The orange fluoresce of each delicate leaf shimmers in the faded rays of sun. Soon, she will stand bare with a pile of crunchy fluff below that is so so fruitful one can’t help but imagine diving in. She is “Maggie,” the oldest and most glorious tree at the center of campus.
Despite all the grumblings of the East Coast being a horrible place to live, I still love returning to my alma mater for homecoming in autumn. For just that short two-month window, I can forget about the biting cold winters and blistering hot summers. In the brief months of Autumn, everything looks and feels magical on the East Coast, even almost as good as the West Coast!
Homecoming stirs up a lot of nostalgia and excitement. The trumpets and drums ring true as the student band plays the theme song during the big rivalry game. You vaguely remember the words but mutter on through, proudly wearing your favorite college t-shirt, which is now faded and shrunk from so many years in the dryer. At last you are a student again!
Fall Freedom And Crunchy Leaves
Fall is a particularly kind month for travelers. School is in session and there are no major holidays except for Thanksgiving, which doesn’t arrive until after homecoming has come and gone anyway. As a result, flights and hotel arrangements are cheap, generally 30% lower, and you don’t have to fight the crowds.
As a vacation property owner, I’m always trying to increase occupancy during the months of September, October, and November. Average occupancy rates drop from 80-90% during the Summer down to only 30-40% in the Fall. As a result, I’m always looking to find ways to increase revenue by advertising more effectively in these slower months.
Autumn Is The Best Time To Travel
Lowering room rates is definitely one key strategy to getting more reservations. The other is offering incentives for priority bookings during the peak season if customers also book during low seasons. If you are OK with less crowds, cheaper fairs, beautiful weather, and bargain hotel rates, Autumn is the best time to go anywhere! The problem is that most people follow the herd, whether it’s going to lunch at 12 noon, leaving work between 5-6pm, or buying stocks at all-time highs.
If you can be your unique untemplate self and vacation when others are not, you will undoubtedly save an incredible amount of money. That’s why Fall is my go-to season to head anywhere and partly why going back for homecoming is so much fun.
Homecoming Is All About Memories
What’s more important than saving money though is experiencing nostalgia. On my homecoming trips, I spend hours each day walking the hallowed halls of my university. I visit the old bars where the gang and I would let loose after finals. I also make it a point to visit the places of all the “firsts,” e.g. the first “C“, the first time I saw her, the first place I passed out drunk, the first interview, and the first time my parents came to see me graduate. It’s so true that memories and experiences are much more precious than material things.
Going back for homecoming to experience your time as a student makes you appreciate everything you have now. All the hard work you put in those years at school has paid off. And you’re also reminded that you don’t need much to be happy. A bike, a roomie, a meal card, and some clothes were all I had to my name when I was a student and I was thrilled! Nothing brings back a flood of good memories like homecoming!
Untemplaters, are you going to homecoming this year? When was the last time you returned to your alma mater? Have you passed your 5, 10, 15+ year reunions yet?
Edward Antrobus says
I got a random mass-email last week from my school’s Alumni Affairs asking the same question. I actually laughed out loud at the thought. In 5 years, I only attended 2 sports games (3 if you count my sister’s high school field hockey championship that was hosted my college), so it makes little sense that I would travel 1800 miles to go see my D3 school loose another football game. Plus, I still get sick thinking about all the trash cans I emptied during the 2001 homecoming game while I was on loan to Building Services while the mailroom got decontaminated from potential anthrax exposure!
As far as fall itself goes, I’ve come to appreciate the unique charms of each season. I love walking around in a light jacket on a brisk day. It feels so invigorating!
Ah! Fall, nicely sugar coated! Ever tried raking leaves?!! 🙂 I do love fall!
E Okul says
Well I think the best time for travel is May because the weather is getting warmer and the joy of spring is everywhere.
do you really go to your college every single year? I could not wait to leave mine and have only been back maybe three or four times.
Financial Samurai says
I don’t, but I wish I did! October is the best time for travel to the east coast, and I’m still considering it. Homecoming for me is in 2 weeks! Which coast did you go to school?
west. I ventured east right after college.
Thomas S. Moore says
Oh how I miss the seasons, being in Florida it just always seems like one season, HOT!!!! I was just up in NYC for a conference and it was nice to get some cool air. I haven’t been to any of my class reunion not high school or college. To be honest not sure I ever will though I should. The first placed you passed out drunk is hilarious.
You should have a rental in NY and FL that way when they leave on they go up to the next. We get so many snow birds down here. Most of the people I hung out with in college I am still close to today and others I probably shouldn’t see.
Financial Samurai says
Oh man, HS reunions and college reunions are a BLAST! You get to see who has changed, stayed the same, made it mega big etc.
Buying rentals in FL now ain’t too bad of an idea!
I love Autumn! Although we don’t get very many leaves changing in California every now and then I’ll stumble across a tree that’s changing from green to yellow to orange and then red. Gorgeous!
I love to go on trips during September and October because like you said rates are good and places aren’t over flowing with summer crowds. Homecoming is a lot of fun too especially when you get to meet up with your closest friends from school. I went to mine one year even though my girlfriends couldn’t make it and still had a blast.
It’s neat how so much can change and stay as it was at the same time. It do feel my age a bit when I see all the super young students walking around with so much possibility before them, but it also makes me so happy of all the things I’ve done and the answers I’ve found since then. I always have major nostalgia when I’ve gone to homecoming. I’m gonna go bust out my old photo album now and have some laughs!
Financial Samurai says
Alas, no leaves changing here. Hawaii RT airfare deals are crazy now. Only $330!
You and your photo albums! Love it!