29 Feb College Road Trip Planning – OMG!
Many families plan college road trips with their teen and everything goes fine. That said, many parents get overly stressed trying to plan a multi-day family road trip. With many tours for both family and clients under our belts, we thought we would share some potential landmines to watch out for.
Planning a multi-campus parent-teen college road trip can strike fear into the hearts of even the most experienced traveler, especially if the trip starts by traveling cross-country or for that matter, across an ocean. To pull it off successfully and not be worried that by mid-trip you might not be speaking with your teen (or for that matter your spouse) takes a multitude of expert skills including;
- researching college websites
- logistics (determining your route and on-campus arrangements)
- travel planning (booking hotels, air and ground transportation)
- cold call expertise for finding the right contacts and pinning down those meetings with students, professors and coaches.
Comparing online map directions to the schools’ website directions can even fluster professional travel planners. And trying to determine the best route to the colleges’ visitor parking garages can be downright difficult.
Is this something your teen can do?
Sure. Just be aware that they might have to shorten their study time and get up extra early, to make appointments in a different time zone. Since they probably have never planned a family vacation they might also have to skip their athletic practice to pore over campus schedules and find GPS coordinates for facilities on campus. Also, are you ready to hand over your credit card for hotel and airline reservations?
If your student doesn’t yet have a college list spend some time with your student looking at Virtual Reality college tours. Purchase Google Cardboard to get started. Virtual Tours give students a sense of the campus facilities, but visiting a campus and speaking with students, professors and coaches is still preferred by the majority of high school students. It’s great to see beautiful facilities and hear from students on a virtual tour, but it’s hard to determine if your teen will really like the campus unless you have actual conversations with real students and professors in person.
Pulling together a road trip that visits five to ten campuses in like 5 days across multiple states can be like solving a New York Times crossword puzzle.
The first thing you want to do is to determine when you and your teen can travel. It’s important to check his/her calendar for music recitals, sports practices and other events that might prevent you from traveling the night before.
Other questions that need to be answered might include:
- Did you check the college calendar for spring break, reading period and commencement?
- Is it better to fly or to drive? Getting to the airport, flying, renting a car and driving to the college might take the same amount of time.
- What order should you visit? New York –> Massachusetts –> New Jersey or New Jersey –> New York then Massachusetts? Depending on your list of schools, the events, and where you might stay, it probably will take multiple iterations of the itinerary; then it might change days before you leave.
College Visits are critical
Despite all of the work it might take to put these trips together, college presidents, high school counselors, and students alike agree—on-campus visits are critical. Students get an intimate feel for each campus they step foot on, helping them to feel confident about the decisions they will make about choosing a school.
So start early, do your research and if you start to get overly stressed, or time is running short, call us.