Travel on a dime

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.

 

 

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