02 Aug Part 5 – Taking Care of Logistics
Once you have decided on your college road trip route, its time to take care of the logistics and make your arrangements. Having an understanding of what to expect and how to move forward in an organized manner will help make the process go smoothly.
Allow Enough Time in Each City or Town
The first thing you need to do is figure out how much time you will need in each college town that you will be visiting. If you will be on college campuses when classes are in session and you’ve got several individual activities and/or meetings planned, (and you can afford the time), you’ll want to allow a full day for each campus visit – it’s part of what a college visit road trip is all about. Unless you’re willing to forgo customized arrangements at some of the schools and/or they’re in close proximity to each other (such as UPenn & Drexel and Carnegie Mellon & University of Pittsburgh), you’ll find that you will want enough time to allow your teen to truly experience the culture of the college community.
Also allow time for unscheduled stops and think about things that could pop up suddenly. Planning for the unexpected will keep the stress to a minimum.
College Visit Transportation – Air
The next step in planning a college visit road trip is taking care of your transportation needs. Let’s start with air travel arrangements. There are certain things you will need to consider if you are flying from one destination to another. In some metropolitan areas, such as Chicago and Washington, DC, there is more than one airport that serves the region.
Make sure that you book your flights into the airport that is most convenient for you to get to the college that you are visiting first. For instance, if you will be visiting Johns Hopkins, George Washington and Georgetown and the first visit is to Johns Hopkins, it makes the most sense to book your flight into Baltimore/Washington International Airport instead of into Dulles or Reagan National.
Transportation – Trains, Planes and Automobiles
You’ll also want to consider your best options when going shorter distances. Uber or a taxi might be something to consider. Perhaps you are heading from Princeton University to NYU. It may make more sense logistically for you to take the train instead of driving to New York. It is both expensive and difficult to find parking in New York and you most likely will not be using the car during your stay in the city.
Check out all your options before you confirm your transportation arrangements.
College Road Trip Lodging
You can follow the same guidelines when making your hotel arrangements. If possible, make arrangements at a nearby hotel that will make getting to campus easy. If you’re planning to take public transportation, note the distance from the hotel to the closest metro or bus stop. Its an added bonus if you can walk to campus, especially in a city, where parking on campus is extremely limited and street parking may be metered and/or short-term.
Pre-departure & Itineraries
Prior to departure, you will want to make sure that youve got all of your travel information in a place that makes it easy for you to retrieve. When working with my clients, I prepare two different written itineraries for their trip. One is an Overview Itinerary that gives a quick glance at what is happening for each day that they will be away. The other is a daily, detailed itinerary.
For each day I list everything that will happen on that day, in the order that the events will take place. The itinerary includes any special directions; where to meet for the group tour; where to park, etc. It includes approximate time needed to get from one place to another and the contacts for each activity.
Chances are, you won’t need the contact information, but its great to have it on hand just in case. After all, when planning a college visit road trip you want to be prepared. Try to keep any maps, meal tickets, parking passes, travel documents, etc. in one place so they’re easily accessible. If you follow the guidelines above, you’ll find that the planning process will run smoothly and you’ll feel more confident about your plans as departure day approaches.