There’s nothing quite like the rush that college kids get from their newfound independence while being away from home. They are living in a community with thousands of people the same age, studying similar things and involving themselves in campus life. But as independent and invigorating as life on a college campus can be, it can feel a bit confining for students without a car.
Driving has always been a huge stress reliever for me. There’s nothing like the idea of just jumping in the car and going—whether that be a planned trip or a spontaneous adventure. If you can relate to this and don’t have a car on campus, let me put you on to something: Zipcar. Zipcar has completely changed the college experience for me and has offered so many more opportunities especially during this time of social distancing and COVID restrictions.
So, what is it? For starters, it’s an app. Download it if you don’t already have it. Zipcar is a car-sharing platform where you can basically rent a car for as short or as long as you want depending on what’s available. Want to rent a car for the weekend? Zipcar does it. Need to grab something at the store? Book a quick trip with a car nearby. It’s an absolute game-changer since most car rentals don’t even offer services to customers under the age of 25.
Every trip cost depends on the car you select and how long you book it for, but the average cost for an hour is equivalent to a one-way Uber ride down the street. I’ve rented cars for less than $10 an hour and the best part is I get to drive, blast my music and hit the drive-thru on the way back to my apartment. A regular subscription is around $70 a year, but there’s a huge student discount that you’d be crazy not to take advantage of. Students pay $25 a year for their subscription and every ride you book can range from $9 to $15.
I always worry about getting into a car accident, so I signed up with their insurance to cover damages just in case because I like to play it safe. And my weekly sunset drives around Baltimore have completely reshaped my semester. Sometimes just cruising on the highway can eliminate all the built-up stress from classes, assignments, COVID stress and etc. for a little while.
Some of my friends thought I was absolutely out of my mind for driving an hour to get a Dragonberry Pitaya bowl at the closest Playa Bowls, but it was the recharge I needed. For me at least, Playa Bowls is the piece of home I was craving—if you’re unfamiliar with the New Jersey native and East Coast acai chain, I’d highly recommend it if you’re into fruit and smoothies!
The freedom of being able to rent a car practically whenever I want has been amazing and I’ve already started planning road trips with my friends for the last stretch of the semester. If this sounds like something you want to start doing, definitely check out Zipcar and stop making your pockets hurt with overpriced Ubers!! Drive responsibly!