need.

Research public transportation
There's a reason why so many people take buses and trains during the hectic holiday season. They're convenient, relatively inexpensive methods of traveling when you don't have a car or you just don't want to deal with heavy traffic or unpredictable conditions. Most major bus lines make stops in college towns, sometimes even on campus and the discount bus lines like Megabus and BoltBus service major cities. Student discount cards like International Student Identity Card and Student Advantage offer discounts on Amtrak. For the best availability and prices opt for off-peak hours.

Avoid peak travel times
Traffic stinks – and you are sure to run into some heavy traffic as a holiday traveler. However, with flexibility, patience and some research you can avoid some of the travel frustration. Independent Traveler, an online travel resource, named November 22, 23, 27 and 30 the best days to travel for Thanksgiving, while November 24 and 28 are expected to be the most heavily congested. When it comes to winter break, you might want to head home on December 20 or 21, and avoid traveling on Christmas Eve if possible.

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