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Wanna Get Away?

by Anthony Alongi

With the end of the semester looming, many students are undoubtedly finding it difficult to focus on their studies instead of the leisure time ahead of them. Many students will make plans to party with friends and enjoy some late nights. Sounds like a great time, but wouldn’t it be great to get outta dodge for a bit? There is more than one way to depart from Louisiana and it doesn’t involve a plane or a car. Care to guess what it is? I don’t care. Drumroll please….it’s a train.

Amtrak, the public passenger train system, offers a great value to anxious travelers (or people too scared to fly) seeking a cheap travel option. Departing from the Station Building on Loyola Ave., Amtrak trains depart every day heading towards almost every major city in the U.S. One of the more popular routes out of the New Orleans Amtrak runs to Union Station, Chicago. Travel time is just over 19 hours with a round-trip ticket starting as low as $250.00. Those looking for a longer trip can book a trip to Penn Station, New York for $449.00. The Windy City and Big Apple trips are just a couple of examples of reasonably priced, high-value trips that are reasonable options for students to consider.

Beyond the destination itself, the train trip itself adds a heaping of value to the experience. The train cuts through the country and gives the passenger an astounding and appreciative view of America. The Midwest, East Coast, and West Coast can all be gazed upon based on your destination. A plane offers a magnificent and breath-taking view of the world, but a train is the best-kept secret that is a great alternative to flying. The dots become visible and the guesses turn to certainties. Watching the landscape progressively change throughout the trip is truly one of the better scenic views that a traveler could hope for.

The plethora of destinations can leave the planning traveler overwhelmed, which is why a list helps. Look at it as a “grocery list” for your wander-lusting ventures. Writing your travel plans and destinations on paper puts it into a goal-oriented undertaking, and it feels great to keep scratching off that list until, eventually, you’ve been to every corner of the country.

Traveling is going to cost money. There is no way around it. There is, however, a way to travel without breaking the bank. The more you sit and think and think about it, the less time there is for saving and planning. The time to travel is now, when the responsibilities aren’t too taxing and the finances are manageable. Consider this to be your opportunity to invest in memories that will last a lifetime. As much time as school and work require, there is still ample time to enjoy yourself and get a kick out of life. Work hard and play harder. Don’t fall victim to regret next semester when you show up to class with a handful of books, and a memory lacking substance. The break between the fall and spring semesters is a brief one, so make the most out of it.

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