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Booking Travel When Considering Colleges

November 26th, 2012 · No Comments · Travel Tips

Making Plans to Visit Prospective Universities

University of Oregon Campus

For recent high school graduates weighing college options, there is simply no substitute for actually going to the schools, touring the facilities, meeting some of the faculty, and taking a stroll around the campus. Doing so gives them a “feel” for the colleges of interest, in a way that looking at websites and brochures just can’t.

However, all of that travel can be expensive, and the more schools are on the must-see list, the more expensive it gets. So, how can prospective students (and their parents) save money by making smart travel decisions?

Shop Around for Colleges

With the great variety of travel websites, there’s no excuse not to shop around for the best deal on travel. Whether your graduate is going for an associate of the arts degree, a masters in psychology, or the prospective student plans to pursue a doctor of education degree, you’ll need to save all the money you can to pay for books, tuition, and room and board.

Websites such as Travelocity, Priceline, Orbitz, and Kayak are great places to find the best rates on hotels, rental cars, and airline tickets. Make sure you check compare prices at multiple websites. Their prices are usually comparable, but you never know when one might be offering a special that is unavailable through the others.

It’s also a good idea to check with travel agents, as they may have access to unpublished rates.

Be Flexible About Traveling Around the Country

If at all possible, make your travel dates somewhat flexible. Flexibility can be a huge advantage when you’re trying to save money. This is because airline tickets and hotel accommodations on certain days can be in high demand, and therefore, quite pricey, while tickets or rooms for the day before or the day after might be much less expensive.

If your travel dates and times are flexible, make sure to indicate that on the booking website, or notify your travel agent, in order to get the best deals.

Read the Fine Print

Whoever you book your travel through, make sure you read the fine print regarding voucher policies, re-booking, itinerary changes, and travel insurance.

For example, travel insurance can be a great deal, or it can be totally unnecessary, depending on what is covered, and whether or not your regular insurance provider covers. Check with your home and auto insurance providers, and even your credit card companies, to see if travel mishaps are covered under one of your existing policies or accounts (they might be).

Even if they aren’t, you may be able to purchase travel insurance through your existing provider, at a discounted rate.

Two Birds, One Stone

If some of the colleges you’re interested in attending are in close proximity to one another, try to make your travel arrangements so you can visit multiple schools in one trip. This can dramatically cut travel costs and save time.

And, while you’re at it, take some time to take in the sights. Building a little R&R time into your travel schedule can make it all the more enjoyable, and give you time to weigh your decisions carefully.

[Photo Via: uonews.uoregon.edu]

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