I’ll be moving into an apartment near USF from out of town; what are my best options for long distance travel?

Photo of 5 West Apartments5 West is located minutes from the Tampa International Airport with quick access to 589, Downtown Tampa, and the Westshore business district.

Welcome to the Sunshine State! You may soon feel like the University of South Florida is your home away from home, but as a college student, it's so important to make the time to visit your family and friends from out of town. Fortunately, you have a few strong options close to USF apartments that will get you home for the semester breaks - or maybe just the weekend!

Tampa International Airport

In Tampa, we take a lot of pride in how awesome TPA is - I mean, just check out their Instagram account. The airport has a lot to offer, from great restaurants to dozens of nonstop flights. While there are several apartment options right next to Tampa International Airport, the airport is conveniently located close to USF apartments - just hop on I-275! Security is generally a breeze to get through, though I would still plan to get there at least an hour in advance of your flight. In the event you end up waiting to board, you can always grab an outlet (there are plenty around), plug in your phone or laptop and enjoy the free WiFi!

St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport

What's not to love about an airport with "PIE" as its code? Located on the other side of Tampa Bay in Clearwater, St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport might be a little further from the apartments near USF - unless, of course, you live near the USF St. Petersburg campus - but you can often find great deals on flights, sometimes under $100 roundtrip. Most of the flights out of PIE are via Allegiant, which predominantly flies to regional airports on specific days of the week, so be sure to check if it's a viable option for you to get home. It could end up being even more convenient for you, especially once you factor in the cost of getting to and from the airport.

Union Station

Prefer to keep your feet on the ground? Union Station could be the perfect option for you especially if you're headed to points north! It's located in downtown Tampa, only about twenty minutes away from USF apartments, and it offers the option to head north via Amtrak train, journeying up the East Coast. This is definitely more time consuming than flying, but it can be a really fun experience - plus, a great way to see the coast! It I'd recommend taking advantage of the travel planning map to see if this makes sense for you. Bonus: if you can dedicate the time to the ride, you can often snag a train ride for a better price than a flight out of TPA!

I would also recommend checking with your friend groups on campus, as well as the neighbors in your USF apartment, to see if anyone is driving up north when you want to go. As long as you pitch in gas money, you'll likely find someone willing to carpool. I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time at the University of South Florida, and I'm sure your friends and family will love hearing all about it when you make the trip home. Safe travels!

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