I’ll be moving from New York into a UCF apartment. What are the best ways for me to visit home?

On behalf of the Sunshine State, welcome! I've lived in Florida my whole life, and it's often joked that we have just as many New Yorkers here as New York (especially when the "snowbirds" come down for the winter), so you should feel right at home soon! While you'll be at the University of Central Florida most of the time, it is crucial that you maintain your support system at home and make the time to visit your friends and family - even if you find you've quickly adapted to our warm weather. There are a few great options for travel, easily accessible from UCF apartments, so you can head home for the weekend or after the semester.

Orlando International Airport

Located just a few miles outside of downtown Orlando, Orlando International Airport (MCO) is a great option for travel, with dozens of airlines and hundreds of flight options to get you home. Even if you don't live near the UCF Downtown Campus or in one of the apartments near the airport, you'll find it's easy to get to from the apartments near UCF, with plenty of parking options. However, since MCO is the gateway for thousands to Orlando's many theme parks, you will find they're often very busy - in fact, they're one of the United States' busiest airports. Be sure you budget enough time to get through traffic and then security if you choose to fly home through Orlando International.

Orlando Sanford International Airport

When you're crunching the numbers to figure out how you can afford a flight home with a tight student budget, it's worth looking into Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB). It's a little further out from the heart of Orlando, though still a pretty quick drive from UCF apartments. Fortunately, what you sacrifice in that convenience, you make up for in cost. Most flights are going to be cheaper out of SFB than they will be out of MCO, though you have fewer options to choose from. Be sure to check if this is a viable option for you, factoring in any flight savings with the cost of extra gas, but it could be a better option for you and your wallet when you're planning a trip back.

Note: when booking flights, make sure you know which Orlando airport you're leaving from and returning to. I had a friend book two one-way flights for vacation, but he accidentally flew home to SFB after flying out of MCO. He had to get a cab to go get his car from the other airport!

Orlando Health/Amtrak Station

If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, then this could be the best bet for you! Located about twenty minutes from the heart of campus and most UCF apartments, Orlando Station not only offers access to the SunRail, the commuter system for Orlando, but also Amtrak, which enables you to head home by taking the scenic route up the East Coast. This isn't the most convenient option in terms of the time it takes compared to a plane ride, but it can be a fun experience. You can take advantage of Amtrak's travel planning map to see if this option makes sense for you (and if you can save some money on the cost of your travel) if you head home via train! You'll probably also find that, between your friends, classmates and neighbors, there is likely someone else heading to New York that may be willing to carpool if you chip in for gas. The drive is a long one but traveling home doesn't get much cheaper than that. While the University of Central Florida will soon become your home away from home, your home will be there waiting for you to visit. Safe travels!
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