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!
By Ryan Galindo, Staff Writer
I grew up thinking I had family that lived in the Philippines, Guam, Orlando, Fla. and Los Angeles. Nothing more, nothing less. And I believed that for 18 years.
When the time came for my me and my parents to decide where I would be going for college, I sat them down in our living room. I had applied to colleges all over the U.S. and was fortunate enough to be accepted to most of them. It was a surprise when my parents started listing off names of family members I never knew existed that lived nearby certain universities I was accepted to. The conversation went something like this:
Parents: Oh, Seattle University? You have cousins that live there.
Parents: You have an aunt that lives in New Jersey.
Parents: NYU and Fordham? We have family in New York.
Me: Oh my goodness!
Parents: Chaminad University? We have family in Honolulu, too.
I was dumbfounded.
Nonetheless, as confused as I was at this sudden revelation of our extended family tree, I was all the more excited to go to college. Yes, I’d have somewhere to stay during breaks, I thought to myself.
Thanksgiving weekend was the first opportunity I had to stay with my new found family. They live in a town outside Newark, N.J., so I took the bus from Boston to Newark Penn Station. It was a slow bus ride, prolonged by the holiday traffic and made longer by the anticipation I felt. I was going to meet these family members for the first time. All I knew was that my dad and the woman I was meeting were cousins, and that she and her husband had three children, all around my age.
When I got to Penn Station, I nervously stood in the cold waiting for them to pick me up. I was looking for a turquoise Nissan Altima, according to my new second cousin. Once it pulled up to the pick-up area, I saw my cousins waving out the window, smiling. And with that, all my anxiety was erased. They seem like nice people, I thought.
And I was right. From there we hit off pretty well. We have similar tastes in music and hobbies, and we like to eat, as demonstrated by our appetite during Thanksgiving dinner. Apparently, they didn’t know of my existence either. My dad’s cousin (their mother) had only informed them just recently. So that became another thing we had in common.
Like every person who’s never been to Guam, they asked me what Guam was like and how I like BU. In return, I asked the similar questions about New Jersey and their schools.
There was never a dull moment during the weekend. We went out every day, whether it was to go Black Friday shopping or going to New York City for the first time—which, by the way, was AMAZING. I’ve always wanted to visit the city, and now I can check that off my bucket list.
It was quite depressing when I had to go. I knew I’d miss them badly. But I’ve already made plans to return for spring break, so it wasn’t all that bad.
So this Thanksgiving, I was thankful for the five seemingly new family members I gained, who took me in and made me feel as loved and appreciated as if I’d known them my whole life. Surely, lots of people have relatives, however distant, they’ve never met. Go meet yours.