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Traveling with Your Teen

Unique Lodging Adds a Special Touch to College Visits

Planning college visit trips consists of a combination of many tasks, including arranging personalized on-campus arrangements, figuring out the best dates and routes, and taking care of logistics such as accommodations and transportation.

When making lodging arrangements for college visits, many parents automatically think of the usual chain hotels as the best alternative. But as I have discovered over the past few years, with a bit of searching, there are some wonderful alternatives that can add a nice touch to your college trip experience.

When planning our recent visit to Skidmore College, I shared with my son that I thought the beautiful and historic town of Saratoga Springs would be a great place to find a unique hotel. I did some research and happened upon the Inn at Saratoga—I was not disappointed!

Inn at Saratoga NYOnly 1.5 miles from the Skidmore campus, the Inn at Saratoga is not your average hotel. What we found on check-in was a mix of old world Victorian charm and all of the modern conveniences we desired after a long day walking the campus. Our guest-room featured antique-style décor and the most amazing pillow-top beds! We enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast in a cozy atmosphere with a warm fireplace. I had specifically searched for a hotel within walking distance of the many restaurants, shops and other venues on Broadway, Saratoga’s downtown and we were just two blocks from the action.

Be adventurous!

You do have to be somewhat adventurous when deciding on these lodgings; unless you know someone who’s been there (while many schools do have travel portals on their site listing available accommodations in the area, they do not offer actual recommendations), you are dependent on online reviews, websites and/or travel brochures. Before arrival, I always warn my son or daughter that it might be an adventure and I can’t guarantee the level of accommodations.

We’ve had great experiences in most places. And there are other options besides hotels. We’ve stayed in wonderful bed and breakfasts, including the delightful The Welch House in Clinton, NY when visiting Hamilton College. I’ve stayed in the home of an ‘empty-nester’ couple in Northampton, MA when visiting Smith College; it was just a few blocks’ walk from the campus, which meant I didn’t need to rent a car while in town. Access to websites like homeaway.com and airbnb.com have expanded the possibilities for all types of accommodations from single rooms, to apartments, to single family homes.

If you’re up for something different, you’re willing to be somewhat adventurous, and willing to give up your preferred traveler points, think about making alternative lodging arrangements for your next college visit trip.

Janice Caine

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