Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Since the Holiday Season is in full swing, I think it is important to talk about how students travel to and from Charlottesville for the holidays. This is a particularly important issue if you are an out-of-state student like myself and are trying to keep costs low.

There are a number of ways one can get into and out of Cville, each with its own merits.

My preferred method of travelling to and from Charlottesville is through flying into the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (CHO). This tiny airport of 5 gates is about one-sixteenth the size of the international airport in my hometown, Houston. It provides for a much more slow-paced, stress-free travelling environment. The five gates do not even have jetways and so you enter the planes, generally small express jets, from the tarmac. My favorite element of the CHO experience, however, is the short security lines. Due to a small number of flights coming into and out of the airport, security generally takes under five minutes! And you didn’t hear this from me, but, if there is one airport you can “cut it close”

in arriving for a flight out, it would be this efficient airport in our wonderful city of Cville!

Another viable option for flyers is the Richmond airport. Because flights into Richmond generally do not require a connection, these flights are often cheaper. The airport is, however, an hour away from Cville. Cab rides generally cost somewhere in the $90-150 range though, so the most economical way to fly Richmond is to find a friend who can d

rive you.

The most exhilarating route, in my opinion, is flying into Washington, DC. From DC, students can take a short Amtrak train ride into Charlottesville. The inexpensive ride cuts through the rolling Virginia countryside, passes through several small towns, and drops off very close to Grounds at Cville’s Union Station (see photo). Though the train doesn’t leave from Platform nine and three-quarters, I always feel rather Harry Potter-esque taking the train back to school.

Lastly, many out-of-state students (and most in-state students, of course!) drive to and from Charlottesville. Though the drive from Houston is too grueling to make for just a holiday break, my friends from as far south as Atlanta and as far north as Connecticut can easily make the drive in one day.

One of the stranger adjustments of going to college is only being ‘home for the Holidays,’ but fortunately there are many ways you can get there and back!

Happy Holidays!

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