Cheap Ways to Make it Home This Thanksgiving

Cheap Ways to Make it Home This Thanksgiving
  • Opening Intro -

    With the Thanksgiving holiday coming later this month, your thoughts may be turning toward how to get home for a few days.

    Not all colleges offer an extended break, making it difficult and expensive for students to return home and get back on time before classes resume.


If the thought of spending Thanksgiving Day in your dorm room has zero appeal for you, then finding cheap ways to make it home for this holiday is important.

Take a Bus.

Yes, airfare is expensive. It will get you where you are going faster, but not always. Particularly around Thanksgiving. Long lines at check in, crowded terminals, bumped flights because of overcrowding or bad weather. These are just a few of the things that can keep you from flying besides the high cost.

You may find that it is much cheaper to simply take a bus. Greyhound is the national bus line and owner of Trailways too. But there are regional bus lines too, including BoltBus. For instance, if you go to school in Boston, but live in Washington, DC, you can take a bus to Newark or New York and change buses before heading home. Besides a comfortable ride, you get Wi-Fi, additional legroom and plug-ins. No matter what bus option you consider, book early to reserve your spot.

Some universities arrange bus service home too. The University of Pittsburgh is one of them.

Take a Train.

Point-to-point train service works well if you live and go to school near a major city. For instance, if you attend the University of Memphis, but live in Chicago, you can take the City of New Orleans train and get home in just over 10 hours.

Amtrak trains are crowded around the holidays, but if you get a seat you will get a good price. Moreover, if you belong to Amtrak’s Student Advantage program, you can save 10 percent or more on your travel.

Post a Notice.

Do you own a car? You could drive home, but going it alone can be costly. Your parents might not be too thrilled with you traveling by yourself either. You can save money by posting a notice at school, explaining your upcoming trip and your search for riders. The more people in your car, the lower your costs as you split your expenses.

If you do not have a car, you can do a reverse inquiry to find someone who is going your way. Keep in mind that some people want additional drivers, so you should have a valid driver’s license handy. Also, not everyone can give you door-to-door service, but if you’re able to get fairly close to your home, a family member may be able to meet you. Just make sure that your ride can provide a return too. Exchange phone numbers!

Cheap Airfare.

There is no such thing as cheap airfare, right? Well, it sure seems that way. Especially at busy times of the year, including Thanksgiving and again at Christmas.

You may be surprised to learn that there are reasonably-priced flights for the taking. To get them, you need to show some flexibility. That may mean getting up early on Thanksgiving Day and heading out to the airport. It can also mean staying through Saturday night to pay less for your return. Bonus savings if you can return on Monday, but then you may miss some classes.

You can often save money by flying in and out of alternative airports, making at least one stop involving a change of planes and using frequent flier miles. Contact the airline directly to obtain current flight information and prices. Who knows, but you may be able to strike a deal that is far better than what you had expected.

See Also5 Thanksgiving Care Package Ideas for College Students


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