By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
Despite finals week quickly approaching, I cannot help but constantly think about my winter break back home. As a transfer student, this is my first time away from my family, and yes, I may slightly sound like a baby, but okay, fine―I do sound like a baby, but baby it’s cold outside, and I’m so ready to go back to my 80-degree weather and palm trees. Things that I have despised about my former city of Miami have now become characteristics of a place I’ve longed to be apart of again.
I’ll admit, Christmas in Boston is probably more of a classic white Christmas. It’s something I’ve always wanted, but never experienced, and this cold weather really is wonderful. When it does snow, I feel like I’m walking in a winter wonderland, but home is home. Wouldn’t you agree? No matter where home is, that’s where your Christmas is as well. It doesn’t have to be snowing where I’m going, and I don’t have to walk by bare trees, either.
What is getting me through these final weeks of school is the image of walking off the airplane ramp, collecting my luggage and being embraced by home. The Spanish of Miami, the warm wind, the carefree atmosphere, my mothers’ hug. It’s home.
I think going home for the holidays is keeping everyone as sane as possible. Unlike Thanksgiving vacation, not everyone was able to fly home either because of ridiculously expensive flight tickets or living internationally, but for this one time, Boston’s student population will desert this city and fly back to the coop.
So while I’m stuck in my room wearing baggy sweats with my hair disheveled, a textbook in one hand and a jar of peanut butter in the other, my mind drifts back to the homeland. I just keep reminding myself there’s only ten more days till I return home. Wherever home is for you, it will have cheerful, holly feel, filled with chess nuts, candy canes, mistletoe, home cooked meals (yum!) and an ever-present love for your loved ones and love for your hometown. Keep that in mind to keep you going.
By Amira Francis, Staff Writer
It’s almost Christmas time, and with the comforting allure of cookies and presents beckoning, you’re probably excited to hop on that plane or train and high-tail it out of here. You’ve already purchased your tickets home, right? Well, for those of you who haven’t (and I would be among them, if my parents weren’t such life-savers): you’re not out of luck…yet. There is still some time to redeem your ticket-buying habits and there are still methods you can use to knock down the price. Here’s some advice to ensure that you score the cheapest ride home, and a few tips for buying tickets next holiday season.
Prepare to be uncomfortable: You aren’t going to cut costs by resolving to fly first class, at 1 p.m., from the airport nearest to you. You’re going to have to get ready to tough it out. This means compromising: you’re going to sacrifice some sleep, spend some difficult hours catching the T and transferring to airport shuttles, and devote a good chunk of time scouring the internet for inexpensive flights.
Don’t Count on Sleep: The most inexpensive flights are – guess when! Right smack dab in the awkward hours of the night. Whether you’re waking up at 4 a.m. or staying up until 11 p.m. to catch that dumb plane, you’re going to have to drink your double espresso latte, grit your teeth, and bear it. When you’re searching online, those are the times that you should be looking for.
Dismiss Your Hopes of Buying a Direct Flight: The cheaper flights are the challenging ones. If you could fly straight to your paradise-of-a-home in California, that would be too easy (and expensive). Somewhere along the way, you’re going to have to switch flights and undergo the hassle of sprinting from terminal to terminal in an attempt to catch a close connection.
Compromise on Airport Location: Some of the least expensive flights may be a little ways from your starting point and your ending point. It’s going to take a bit more planning, but it might be cheaper in the long-run if you settle for taking a flight that ends up farther away from your destination. You can then search the web for a train or bus ticket that will take you the extra mile, which leads me to my next point…
Get Ready to Comb the Web: Take your web surfing skills to the next level when looking for a flight. Check all travel and airline sites. Be ready to settle for an airline that you don’t normally take. Look at all options: different dates, different times, different cities – even keep an eye out for buying two one-way tickets instead of a round-trip ticket. When looking for a cheap way home, you can’t afford to be picky. You have to be okay with making this a bit of a research project.
I hope these tips help you hook a ticket home for a refreshing break before second semester. Next holiday season, if you have time, try to book your tickets in advance. That way, you can hopefully get the flights you want for the right price. Safe travels!
Maya Devereaux, Staff Writer
With Thanksgiving break quickly approaching, now would be a good time to book your tickets home. If you’re planning on taking the bus, but haven’t yet ventured into South Station yet, listen up! While the bus terminal boasts almost every possible bus company the country has to offer, that doesn’t mean they are all highly esteemed.
My bus company of choice happens to be Bolt Bus. Techincally one word, BoltBus is an offspring of Greyhound that has the motto: bolt for a buck. Of my 24 trips with them, I never paid just one dollar for a ticket. Nonetheless, I did receive three free one-way rides along the way after I signed up for their no-hassle rewards program. The bus isn’t anything special, but I do have to say that the outlets at each seat can be a lifesaver. If you read its review on Yelp, you’ll see that it has its fair share of lovers and haters (just as you would see with any bus company review). But as a heads up, don’t arrive late because your seat will be given away, and don’t expect to get two seats to yourself because they always manage to fill every seat. Also, they board the bus by three groups that are based on how recent you purchased your ticket, so book it early unless you want to sit next to the bathroom in the back. The prices will also go up as it gets closer to the date on which you want to travel.
To add another bus to the shuffle, I feel I should in some way defend Fung Wah. So, we’ve all heard those horror stories about how one of time the back wheels fell off the Fung Wah bus while in motion or how it crashed into a guard rail a few years ago, but much to my mother’s chagrin, I believe it is not quite as dangerous as she thinks. No, the driver isn’t zipping down the I-95 at 110 mph, and no, it doesn’t smell unbearable. Of course it’s no luxury limo, but it fits the bill. Unlike BoltBus, Fung Wah sells tickets for a flat fee of $15. This price never changes, and you can usually rely on them to bring you to New York very last minute. Most customers even buy their ticket on the spot at the Fung Wah ticket counter. On the downside, there are no outlets, however, they have recently introduced WiFi. A big difference between the two is that Fung Wah drops you off in Chinatown in New York City, while Bolt conveniently drops you off at Penn Station.
As for Mega Bus, its double-decker seating arrangement kind of freaks me out. It does travel to more cities than do Fung Wah and Bolt, but I’ve never taken it. In regards to comfort, safety and all that, you’re on your own.
All in all, the ride is pretty much the same. There’s always going to be traffic somewhere in Connecticut, you’ll always fight over the arm rest with the woman next to you, and the bus will always smell like fast food after it stops halfway for a ten minute break. So take it in and try to enjoy!
By Marie Goldstein, Staff Writer
Unlike most of the Boston University student population, I have only been out of the United States once in my life. This was on my senior trip of high school to the Dutch island of St. Maarten. My four closest friends and I stayed a week in a villa at the Royal Palm Resort over looking Simpson Bay. This being the first time we were out of the United States and the first time we were away from our parents the trip twisted and turned with unexpected surprises. Nevertheless, this week was full with memories that will last me a lifetime. If you are ever visiting the Dutch side of St. Maarten, here are some of the must-sees.
The Town of Phillipsburg
There are few things I have seen that are more beautiful than the beach of Phillipsburg. Not only are there crystal clear waves crashing on the white powder beach, there’s also a huge town full of shops. The shops vary from marketplace-esque to high-end names. In the marketplace you can get authentic Caribbean jewelry. I bought bracelets made out of coconuts that I am in love with! The high-end brand names back home don’t have tax, so they are way cheaper. I bought a Longchamp bag, and my best friend snagged a Michele watch for cheap.
The Royal Palm Resort Lagoon
This private lagoon only for the Royal Palm guests was definitely a private paradise. It was the perfect place to go for a senior trip because it was quite, and there weren’t many little kids around. There were lounge chairs set on the beach that you could move in the water if you wanted to. The water was the perfect temperature for the crazy heat we braved on the trip. Aloe vera massage, anyone?
Lady Sea is a bar that is on a sailboat! This is seriously one of the coolest things I have ever seen. A huge sailboat travels from island to island bringing a unique bar atmosphere to visiting tourists! The sailboat has a bar, tables, a stage and a place to dance if you’re not to scared of falling overboard. This is a must-see on your trip, and there is no doubt that you will make your best memories at Lady Sea! Last I heard Lady Sea is still in the same location across the street from the Royal Palm Resort, but I hear that it may be traveling to a new island in the near future!