Stomping the Yard

College Students: You Need These Travel Tips

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Calling all college students! Our weekly column, Stomping the Yard, aims to help undergrads excel in their studies and social lives.’s team of experts will show you how to get it done, from the day you move into the dorms to the minute you step off campus for that first job. Submit questions and feedback for Stomping the Yard via

If you’re a student studying at an out-of-state university the odds are travel has now become a huge part of your life. Travel decisions include whether or not to head home for holidays, what to do during long winter breaks and even if spring break should be used for studying or partying.

For some of you, this may be the first time you have had to manage your own travel. Howard University sophomore Alexia Dukes share some tips to minimize the stress of traveling as a college student.



Life with all its twists and turns brought me back home to Chicago last summer. I was working at a local retail store to save a few dollars for school. During my time in the windy city, my sister’s boyfriend suddenly turned into her fiance, and I became a maid of honor. The point is, life happens. Every semester it is common for undergraduates to have life changing events occur at home. Some college students decide to stay close to their family for this very reason, but others spread their wings and venture thousands of miles away. I’d like to offer the following tips:

Earn Travel Points: Travel costs continue to escalate so signing up for FREE special awards program with airlines can make all the difference in the world, especially when students find themselves having to fly home for an emergency. Some airlines offer rapid rewards for frequent fliers, which can turn into a free plane ticket.

Pack Strategically: One of the trickiest parts about trekking home is knowing what to pack and when to pack it, especially if you’re traveling to a different climate. I suggest beginning early. Try to carve out some time in between classes, and always have a scale handy, and be mindful of the airline’s fifty pound weight limit! Extra baggage can result in extra charges outside your budget.

Prepare Your Snacks: Let’s face it, airport food is expensive, and the peanuts and pretzels offered to us on the plane just will not suffice! I absolutely recommend storing some dorm room snacks in carry-on bags. Always keep in mind flight time. For an early morning flight, a ziplock bag of cereal is a smart option to kick off your metabolism for the day. In the afternoon, a bag of popcorn or, my personal favorite, sweet potato chips, are delicious finger foods that help take the edge off of any flight.

Comfy Clothes: Although you may want to bump into the new potential mate in the airport, or have a sweet thing waiting for you once you get off the plane, while packing, set aside an airplane outfit that is practical for going through security. Most airlines require passengers to remove their shoes, jackets, and other accessories. For this reason, clothes and accessories that require too much effort to take off or put on should be left at home. Traveling to a colder climate? Luckily, oversized sweaters are in style! This way I am not worried about taking a heavy coat on and off. For collegiate studnets fortunate enough to live in warm weather states, try throwing on a tank top or t-shirt and a light jacket, something that is easily removed. Sorry about this one ladies but…avoid wearing lots of jewelry at all costs! It upsets the metal detectors and shaves off about ten minutes of valuable time!

Whether flying home for the holidays, or jumping on a jet on short notice, there is no need to fret. College can be more than a lot, but applying just a few of these organizational techniques always helps.

Kelly Fair is the founder of the highly successful Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program that  has served more than 1,000+ girls, aged seven to 17 years old, to be effective communicators, and career and community conscious leaders! This work has been supported by a network of 400+ volunteers from the Chicagoland community and area businesses such as Bloomingdale’s, Microsoft, ThoughtWorks and many more. You can follow Kelly on her blog and on Twitter at @KFairtheMentor.

Kelly Fair