Domestic Travel For International Students

The holidays, and therefore traveling season, are coming upon us.  Quickly.

For myself, I will be going home to DC for Thanksgiving a week late so my sister and niece can spend it with her husband and in-laws, and also to avoid holiday traffic since they either drive or take the train from Manhattan generally.  This also means that I can avoid holiday travel, and if you read this post and this one too, you’ll see why that’s a good thing for me, my blood pressure and all those unsuspecting and innocent bystanders that are my fellow travelers in the airport.

Though I loathe doing so, I will be driving out to DC on 12/16 after my internship at OCLC ends, spending a few days with my boyfriend who lives there, spending the Christmas holiday with my family, and then driving back to Columbus the day after Christmas with my boyfriend; he will then spend a whole week with me in Columbus all the way through New Year’s and fly back to DC the day after.  It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly, even with the 6.5 hour drive taken into consideration.  I consider myself lucky.  I have a colleague who is considering driving back to South Dakota for Christmas and that is a 13 hour drive at the least, not even factoring in inclement weather.  Best of luck to you, Eric!

But what about all of our international friends whose homes and family are far far away?  Thinking about the holiday travel made me revisit some of the holiday plans that my international colleagues made and were kind enough to invite me to.  Like I said before, their homes are far away and traveling back to Asia or Turkey or wherever else can be difficult considering the short amount of time they have and the prohibitive costs.  When my family goes to Taiwan, we try and stay at least a week, preferably 10 days, and the plane tickets cost at least $1000.  Not exactly grad student friendly, is it?

So last year, I know that a bunch of the international students went to or considered some domestic destinations during our winter and spring breaks.  These destinations included:

Orlando – flights starting at $190

NYC – flights starting at $333

DC – flights starting at $199

Chicago – flights starting at $148 (on Southwest, flying to Midway.  Midway is less congested than O’Hare); Round trip bus fare on Megabus starting at $50

I’ve listed the current prices from Travelocity, Southwest and Megabus.

If you haven’t heard of Megabus, it is a double decker luxury bus with wi-fi, comfortable seats and one stop in Indianapolis.  Picks you up in Downtown Columbus, drops you off in Downtown Chicago.  Great deal and I’ve done it a couple of times!  It also doesn’t take much longer than a normal drive to Chicago, even with the stop.

The flights are priced assuming departure on Friday 12/9 and a return on Tuesday 12/13.  Flights tend to be cheaper with a weekday stay.  And if I’ve learned anything from the Traveling Gnome, Tim Gunn and the woman who looks like Milla Jovovich but isn’t, it’s that you save money by booking your flight and hotel together.

So even if you aren’t an international student, you can still use this as a guide to kick off your winter break excursion.  Enjoy and safe travels!

Travelocity's Traveling Gnome (all rights reserved)