How to Plan a Road Trip in College

While at college and taking classes fully online last semester, my friends and I got bored with being cooped up in our tiny apartment. I am the type of person who is always doing something and is fueled by being around other people (which does not come in handy during a pandemic). That being said, I was craving some spontaneity and adventure. I thought to myself: what can my friends and I do that is COVID friendly, cheap and out of the ordinary? ROAD TRIP TIME! The idea of a road trip in itself and escaping our day-to-day apartment life was exciting to me, but even more exciting was the thought of “where to?” I needed to find an exciting location that was within driving distance, and that's when I thought of the amazing idea to go to Niagara Falls, New York.

 

As soon as the idea came to mind, I immediately told my friends and they fell in love. We started off by looking for Airbnbs in the area that were affordable, had good reviews, were close to the state park and could fit all my friends. (Tip: Research the area you plan to stay in to make sure it’s safe. The area surrounding Niagara Falls State Park is fairly dangerous; the closer you can stay to the falls, the better. This goes for any unfamiliar place you are staying in). Once we found our Airbnb, we scheduled a date far enough in advance so we were all available. The only thing we planned in advance for our trip was the Maid of the Mist Tour. We bought these tickets in advance because we knew this was something we wanted to do. Prior to our trip, everyone got COVID tested to make sure that everyone was negative, just to be safe. Once the count down was over, we packed our bags and hit the road. 

The day we left for our trip, we woke up at 5am to get our eight hour road trip started. We packed the two cars we were taking, stopped for coffee and we were en route. Besides taking some of my virtual classes from the front seat of the car, the car ride felt so quick because my friends and I were laughing and singing the whole way there. Warning: about halfway through the car ride, an Alicia Keys throwback session is required. Once we arrived, we decided to hang out at our Airbnb for the night. We played games, blasted music and over ordered on pizza and fries.

Day two was by far my favorite day. We woke up and got brunch at the cutest little coffee shop called The Spot. This coffee shop was in the town surrounding the park. After this, we walked to the park to see the falls. When I first got a glimpse of that rapid blue water, I got chills, and that wasn’t even the best part. We walked all around the park and just took in the beautiful scenery and the falls from all the different viewpoints – there were many. We then waited in the long line for the Maid of Mist Tour. This is the boat ride that takes you right under the falls; The Office fans, you know the one. Once the long wait was over, we put on our bright pink ponchos and hopped on the huge boat. 

The ride exceeded my expectations by far. I cannot put into words, or even pictures, how beautiful the falls were from the boat. The boat ride was filled with screams, laughs, pictures and A LOT of water. Between the sounds of water, the misty air, the double rainbow, the doves flying above us and being with my best friends, I felt like I was in an alternate universe. When the ride was over, our adrenaline was through the roof and we all wanted to do it again. Unfortunately, we couldn’t, but I can't wait until the day I go back. 

After our magical boat ride, we roamed around the park for a little; however, we were sopping wet and felt like we were going to freeze, so we headed back to our Airbnb shortly after. The next day, we headed back to The Spot because, yes, it was that good. We roamed around the park again and discovered many different viewpoints that we missed out on the day before. I definitely recommend going to Niagara Falls in the spring or fall because the orange, yellow, red and green leaves made the experience even more beautiful. We stopped at some gift shops and of course bought some souvenirs before heading back to our place. 

 

For our last night, we went to a nice Italian dinner. We put on our cutest outfits, got ready to go and were ready to fill our bellies with carbs. The place we went to was called Fortuna’s. This place was so good and gave me all the Italy vibes. After a fun night out, we sadly packed up our bags and got ready to head home the next morning. Our car ride home was not nearly as fun as the way there (it never is), but sharing pictures from our trip and reminiscing on our favorite moments definitely made it better. Overall, this trip was so fun, cheap and easy to plan. Perfect for any college student!