Travel Ideas for Your Ramen-Noodle Student Budget

With Spring Break coming up and summer only a couple of weeks away, 4E has compiled a list of budget travel destinations for all of those students whose great-uncle’s friend’s son could not secure them an internship at Goldman Sach’s this summer. Enjoy!

1. IcelandAverage flight cost from D.C. : $250-$340
Airbnbs are, apparently, incedibly affordable here. (Another thing that all these Northern European countries have over us!). No, but seriously, Iceland has been increasing in popularity with the college students for its unique outside experiences such as their Northern Lights, hot springs, waterfalls, and modern cathedrals. If you book your ticket early enough, tickets can cost as low as $200 round-trip!

2. Chicago

Average flight cost from D.C.: $110-$180
Ahhh….Chicago. Known for their 1500 calorie deep-dish pizzas and this weird looking thing up there. Chicago is a cultural hub for art, music, and comedy. Activities include: The Rolling Stones exhibition at Navy Pier, Millenium Park, Shedd Aquarium, Art Institute of Chicago, Jurassic World: The Exhibition at The Field Museum, and Adler Planetarium. Only con is that prices for hospitality can be a little higher in rates depending on your proximity to central city.

3. Backpacking

A couple friends and I went backpacking at Lake Tahoe last summer, and I  could not recommend it more! We flew into Reno, Nevado (~$250 from Newark, New Jersey) and took a bus to our camp site from there. Backpacking can be a little pricier if you need to splurge on gear, but you can get ~thrifty with a lot of it (#InnovationNation). Some great backpacking places include the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Park. If you’re looking for a guided trip, however, prices can get steep fast.  Here’s a link to refer to if you’re considering it as an option: https://www.rei.com/adventures/trips/backpacking

4. New York

Average flight cost: $130-$360
if you haven’t checked it out already, New York’s Museum of Sex is one of the city’s most popular sites right now due to its bold coverage of ~doing the dirty~. Other popular places in New York include its Momofuku Milkbar in SoHo, The Met, the Museum of Ice Cream, and Midtown East’s Greenacre Park where there is an actual waterfall in the middle of Manhattan at 217 East 51st Street.

Pro-Tip : At most museums in New York entrance fees are only suggested prices. So instead of paying the $25 to the Met, you can pay as low as a dollar since it’s all considered a donation. The Museum of Sex, however, is excluded from this.

5. Camping/Hiking Trips

If backpacking is a little out of range physically, mentally, or financially, simpler hiking trips are great and less intense trips. Locate some trails near you or some camping sites and pack a lighter backpack. If you’re trying to ~”Glamp” try the Poconos where you get an Airbnb for cheap and get a good night’s sleep before hitting the trails.

6. Montreal

Average Flight Cost: $180-$380
Montreal is cool for its French culture and old-city vibes in a growing  metropolitan area.  Shop downtown, visit Chinatown, go to brunch, try different drinks at themed bars and even white-water raft!

Bonus: the legal drinking age in Montreal is 18.

Downside:  this also means, you could be clubbing with 16 year olds. It’s definitely an interesting, and all-in-all very fun place!

Happy traveling!

Citations: https://techcrunch.com/tag/chicago/, https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7377/10590831585_a96efe2490_b.jpg, https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjq5PbpypDTAhUF6yYKHTzADTcQjhwIBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.quipmag.com%2Ffighting-for-grub-on-the-go-montreal-street-food-ban%2F&bvm=bv.152174688,d.eWE&psig=AFQjCNHaA2wFze2z9ghnnvDBOOMK1Bhx7Q&ust=1491594122312410&cad=rjt, https://arrowheadpoconorental.com/state-parks-and-hiking/, https://purpleroofs.com/gay-travel-blog/2015/02/new-yorks-museum-sex.html

That One Time I Got Lost In The Woods…

The Potomac Heritage TrailIt feels so great to be back on the Hilltop. While I missed a lot of things during my summer absence, one of the things I missed the most was the exhilarating feeling of running in D.C.

I’ll admit, I’m not a running aficionado, but there’s something about the running culture of the District that even makes someone like me want to get away from campus and take a nice jog.

So, I did what any sensible person would do. I put on my Nike sneakers and went to 4E’s running guide for some inspiration. I chose to start off with the Teddy Roosevelt Island run. After all, as Martin Hussey wrote in his piece, it’s flat, easy and enjoyable. Piece of cake, I thought, as I set off on my jogging adventure.

But as I ran down the ramp in Rosslyn, I was soon overtaken by my own curiosity. Instead of turning right and heading toward the foot bridge leading to the Island, the little voice inside my head, combined with the thumping electro-pop of Lady Gaga’s “Applause”, told me to turn left…so I did.

Before I knew it, my 3 mile run to Teddy Roosevelt Island became a 10 mile hike on the Potomac Heritage Trail. I ended up hiking to the Chain Bridge and taking the C&O Towpath back to campus. By the end of the afternoon, I had two insanely sore calves and some breathtaking photos of the experience.

For this article, I wanted to share some of these photos and, more importantly, I wanted to give five quick pointers on how to avoid the sore calves and have a pleasant Potomac hike.

1. Bring water and a granola bar I was clearly unprepared for my mini-trek into the wilderness. After all, I thought I was going on a short run to Teddy Roosevelt Island, not a nature hike. However, it’s probably a good idea to bring a little snack and drink to stay fueled up and hydrated.

2. Wear high socks and/or hiking shoes Some areas of the trail involve crossing small streams and working your way through brush. I’m not saying it’s a must, but some sensible footwear will make your hike a lot more enjoyable.

3. Bring a nice camera The sights along this trail are incredible (see below). This type of journey doesn’t just warrant some snaps on an iPhone camera (even if it is the new 5S or 5C). Bring along a nice backpack and pack in your new Nikon complete with zoom lens. You won’t be disappointed.

4. Wear sunscreen Although you might be only hiking in intermittent sun, this trail still gives a little bit of color. Just a word to the wise for the fair-skinned.

5. Bring friends This is the most important tip I can give. The views are unbelievable and there is even a tree you can climb and sit on while looking over the Potomac. It’s perfect for a small picnic or even some fishing poles to cast a line. Don’t be like me and wander into the woods alone– take advantage of this beautiful trail and share it with those you love. Oh, and check out my photos below.

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I Want to Go to There (in a Zipcar)

The arrival of a small fleet of Zipcars to campus will make it easier for students (well, students over 21) to explore more of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. While we talk about breaking the Georgetown Bubble a lot, getting around via public transportation isn’t the easiest thing in the world, and it can only take you so far.

While Zipcars can be useful for picking up groceries and running other errands, they can also carry you to great hiking, music, shopping and more. So grab a friend, buckle up, and see what the greater DMV area has to offer!

Hiking and Camping
Now that it’s finally cooling down and safe to go outside without immediately sweating through your shirt, the thought of spending long periods of time outside is less terrifying. Great Falls Park in McLean is where the Potomac leaves the Appalachians and descends a series of rapids onto the coastal plain. It’s great for a picnic or short hike to see the majestic rapids along the Potomac. If you’re in for something a little more removed, the

If camping and hiking aren’t your thing but you want to get outside, the time is ripe for apple picking. Places like Homestead Farm in Maryland and Stribling Orchard in Virginia offer pick-your-own specials on apples, pumpkins and other fall staples.

Shopping
While Georgetown is home to many shops and boutiques, we lean towards the high-end – not always compatible with a college student’s budget. Luckily for us, there’s some great shopping to be found just outside the District.

A 20-minute drive from campus, Tyson’s Corner Center in Northern Virginia is one of the largest malls in America. It’s home to department stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s that don’t quite fit in our cramped quarters in Georgetown. You can also find stores like L.L. Bean, Forever 21 and Old Navy in addition to restaurants and an enormous movie theater. It’s also great for people-watching (especially if you’re amused by tweens) while munching on an Auntie Anne’s pretzel.

If you’re looking for deeply discounted designer clothes though, you might want to head a little further into Virginia to check out the Leesburg Outlets. It’ll be about a 45-minute drive to reach the outlets of Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Vineyard Vines, J. Crew and more, but it’s not hard to find great deals. Bonus points if you’re a member of AAA – you can stop at the front desk and pick up a huge book of coupons to use around the outlets.

The ultimate deal though, can be found in thrift stores. While Georgetown is home to vintage stores like Annie Creamcheese and Secondhand Rose, we’re lacking in the type of thrift stores where you can stumble upon the leather jacket of your dreams wedged between wool blazers on the 50-cent rack. There are Goodwill and Salvation Army stores scattered throughout the greater D.C. area, plus independent thrift stores like American Rescue Workers Thrift and Finders Keepers.

Concerts
D.C. has a diverse music scene, with clubs like 9:30, the Black Cat, the Rock n Roll Hotel and more catering to all sorts of genres. But beyond Verizon Center, there aren’t many large venues that are easily accessible within the city. But Maryland and Virginia are different stories.

Merriweather Post Pavilion has played host to the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and Tom Jones. It was originally planned as the home of the National Symphony Orchestra, but now features a mosh pit (care of Green Day) and solar panels (inspired by Jack Johnson). Located about half an hour away in Columbia, MD, hosts acts from Bon Iver to Gotye to music festivals like Virgin Mobile Freefest in the fall and Sweet Life in the spring. The lawn seats usually aren’t too expensive and offer a great view – as long as it’s not raining.

If you’re looking for something a little more classical, Wolf Trap, the National Park for the Performing Arts, is about 30 minutes in the other direction in Vienna, VA. Wolf Trap features musical theater and a lot of classic rock acts.

So those are our ideas. Where will the new Zipcars take you?

Martin Hussey and Shakti Nochur contributed to this article.
Photo: Rebecca Goldberg for The Hoya