“Going away to college takes planning to ease the stress and financial burden,” said John McCarthy, president of the GO Group, the nation’s largest airport and ground transportation provider. “Our team has uncovered a few ides to make the move smoother.”
The Phoenix area is home to more than 20 higher learning institutions including 11 private universities and Arizona State University (ASU), a top public university. This wide selection of academic choices attracts more than a quarter of a million students to the Valley of the Sun each year. Many students already call the Valley or Arizona home. Some do not. ASU alone hosts students from 43 states around the nation as well as more than 3,000 international students, including more than 15 percent of all graduate students. Other Phoenix area colleges from world-renowned Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Thunderbird School of Global Management to the lesser known Arizona Culinary Institute and Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture (PIHMA), attract even more.
If you, or someone you know, is traveling to college this year, here are some tips for making the trip easier:
Lighten your load
Ship items to your college address. Leave winter clothes at home, especially if family members will be visiting campus during the Fall semester for Parents’ Weekends, games, performances or other events. This is especially important if you are flying to college since many airlines have checked luggage fees. If you are purchasing new furnishings for your dorm room or apartment, consider shopping online or checking the shipping policies of your favorite retailers that way you don’t have to pack anything at all.
Share the ride
Ground transportation can be pricey and difficult if you don’t have your own vehicle. Share a ride whenever you can where it’s public transportation shared ride services, car-sharing service like ZipCar or just riding with a friend or roommate.
Seek out the lowest fares
Not everyone flies to college but if you do, you’ll want to make sure you get the lowest airfare available. Fares tend to be lowest on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays (except holiday weekends) so try to plan your move-in dates with that in mind. You should still be as flexible as possible with your travel dates, however, since some promotions or special fares may be available on other days. And don’t forget to check fares from discount airlines like Southwest or JetBlue, as well as the major carriers. Finally, keep your luggage to the absolute minimum since many airlines now charge for checked luggage.
College is an amazing experience. Getting there may not be a big part of the fun, but by following these simple tips, it doesn’t have to be unpleasant or expensive, either.