Should students travel home for Thanksgiving?

Illustration: Madalyn Drewno - The Sentry

Illustration: Madalyn Drewno – The Sentry

Opinion by Samantha Register

Students shouldn’t feel obligated to go home for Thanksgiving or feel guilt-tripped by family members into making the trip. Traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday has become so inconvenient that it’s understandable for students to want to avoid the trip home altogether.

Students who drive themselves home for Thanksgiving are likely to find themselves stuck in unbearable traffic. According to Reuters, in 2017, a record 50.9 million Americans drove 50 miles or more during Thanksgiving week. The Denver Metro Area is one of the worst regions for Thanksgiving traffic in the country, ranking 13th worst in the nation by Google in 2015, based on how slow traffic has moved. Driving in Colorado in late November also has the possibility of snow, which leads to slower traffic and more accidents.

For students with family out of state who require flying home for Thanksgiving, airfare has generally been costlier than average for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Traveling during these times is usually accompanied by long lines, delays, and an overall stressful experience at the airport.

Additionally, according to a recent report from ABC30, this year ticket prices are expected to be particularly high due to price of crude oil steadily increasing over the last three years. It’s unfair to demand that students, who are likely already preoccupied with tuition costs, travel during the most expensive time of the year.

It’s possible to avoid expensive Thanksgiving Day airfare by booking flights in advance or taking an early morning flight. However, while CU Denver students don’t have class Thanksgiving week, many might have work obligations that require working throughout the week or even on Thanksgiving Day. For many students, it may be difficult to request time off work.

Traveling over Thanksgiving week involves navigating traffic predictions, parking, airport lines, work schedules, and potentially spending a lot of money. Students who decide to make the trip home could very likely find themselves so overwhelmed with stress that they aren’t able to enjoy themselves anyway.


Opinion by Jovan Ravenscroft

The holidays can be such a stressful time, especially for students on campus. From finals and the many migraines that come with them to stretching every dollar to afford gifts for friends and family, there’s a lot to get done before students can finally relax for the holidays. With so many people scrambling to see their folks for just one meal of turkey and potatoes, many people might question whether it’s worth it. In lamest terms: yes. And in any other way: most definitely.

From an article titled “Holiday Traditions: The Need for Flexibility” by Shoba Sreenivasan, Ph.D., and Linda E. Weinberger, Ph.D., the holidays are, in part, made to be spent with the family. The article stated that “holidays tend to have traditional components attached to them. For example, We always go to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house the night before and exchange gifts,” and, “Aunt Mary always brings her macaroni and cheese casserole.”

Holidays without family, quite simply, are the uncooked turkey, the not-mashed potato, and the can of pie filling with no crust to put it in: it’s incomplete. To come home to loved ones after spending a long time apart should not be just exclusive to the December holidays but to Thanksgiving as well.

For students who still have close family ties, it is almost dire to be sure to catch the next flight or to clear some time from the work schedule to be sure that they can make the drive for their own Griswold Family Dinner.

Looking at travel, broadly, to turn down family over financial detriment is perfectly understandable; however, an effort should at least be made to contact them and still wish them a happy holiday. However, if there are ways to scout, scalp, bargain, or finagle a way to get the next flight to see Mom and Pop, it’s well worth considering.

It is these traditional roots, steeped in family-oriented tradition, love, affection, and sharing that makeup what Thanksgiving means. The holidays are not only meant to fill the belly but the heart as well, and there is no better way to do that than going back home on the greatest day of gratitude of the year.

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