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Cheapskate Traveler

So, as a college student, I have a certain amount of money. Being the chocoholic I am, I make sure to budget some cocoa money. If I spend less money on transportation, I get to spend more money on chocolate (or do the responsible thing and put it in the bank for savings :/). One way I’ve saved money is by cost-cutting on trips that would normally be very expensive. I’ll give you the low-down and answer all the questions you may ask (you’re in italics).

This or...

This?

NYC:

The big apple. The city where the most people in the United States call home. The host of the UN- and about an hour from my house.

Beautiful

So, how do I get there?

Bus, train, plane, and automobile.

Which is preferable?

I would say that my favorite way of getting home is definitely when my parents drive me. Not only do I have the most space, but also I don’t have to worry about getting to the station on time or waiting for shuttles. However, when I do take some transit home, I take the bus. Even though the bus does take more time and has the least amount of space, the bus is much cheaper ($50-$200 cheaper than the Amtrak train). I have personally taken the train; it’s very comfortable and has a great snack car. However, I rather save the money and spend an extra hour or two on a bus.

Let’s hit the road!

Well not literally. Note: Can anyone guess what book series this is from? It was one of my favorites when I was little.


First of all, there are a bunch of options for buses, but I suggest Bolt Bus or the Greyhound bus.

Which one is better?

Bolt Bus

Greyhound

Well, based on computer usage:

Bolt Bus always has plugs so that you can run your laptop on for as many hours as you want. However, the internet access is spotty. This is the best situation if you want to write a term paper (well if you’ve already done the Research)- and do not want any internet distractions. It may work for a quick search, but not much more. But, maybe you’ll luck out and get internet connection.

Greyhound always has pretty good internet access, but normally no plugs to NYC. So, you can do some intense Facebook stalking (not speaking from personal experience) or surf the Interwebs until you run out of batteries. Good way to travel if you want to do some quality reading and some quality surfing.

Weather:

Although you can’t predict the weather weeks in advance, please note that you wait for the Bolt Bus outside and you wait for the Greyhound inside. Take heed, young prospective students.

Think about it. Just kidding- Baltimore definitely doesn't get this cold!

How do you get to the stations?

The Greyhound bus starts at the Greyhound station; the Bolt Bus starts at Penn Station in Baltimore. For Bolt Bus, you just take the JHMI shuttle to Penn Station and walk from the bus station away from Penn Station. There will be a sign that says Bolt Bus waiting area and an attendant will direct you where to go. How do I know this with my directional skills?

Lots of looking around and looking confused that hopefully will be negated by reading this article.

Bolt Bus suggests you arrive 15 minutes earlier, but I suggest around 25 minutes. When you leave from New York, I would go even earlier because the crowds there are huge (and people can get bumped off the bus).

The Greyhound starts at the Greyhound station which is quite a bit from campus- it will be a $15-20 dollar taxi ride. Or you can take the bus from the station near Mason Hall. The only catch– the bus doesn’t pick up by the bus station; it picks you up on the other side of the street. How did I learn that?

This is embarrassing.

They both end up around 20 minutes walking distance from Grand Central and pretty close to Times Square, so you can get your NYC trip started right away.

Washington DC

Our capital. The residence of the Obamas- most importantly, Bo Obama. The Smithsonian center. Great falafel.

Yeah, yeah. All that’s great, but how do you get there?

Weekday-

Take the JHMI shuttle to Penn Station. Walk in towards the taxi cabs toward the Penn Station entrance. If you have a train at around 12:30, I would leave at around 12:05 or 12:10. There are ticket machines by the entrance (these only accept credit card) and there are ticket offices nearby as well. If you are going on a weekday, take the MARC train (it’s 30 dollars cheaper each way than the Amtrak). The MARC train ride is around 40 minutes (and is a really cool double-decker train). It takes you right to Washington Union Station where there are many connections for metros and buses. It’s also fairly close to the National Postal Museum- which I highly suggest.

To get back to Homewood, you just take the JHMI shuttle (take notice that it departs on the opposite side of Penn Station from where you are dropped off).

Weekend (with a way to get to BWI for cheap included)-

You can again take the JHMI shuttle to the Penn Station and spend around $40 (if you’re lucky- the prices are not very consistent) and take the Amtrak to Washington Union Station. However, if you have time, I would suggest taking the JHMI to Peabody. You have an incredibly short walk to the Centre Street Light rail stop. Take the Light rail ($1.60) all the way to BWI. Once you get there, you go outside the terminal and look for the B30 bus shelter. The B30 bus will take you to the Greenbelt metro station for $7. However, this bus requires exact change (or a Charm card). Once you get to Greenbelt, you can walk into the station and take the metro anyway to want to go.

And of course, the most important place in Baltimore:

The Godiva Shop!

Yum!

The best part about it is that it’s free! All you do is take the JHMI shuttle to Penn Station. Right where you get off is also the bus stop for the Charm City circulator. There is a sign that tells you exactly when the next bus is coming. Take the Purple Line to the Light Street Stop and then walk towards the harbor and then turn left at East Pratt Street. To add on to the free transportation, you can also sign up for a free Godiva rewards card where you get one free truffle a month.

Good luck on your journeys!

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See ya later alligators!

-JHU_Kate

Posted in Advice, Baltimore, Beyond Baltimore | Share This

6 Responses to Cheapskate Traveler

  1. This is a great blog. Its very informative and at the same time FUNNY. One will not zonked out reading this.

  2. Sydney R. says:

    you make me feel untraveled.
    but i love your bloggggg :)

  3. Kate T. says:

    Enquiring Mind- Don’t point it, out! :D

    Dominique- Yes it’s amazing. I love the shakes and the truffles! The chocolate covered oreos are really good too. It’s super expensive though :(.

  4. Dominique D. says:

    i’m with daniel, this is great! i love the bolt, it’s all i use when going to ny because it’s college-budget friendly lol. and you’re right about the crowds…many people just show up to get a standby ticket but it’s so much better to reserve online.

    godiva…is it really that great? because a nice saleseguy gave me a free turtley thingie once and it was good but not worth the 6 or 8 or whatever dollars it cost… 0_o

    or, my tastebuds just aren’t as refined as yours are.lol.

  5. Admissions_Daniel says:

    Kate: Your blogs are stunningly informative. Your nickname should be Wiki_Kate or HopkinsBritannica. Keep up the great work.

  6. Enquiring Mind says:

    You can’t use the lede “This is embarrassing” without filling us in on the embarrassing details! That’s not fair!

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