Despite (or maybe because of) the fact that I live in the city that really pulls out the stops for the 4th of July, it’s the one holiday I regularly flee. I generally head up to the Albany area, where I went to college and lived for most of my 20s, to visit all the folks I miss up there. My friends Linc and Michele throw this big shindig – I’m talking moonbounce and fireworks – and everyone comes. Needless to say, it’s much more fun than sweating on the National Mall with what feels like half of America.
I’m having a bit of a dilemma about my travel planning this year, though. In the past, I’ve been able to fly from BWI for $150 or less… and for a while, it was only $75, round trip. Really. This year I am not finding anything less than $250, and only for flights at times I just can’t make. (And not just because I hate mornings; I’m talking planes that leave before Metro can get me to the airport.) Booking a flight at a reasonable hour is going to run me about $275, and, well, I’m suffering from sticker shock. The price isn’t quite a deal breaker, but – given what a pain in the ass it is to fly anymore – it’s got me thinking about other options.
There’s not a chance in hell that I’d drive, of course. I’ve been there, done that and won’t ever do it again – and not just because I loathe the idea of driving that far, but because a rental car and gas would actually cost more than a plane ticket. I am, however, starting to give some fairly serious consideration to taking the train. I floated the idea on Facebook the other day and got a lot of feedback* – for and against – but I’m still wavering, so I thought if I wrote out my pros and cons, maybe the answer would become more clear.
- $100 cheaper than flying.
- More convenient scheduling.
- No naked scans, pat downs, or magnetometers.
- Internet access. (Even if the train doesn’t have WiFi, there should be enough 3G service to keep me happy.)
- No size limit on my toiletries. I can leave the three-ounce bottles and quart-sized bag at home.
- Slightly more space to move around. Possibly the option of just moving to another seat if someone reclines their seat into my lap.
- Lots of time to knit, read, write, play Angry Birds… whatever.
- It takes a long time – about 7.5 hours counting the layover in NYC. This is long enough for me to possibly get fairly stir crazy. (By comparison, with getting to the airport and waiting factored in, flying would not likely take more than 3.5 hours.)
- An hour each way in Penn Station, the dirtiest place in the Western world.
Ahem. Well, I do seem to have found more pros than cons, but take the poll anyway, please. I already made it.
* The one piece feedback I got on Facebook that I’m ignoring entirely is the option of taking the bus. It’s all the cramped quarters and no club car of the airplane and slower than the train. No good all around.