Tips for the College Traveler
In college your young, restless, and ready to explore. Unfortunately, at times, exploring can be expensive, difficult, and frustrating. Here to bridge those few gaps is some friendly advice.
1: Plan Ahead
If you know you want to travel for spring break, figure it out way in advance; other people are going to be figuring it out too and plane and hostel prices are only going to go up. Besides, your favorite people might be making plans. Bite the bullet and try to herd your friends in advance. It sucks, but it’s not like it’s going to get easier by postponing it.
2: No Taxi
Taxis are rentable friends with cars. Your friends with cars will offer you a much better rate, usually between “gas money” and “gas money+ a six pack” depending on how long the drive is or how early they have to wake up. Save that money for the sandwich you’ll bring on the plane and the three crazy expensive beers you’ll get at the bars after.
3: Road Trips are great…
Road trips, along with whiskey and hamburgers, are the American dream. It forces you to travel the country, letting you see sites with friends, building friendships and stories all while saving more money to do cool stuff along the road. If you haven’t at least tried to go on a road trip, you’re missing out.
4: But be realistic.
You’re going to have people so excited by the allure of the road trip that they forget all the problems. They’ll assume, well driving ten hours a day- that won’t drive anyone crazy. Gas is cheaper in other states, they might assume. Or you can just sleep in the car; no need for an expensive motel room. And you can find a place to park the car for cheap, right?
Maybe. But also maybe not. If you have four other friends and a car that wants to go from Boston, do it. If you and some California friends want to go to Vegas or San-Francisco, obviously skip the plane. But if you find yourself saying things like “we can drive 24 hours if we all take shifts” or “we can make our own cheaper gasoline” as ways to save twenty bucks, consider another mode of travel.
Similarly: the first hour of the road-trip is fun, the driving hour surrounding lunch (the fifteen minutes of looking forward to it and the forty-five after) is fun and the last thirty minutes before your destination is fun. That leaves two and a half hours of fun driving with friends. If you’re planning for anything more than six, you’re going to go from “sometimes fun, sometimes not” to “miserable, but we’re saving money?” If you’re not saving money past the six-hour mark, forget driving. Past the ten hour mark, you better be saving a bunch.
5: No pressure
Travel and adventures are fun, but they aren’t magic. You aren’t magically going to get laid every night in Texas if you wouldn’t in D.C., and yeah, you and your friends will probably spend some time hanging out, bored or hungover trying to think of stuff to do. If you can handle those down-times between adventures, go for it, and you’ll find there’s more adventure than boredom. If you think that any rest is a failure, you’re going to have a bad time.
These are all some basic tips to help make sure your adventure is put together well. On that note I have one last tip that doubles as an endorsement.
6: Fly Virgin Air
One last tiny plug; in a field full of bad experiences, I’ve never had a bad experience flying Virgin air. It’s always on time, the on-plane food is oddly good, there’s always a power-cord, and lastly, you can play video-games on it for free.