traveling

How To Spend Your School Vacations Right!

August 28, 2015 in Campus Life, Travel

College Spring Break

College Spring Break

Like most college students, University of Rhode Island Rams are excited for spring break, Thanksgiving break, and just about any excuse to have off from school. Most students will travel home during breaks, but some will choose to travel with their friends. At URI, students usually travel to Mexico for spring break or even Florida (if they’re over 21). Whatever the destination may be, traveling during breaks seems to be a must. In addition to the destination, transportation is just as important. Please be reminded that URI is in the middle of nowhere and is sometimes a hassle to travel to and from. This is true for a lot of universities therefore planning ahead of time is really important. There’s nothing worse than getting stuck with a horrible seat or even traveling at an unreasonable time because you waited too long to book your traveling arrangements.

This spring break, students will be traveling to Mexico (most likely) with other college students. This includes students from URI, but also from 10-20 other colleges and universities. From personal experience, if you have not had the opportunity to go on one of these spring break trips…DO IT! You won’t ever get the chance to sit by the beach with hundreds of other college students, soak up the sun, and drink yourself into a week of unforgettable memories. It’s not always fun and games, but if you go with a good group of people and are there to enjoy yourself (be prepared to get five hours of sleep total), you’ll have a blast.

Habitat for Humanity Alternative Spring Break

Habitat for Humanity Alternative Spring Break

There is also an alternative spring break option for most students at colleges and universities, which I do not think is taken advantage of. Sometimes programs like Habitat for Humanity host alternative spring breaks where they bring groups of students to areas around the United States and build homes and/or schools for underprivileged families and communities. I think this traveling option is productive and a great way to get involved in and around the community. Besides, if you choose to travel somewhere else in the US, you won’t technically be going home. Isn’t that what school vacations are all about?

For other students who are just traveling home for breaks, make sure you purchase your plane, train, or bus tickets in advance. I’ve heard of people waiting until the last minute to purchase tickets and they’ve either missed out on going home or have had to pay a ridiculous amount of money just to get home. Know your exam/work schedule well in advanced in order to book your tickets. Luckily for us Rhody Rams, the Amtrak is a five minute drive from campus. These trains go to just about anywhere and are a convenient way to travel home. Public buses area also available on campus and travel to the city of Providence multiple times a day. The best piece of advice I have for students trying to travel home during breaks, is to book their tickets and reservations a few weeks or even months ahead!

Traveling while your in college is a great time to explore and learn about yourself and others. As much as I encourage people to study abroad, if some are unable to, traveling during school vacations is a great idea. We are lucky enough to have breaks that range from two weeks to five weeks during Christmas time, therefore we must take advantage of it all. Whether its going to Florida and having some fun at pool parties or going to Cancun with the rest of your university, traveling during breaks is a great idea and should be enjoyed by all college students!

Vacations: Think Small, Not Big

August 7, 2014 in Alive Campus, Travel

Road Trip

Road Trip

One question I’ll ask myself again and again when I see Facebook pictures of people vacationing in London or the Bahamas is: how the hell can they afford that?

My family is probably on the lower end of the middle class. We haven’t gone on a big vacation since I was in Kindergarten, and we went to Disney World. I know how hard my parents work, and I’m content with not having any fancy vacations. In fact, some of the best vacations I’ve been on are the low budget, and closer to home ones. In middle school, I stayed in my Uncle’s cabin in Maine for a week or two with my cousins, and I’d definitely go back.

This summer, my friends and I decided to stay at my friend’s aunt’s house in South Yarmouth in Cape Cod for a few days. Only two of us could make it, but our low expectations for the weekend allowed more room for fun. My friend Michael and I had decided to drive up on Fourth of July morning. Keep in mind that there was supposed to be bad weather that weekend, and possibly a hurricane. Despite that, we got in Michael’s car and left. It started off fine, but then there were torrential downpours, relentlessly covering the windshield. I screamed at Michael to pull over, but he refused, saying people wouldn’t be able to see us, and we’d get hit. Anyhow, we went slow, the rain eventually cleared up, and we made it mostly in one piece.

“Look what the cat dragged in,” Elizabeth’s dad said as we came in, bags in hand. We laughed and greeted her family. We put our stuff down upstairs where we’d be sleeping, and drove to the beach nearby to see the sand sculptures Elizabeth had raved about.

I used to vacation on Cape Cod with my family. We’d rent a cottage with family friends, go to the beach, and eat lobster until we felt sick (no exaggeration). So, going back made me feel like a kid again, and I know Michael and Elizabeth felt the same way. We played Ladder Ball outside, hung out at the beach, went to a cookout, and oddly enough played many games of Monopoly, most of which were not played by the rules. We also went mini golfing at Pirate’s Cove, staying local and low key. The entire weekend I barely spent any money. Elizabeth’s aunt cooked for us, and we went to the cookout. I only paid for mini golfing and chipped in for gas.

A vacation like this is for the average person. Most people I know don’t have enough money or time for an elaborate one. If you don’t have time for a few days, a day trip is always an option. What was supposed to be a simple local beach trip with my friends from school, turned into a drive to Newport for the day. A friend of mine goes there often and lives nearby. She showed us around and we drove by the beautiful mansions. We even saw a few couples getting married, which we bugged out about and obviously tried to see as much as we could. We went to the beach and ended the day with much needed seafood and burgers. Again, there wasn’t a lot of spending involved.

When people think vacation, they tend to think big, but a vacation can be anywhere. Somewhere old or somewhere new. As cliché as this sounds, who you’re spending it with will really determine how much fun you have. Smaller trips can be better than bigger ones because you won’t be spending your life savings, and there is room for more than one trip. Smaller vacations come with low expectations, small budgets, and almost no itinerary. Forget blowing money on plane tickets, and map out a spontaneous road trip.

Vacationing 101

April 29, 2014 in Alive Campus, Travel

Vacation 101

Vacation 101

Vacations are the best part of school, hands down.  You can do the typical spring break or an alternative spring break volunteering somewhere.  Family vacations are always interesting, road trips with friends are always exciting.  Got nothing to do?  Spice it up with a staycation.  Here is my advice and experience about vacationing.

Welcome to Vacation 101…

Staycation

A great and cheap vacation is a staycation.  Stay in your apartment, or at your house at home and have a stay-in spa day or a movie day or something like that.  Hanging out in PJs can be just as much fun as lying on the beach (maybe not, but close).  Or, visit a local beach if it’s warm enough.  Don’t have access to a beach? Find a nearby park or even a nice porch to hang out and soak up some sun.  Hungry? Cook your heart out.  Bake a cake or cookies or make that dinner that you pinned on Pintrest.

Montreal

One of my favorite travel experiences was during Thanksgiving. My sister went to McGill University for two years before transferring to Cornell.  While she was at McGill, my family would visit for Thanksgiving, which isn’t celebrated in Canada.  My mom cooked turkey for my family and some of my sister’s friends and it was so fun.  It wasn’t the typical family thanksgiving, but it was great to be with my family and spend time with my sister.

Transportation

Transportation is important when planning vacations.  It is important to look at costs and what is the most convenient.  Surprisingly to me, sometimes it is cheaper to fly from Boston to New York or New Jersey than to take a train or a bus.  Trains are usually more expensive than busses, but are also more comfortable.

NYC road trip

A fantastic travel break I took was an impromptu road trip.  My sister and I had tickets to a Billy Joel concert, which we didn’t realize was in New York.  We realized about seven hours before the concert and decided to drive down from Boston and try to make the concert.  We were an hour late, but still got to hear a great amount of music, including “Uptown Girl”, “Piano Man”, and “Only the Good Die Young”.  Billy Joel and his band were amazing and they were having so much fun performing.  After the concert my sister and I explored the city.  We stayed in a hotel for the night, explored more in the morning (highlights include 30 Rock, shout out to Tina Fey!), and drove home.  Road trips are a great travel experience; all you need is a great friend and some great tunes.

 

by Maura

Traveling with SU

April 19, 2014 in Campus Life, Events, Travel

SU Snow Jam Trip to Canada

SU Snow Jam Trip to Canada

Syracuse University is only a short distance from my hometown just south of Boston. Luckily, it’s only about a 5 hour drive to get back and forth over breaks. However, my freshman and sophomore years, I didn’t have a car and traveled on my breaks either by train, bus, or carpool. The differences between the three are time and cost. Trains are the cheapest option and are far more comfortable than busses, but usually take the longest. Plus, they are notoriously unreliable and are delayed or late more often than not, sometimes for hours. It’s taken me 14 hours to get to Boston more than once. The busses are more expensive than trains and insanely cramped, but they are a shorter, more reliable trip – only about 7-9 hours. When it comes to time, cars are still the best option. It is the most expensive since gas prices are through the roof, but it is by far the fastest and most comfortable.

SU is pretty accommodating when it comes to traveling home. It provides a free shuttle bus to and from the train and bus station before and after breaks, you can buy your tickets a head of time in the student center instead of having to do it online, and they even provide their own discounted busses that will provide transportation to larger cities like Boston and New York City. The carpooling option is a great one as well that many people either don’t know about or don’t make use of. There is a ride-share Facebook page as well as a cork board in the student center on which you can post your information (travel dates, locations, contact information) if you need a ride or if you have extra seats in your car. Charging each passenger 20$ is a great way to pay for gas and they get a cheap ride.

Syracuse University is pretty empty over summer, winter, spring, and Thanksgiving breaks since a good percentage of students are within fairly easy ground travel distance. Other long weekends such as Martin Luther King Day, Easter, and other smaller holidays are less empty since most people don’t bother going home for only 3 or 4 days.

I go home for almost every break, but go on vacation every now and then. Winter breaks, I ski in Maine or Canada. Summer I’ll usually spend between Maine and home, though this summer I’ve been given the amazing opportunity to work an internship in Manhattan. Spring break is the most popular for students to go away on trips. Florida, the caribbean, cruises, and down south are some of the best places to go. There are also SU sponsored spring break trips with Habitat for Humanity as well as trips to hike the Grand Canyon or the San Juan River, and trips over winter break to ski in Canada at Mont Tremblant.

But I have to admit, getting a group of friends together, staying at school, and having the whole campus to yourself can be a lot of fun and super cheap.

SU Grand Canyon Hiking Trip

SU Grand Canyon Hiking Trip

Traveling During Breaks

September 27, 2013 in Campus Life, Colleges, Travel

Cancun, Mexico

Cancun, Mexico

In my opinion, traveling during breaks when in college is so important – getting out of the “college life” environment is refreshing and something that’s totally needed. And, it’s one of the last times that you’ll have an extended period to travel! At Boston University, we have a few long weekends, Thanksgiving break, winter break (between the fall and spring semesters), spring break (which usually falls in the middle of March), and summer break.

I always travel during breaks. During Thanksgiving and winter breaks I go home to Rochester, New York. Going home is a nice break from life in Boston. It is common for students at BU to travel home during Thanksgiving and winter break. Thanksgiving break is only three days and a weekend, so if students live far from home they often stay in Boston. Winter break is usually four weeks long, which is definitely enough time to travel home. In my opinion, Thanksgiving and winter breaks are a great time to catch up with friends and family from home.

During spring break it is common for BU students to travel with roommates and friends to exotic or warm locations. My sophomore year at BU I traveled to Cancun, Mexico with seven of my friends, and it was a lot of fun. Other common spring break locations are Puerto Vallarta, Punta Cana, California, and Florida. My freshman year I went home for spring break – this is also common. This past semester I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia (so basically four months of vacation) and for my “spring break” there I traveled all over the country of Australia – which was a completely unmatched, and extremely different, experience to partying in Mexico.

During summer break, BU students tend travel and live all over the world. It is common for students to spend a summer abroad in Europe, travel and work at home, or travel and work in big cities like New York City, Boston, or Los Angeles. After my freshman and sophomore years I went home and worked in Rochester for the summer. However, this past summer I lived, worked, and took a class in Boston for the first time, and it was a great experience. Being in Boston when school was not in session was a lot of fun, but very different. Since summer break is over three months long, it’s easy to travel. This past summer I took trips to Maine, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Florida, New York City, Pittsburgh, and Rochester – clearly, traveling is something I love to do.

Boston's public transportation running through BU's campus

Boston’s public transportation running through BU’s campus

Since Boston is a city, there are many good modes of transportation to take you all over Boston, the country, and the world. However, getting home to Rochester is somewhat of a struggle. There is not a direct bus or train to Rochester, the only direct mode of transportation is an airplane…and that can get pretty expensive. And, there is one airline, U.S. Airways, which flies direct to Rochester. In my opinion, the best way to get to upstate New York – specifically Rochester – is by car, but I don’t have a car at school so I rarely drive. The drive from Boston to Rochester is around six hours, which in my opinion isn’t that long. Most students at BU don’t have cars, because we go to school in a big city with relatively good public transportation.

So, get out of your college campus. Go do things that you wouldn’t normally do! This is the last time (probably for a very long time) that you’ll have over three months off to travel and explore. So, take advantage of the breaks and vacations that you have, because before you know it they’ll be gone.