My return trip from the conference to the airport was a little less smooth in some ways and a lot easier in other ways. The night before I purchased a $10 day pass online — I could activate it the day I needed it on my phone app! And if someone asked for my ticket, I could just show my phone screen.
Despite my profession as a digital librarian, I like having paper tickets and have yet to use an app for boarding a plane. But in a new city the transit app was the way to go. My plan was to take the bus to the conference on the last day — 1) because it was supposed to rain and 2) because I’d be towing my suitcase. However, my host was up Thursday morning and offered to give me a ride. Problem solved.
I had checked the bus schedule and saw (or thought I saw) two possible buses to the train station when I left the conference. Heading out of the library I took a wrong turn and lost a few minutes. I was close to the bus stop but still across the street when I saw a bus pull up. I don’t need to run, I thought. Another bus is coming.
Wrong. As I stood at the stop after the bus passed, I checked the schedule again and realized that my planned bus only ran during the academic year. It was about 40 minutes until the next bus. Now I wasn’t actually in a hurry and was going to spend the night in Dallas before flying out early Friday morning, so I could have easily just found someplace to wait for the next bus.
Instead I decided to walk to the train. It’s only about a mile, I thought. It was more like 2 miles. And I had that suitcase — on wheels but still. Sometimes I don’t know why I do these things. At least I got some exercise in.
I was near downtown when a young man, maybe in his late teens, approached me from the opposite direction. He said something about me walking with a suitcase, and I said it wasn’t that far. Then he gave me a High Five.
I did reach the train station about 10 minutes before the commuter train left. The DART showed up just a few minutes after I reached the transfer station. Unlike the outgoing trip, the return trip required less waiting for trains. On DART someone came by to check tickets, and I pulled up my now-activated day pass (and also now unnecessary because I ended up only needing a 2-hour pass).
At the Dallas DART station, instead of taking the bus to the airport, I headed to my next bed. The host (another airbnb stay) had recommended Uber, but I, of course, decided to walk. Another mile or so with my suitcase through an unknown neighborhood. It was perfectly safe and not difficult except for dragging my suitcase through some mud near a construction site. By this point it was around 6 o’clock. I had left the conference around 3:30.
My host greeted me with a glass of wine and pointed out some nearby dinner options before he left. I spent the night and requested an Uber car early the next morning (around 4:00) to get to the airport for my 6 am flight. Piece of cake.
Cost: Denton-Dallas-Love Field approximately $16
The other week I flew into Dallas for a conference. I had a limited travel budget and didn’t want to pay out of pocket. One measure I took was to use airbnb instead of the conference hotel. I also used public transit to get to and from the airports.
9:30AM – walk to MetroLink station
~ 9:40AM – train arrives
Cost: free with my university ID
~10:00 AM – arrive at airport, check my bag, head to security
~10:10 AM – At my gate! Narrowly beat a school group through the TSA line
Flight left at 11:45 AM and was scheduled to arrive in Dallas at 1:25 PM, but I think we even landed early.
Got my bag at baggage claim and followed the signs for the Love Link 524 bus outside. I walked past taxi pickup, car rental shuttles, other shuttles, and many people blocking the sidewalk with their bags. I thought I was going the wrong way so turned around and then turned back. The bus stop was at the very end way past everything else. I got there just a few minutes before the bus arrived.
Cost: Free because I was coming from the airport
The bus ride was about 15 minutes and dropped me off at the DART station. A nice man at the station showed me how to get a ticket and which side of the platform to wait on. He recommended a 2-hour ticket to get from the station to Denton.
Cost: $2.50 for a 2-hour pass
The DART trip was pretty quick and took me to the station where I could catch the commuter train. At this point it was 2:45. The commuter train didn’t arrive until around 3:30. What to do?! I considered taking Uber the rest of the way. I started walking the length of the platform to at least get some exercise. The train arrived — early, I thought — and I boarded the blissful air-conditioned space.
The train may have arrived but wasn’t leaving until 3:30 anyway. So I sat on the train and talked to my husband on the phone. Once we started moving, the rest of the trip was fast, and I arrived at the computer station by 4 pm.
Cost: still covered under my 2-hour pass
My airbnb host picked me up at the station; otherwise, I had planned on walking.
While waiting ~40 minutes for the last train wasn’t ideal, especially since I was hungry (Points for chocolate covered almonds in my bag), I wasn’t in a hurry. The conference didn’t start until the next day. I still got in in time to head downtown (on foot) and grab dinner and go to bed at a decent time.
Total travel cost for the day (not counting my airfare): $2.50.