Nebraska Fan Could Moonlight as a Budget Travel Specialist

Juan Rico is spending less for a round-trip to Madison for two than most NU fans are spending on game tickets alone.

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By Randy York

Juan Rico keeps more than busy as an IT specialist in Computing Services for the Nebraska Athletic Department. After this weekend, though, he might want to consider moonlighting as a budget travel specialist. He is, after all, probably spending the least amount of money a Husker fan can spend to travel from Nebraska to Madison and then back home after NU’s historic Big Ten Conference opener at Wisconsin.

I’ve never heard of Megabus, but learning how Rico spent just $55 for two roundtrip tickets between Omaha and Madison, he had both my attention and my doubt. “I was surprised, too,” Rico said, explaining how he learned about the low-cost, daily express service while reading a story on Omaha.com. Once he saw the schedule and learned that Megabus has carried more than 11 million passengers, he was sold. Rico went searching for logistics after winning his game ticket in a lottery. He was able to buy another one next to his for $50, increasing his total for game tickets and travel to only $105. Such huge savings enabled him to splurge on a heavily discounted $130 Friday night room (through Hotwire.com) in a marquee downtown Chicago hotel on Michigan Avenue. “We’re going to dine at either Gino’s East or Giordano’s for the amazing deep-dish pie that you only find in Chicago,” he said.

Asked if he was spending most of his weekend time on the bus, Rico smiles and says the entire trip couldn’t be planned much better. It begins with a comfortable, safe bus ride from Omaha to Chicago, includes a luxurious overnight stay in the Windy City followed by another bus ride from Chicago to Madison at 1 p.m. Saturday. Rico figures he will have plenty of time for pregame and postgame celebration. “We’re going to hang out in Madison until 2 a.m. after the game, then catch the bus to Chicago,” he said, adding the bus leaves Chicago for Omaha at 9 a.m. Sunday.

“I’m planning to spend about $200 on food and beverages, plus miscellaneous expenses on the trip, which will bring my overall total to $435 for two for the entire weekend,” Rico said with a certain pride. Reminded that he will be spending less in two days than most Nebraska fans will be spending on tickets alone, Rico smiles again. I think he knows he could be a crackerjack travel service specialist somewhere if he wanted. But right now, he’s enjoying the benefits of his own service, thank you.

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