Thanksgiving Travel: Tales and Tips From Students Who Have Made the Trip


Last Thanksgiving, it took me two days and a bottle and a half of Listerine to cleanse the distinct aftertaste of charred turkey from my mouth. Sadly, the worst part of that particular trip home wasn’t the dried-out food or a woman claiming to be my second cousin (I had never actually seen her before) talking to me for two hours about farming techniques. Instead, it was the mad holiday rush to the airport, where I was almost trampled over several times and forced to wait an extra hour for my flight home due to delays.

Courtesy of MCT

Turkey, pumpkin pie and sitting around watching football games squashed between your beer-bellied uncles may have become mainstream symbols of Thanksgiving. But more than food and awkward interactions with long-lost family members, Thanksgiving is about cringe-inducing nightmare scenarios of holiday travel gone awry.

Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) students have shared in the holiday horrors. So if the idea of trying to swallow dry turkey as your cousins flick peas at your head has been leaving you feeling as limp as Aunt Marge’s week-old string beans, have a laugh at these tales of holiday travel trauma and count your blessings!

Whether they had a 20-minute commute or a 20-hour flight, these students were not exempt from the trials of Turkey Day traveling. Even those who skipped public transportation and opted for a cab found themselves in a boiling hot mess.

“I went home to Jersey for Thanksgiving last year,” said Joseph Pellicone, FCLC ’12. “It was raining so I figured I’d just take a cab straight down Ninth [Avenue] to get to Port Authority. At first it was going well, but then around 49th Street, the traffic just stopped. I had to get out and run the rest of the way to try to catch my bus. I finally got to Port Authority, completely soaked.”

And planes proved to be no better: from turbulence to trouble with personal technology, some students had a wreck of a flight.

“Last Thanksgiving, I got in a cab wreck on the way to the airport,” said Sara Ingle, FCLC ’12. “I missed my flight and then my phone died, so I ran to a terminal where a flight was going near my aunt’s house and even though they were pretty much packed, I cried and begged them to let me on the plane. They did, except it was so chaotic I forgot my luggage. It took me about two weeks to track it and get it back!”

Nevertheless, some students were able to make the best of their holiday trips gone wrong, showing that sometimes, unexpected doesn’t always have to mean unpleasant.

“At the end of Thanksgiving weekend last year, my parents took me to the airport and I got on my flight with absolutely no problems,” said Emily Borich, FCLC ’11. “But all of a sudden, there was a lot of turbulence and everyone was freaking out, so we eventually had to make an emergency landing. Everyone on my flight was pretty angry, and it was a very late night flight on top of that, but the airline gave us free hotel suites, cab vouchers and money for food. What seemed like it was going to be an utter disaster turned out to be so much fun.”

So, if you’re making the pilgrimage home this year, learned students who have made the trek have a few words of advice.

“During my freshman year, there was a huge storm here in New York City,” said Kelsey Garcia, FCLC ’12. “The only reason I made it home was because I moved all my finals that were in the last week of testing to the first week, with professor approval, of course. My best advice for other students is to fly home as early as humanly possible, and this applies to any holiday. Anything could go wrong at any time, and if it does, you might not be able to make it!”

“A lot of students make the mistake of coming home the night before their first class,” said Laura Marostica, FCLC ’11. “But what I’ve learned is that you have to give yourself enough time to readjust to being back at the dorm and doing work for classes. Oftentimes, one night is not enough to complete unfinished homework due at 8:30 the next morning.”

But most importantly, make sure you keep in touch with those overbearing relatives who still believe that traveling alone is like walking down an abandoned alleyway at 3 a.m.

“My trip home is short, but I always make sure my phone is fully charged before I leave my dorm,” said Emily Gebhardt, FCLC ’13. “I know that if my parents tried to call and my phone went straight to voicemail, they would think something happened to me and I’d have to hear about it all weekend.”

If your trip turns sour even before you find yourself stuck between feuding siblings and that one aunt who can’t seem to put down that wine glass, suck it up and go with the flow.

“Be savvy,” Borich said. “Know how to figure out how to get on another flight if something goes wrong, remember to pack your phone charger in your purse, and most of all, don’t panic if something does goes wrong—it will make for a good story and might even turn into an adventure!”

And if all else fails, you can always turn a dreadfully bad experience into a horror novel. Who knows, you might just be the next Stephen King! Until then, plan ahead, hope for the best and know that if anything goes wrong, you are not alone.