Getting to Chicago during Spring Break

14 Mar

Raysha Duncan, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

There comes a time in every Purdue student’s life when they just want to escape from campus (or Indiana in general) for a few days, and Spring Break is an ideal time to do this. They want to go somewhere where there are fewer cornfields, more of a night life, and various food options. One of the biggest cities near Purdue is Chicago, so it’s a common place for students to go for a short or long weekend. If you’re ready for your weekend getaway but don’t know your cheapest transportation options, I’ve gone ahead and listed a few of your options. Some of the numbers I’ve listed below are for a specific weekend, which I’ve noted, so you’ll want to double-check your travel dates to verify the prices.

Lafayette to Chicago (Friday August 2nd to Saturday August 3rd)

Amtrak 

Amtrak Station

3/16: Departs from Lafayette at 7:36 AM, arrives in Chicago at 10:05 AM ($36)

3/20: Departs from Chicago at 5:45PM, arrives in Lafayette at 9:57PM ($36)

Total Cost: $72 and up

Total Time: 8 hours, 9 minutes

Don’t forget about how you’ll be getting around once you get there. If you just plan on walking around town, plan to be tired Chicago is a BIG place with LOTS to see. This way, you will not spend extra funds on your travel expenses. If, however, you plan to use the bus or subway, you will definitely be spending extra on that and should budget accordingly.

Driving

2 hours from West Lafayette to Chicago (122.5 miles)

2 hours from Chicago to West Lafayette (122.5 miles)

Gas: National Average at $1.93/gallon

Total Cost: $24 and up

Total Time: 4 hours

If you’re averaging 20 miles/gallon, it will take about $24 in gas to get you to and from Chicago. However, this does not include paying for parking or any driving you may do around the city. Parking runs anywhere from $3-$15/hour depending on the time and place you go. There are some parking lots in the heart of the city that offer flat rates for the entire day on the weekends, but you really have to search for these good deals and (as an effect of this) which could use up even more gas and money. There are several apps that you can download on your phone which can help you compare parking prices. Sometimes the difference in a block is as much as $20!

MegaBus

MegaBus 

3/16: Departs from Indianapolis at 12:35 PM, arrives in Chicago at 3:05 PM ($23)

3/20: Depart from Chicago at 3:30 PM, arrives in Indianapolis at 8:15 PM ($23)

Total Cost: $46 and up

Now, this seems like a middle-of-the-road choice, right? But, if you are a student leaving from the Purdue campus, you have to pay for both parking and gas to get down to Indianapolis. This company is fairly new to the Midwest, so Indianapolis is currently the only pickup/drop-off location in Indiana. If you have relatives in the Indianapolis area though, you could always spend time with them before setting off for Chicago or if yourself live in the Indianapolis area, this is probably the cheapest option for you. Much like the Amtrak option, though, don’t forget to take into account your transportation costs once you get there.

Lafayette Limo

Leave Purdue Memorial Union Follett’s Purdue West Arrive at O’Hare Airport Leave Chicago Arrive Lafayette
4:30 AM 4:40 AM 6:40 AM CST 8:00 AM CST  12:00 PM
10:30 AM 10:40 AM 12:40 PM CST 2:00 PM CST  6:00 PM
3:30 PM 3:40 PM 5:40 PM CST 7:00 PM CST  11 PM

Lafayette Limo

Lafayette Limo cost $60 for a one-way ticket to O’Hare Airport and $110 for a round trip back to Lafayette.

There are some considerations to keep in mind when travelling with Lafayette Limo.  Once you are in Chicago you will need to consider other transportation options from the airport to the city, if you are planning on staying in Chicago.  Lafayette Limo has strict pick-up and drop off times.  This could keep your Chicago visit to a tight schedule.  Lafayette Limo is mainly used as a transportation method for Purdue University students traveling to home during peak times (before and after each semester) which creates limited space during peak times.   On top of battling students trying to return home, the Limo may be full of luggage. A pact ride to and from Chicago has the potential to put a damper on one’s trip. Though, during these peak times you can rent Lafayette Limo and have a safe ride for your group.  You can find more details about renting Lafayette Limo through their website online.

Of the four options above, which do you think you would be most likely to use? Is your choice completely based on the prices? Or do you have another method of travel you like to use for traveling to Chicago? Let us know if you do!

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