by Vanessa Ullman
Photography courtesy of Victoria Bennett Beyer on Amtrak Instagram
Over winter break, students are kicked out of the dorms. But cut to March, for spring break, and it’s a different story. Not only is this break only a week long, but it also comes just six short weeks after the beginning of second semester. Right now, many plans are up for debate – whether to go home, travel with friends, go on an Alternative Service Break (ASB) or stay in the dorms.
If you are from Massachusetts, or any one of the neighboring states, you have a lot of options. The MBTA runs through much of central Boston and suburban Massachusetts, and it is a quick and easy trip for you to get home. If you’re from Connecticut, New York, or even Pennsylvania, a Megabus ticket is only about $20 for a one-way ticket. The Amtrak train sacrifices low cost for better amenities, and costs anywhere from $50 to $150 for a one-way ticket to a state in the East Coast.
Casey Flynn, a senior in CAS, is spending her Spring Break staying busy. First, she is visiting home—Newton, CT—on an Amtrak train and then participating in a trip to NASA by the BU Astronomy department. She chose Amtrak over Megabus for several reasons, most of which had to do with the services offered.
“I think Amtrak is worth it because the train arrives at a set time, and it’s easier to get work done on the train rather than Megabus,” said Flynn. “Amtrak also technically has Wi-Fi, even though it doesn’t always work.”
Despite the mass of students from the East Coast, BU still has a large percentage of students from states across the country. Some students wishing to go home to San Francisco will likely be paying over $400 for a non-stop round-trip flight. To get home to Chicago is about $300 for a non-stop flight, while if you live in Dallas, you’re looking at airfare around $330.
Almost one quarter of the BU population is from a country outside of the United States, where flights home are even more expensive and have to be booked far in advance. It might not seem worth it to travel thousands of miles home for spring break—especially if the travel time takes several days itself.
There is no “solution” to this, but many students have found cheaper and more efficient ways to spend their one week off.
The cheapest method is to stay at BU, whether or not you live in on-campus housing. It is free for BU students to stay in dorms and on-campus apartments during the week of Spring Break, which makes this option the most cost-efficient for students who do not want to pay to travel to states or countries that are far away.
However, some BU students believe that the benefits of going home for a week outweigh the costs. Katie Edson, a junior in CAS, is flying to her home state of Washington instead of staying in Boston. She is choosing to stay in Boston over the summer, and wanted to make sure she visited home once before the semester ends.
“I think it can be worthwhile to go home if you live far away, depending on how often you can go home otherwise,” said Edson. “It can be more worthwhile than going home for Thanksgiving, because Thanksgiving [break] is so much shorter, even though Thanksgiving can seem more important.”
As a whole, it really depends on each student’s situation and length of break. An Alternative Service Break with the BU Community Service Center is a great opportunity to get off campus and help others at the same time. Taking a Megabus home could be the easiest choice for you if you’re from the East Coast. Perhaps you want to venture to a more tropical destination with friends. Whether or not you choose to travel for spring break is up to you; the most important part is simply enjoying a week off from classes.