Taking the luggage to dad’s office to ship to college. Photo credit Dana Zucker, Triathlon Traveling Mom.

Dana’s twins are headed for college very soon and she’s sharing with you her tips for moving kids to college.

One of my greatest joys in life has been raising strong, confident, adventurous, and smart kids.  My husband and I made a decision early in their lives that we would always encourage them to step into uncomfortable places and understand that the world is bigger than where they live.

This has proven to be a blessing and a curse.


While they gained the above, it meant sleep away camp, summer travel around the world, and now college that requires them to move far away from home.  I am happy for them, but it is so hard to imagine them gone; not just for a couple of weeks of summer camp, but possibly never living at home again.

Excuse me while I wipe my tears.

The logistics to getting the twins off to college has proved to be a bit of a challenge for this novice.  They are going far enough away and are not close enough to each other, that we can’t just load up the car and go.

But, since I need to make this move easy for them and for me, too, I have come up with tips for taking kids to college that seem to have worked well to see them off.  Many of these tips I also use when booking vacation rentals; ordering food and toiletries from an on-line store and having them shipped to our rental.  No sense in reinventing the wheel.

Find out the procedure for move-in day.

If shipping luggage and packages is allowed, have your college-bound student ask on the student Facebook page if anyone has tried it. I have two heading off and both schools have different policies. One discourages shipping luggage and large items, but will take books and small packages. This is due to space concerns and the difficulty of moving all the boxes from the mail area to dorms. The other twin’s school doesn’t allow shipping of dorm stuff AT ALL. We are lucky enough to have family a few hours away and shipped everything there.  I also had some items shipped to our hotel.

Don’t count on items being available when you get to the school.  Although the major retailers know the students are coming, they still run out of many items!  The kids will be under enough stress, so they shouldn’t have to worry about not having move-in supplies.

Photo by Jamie Bartosch/Suburban TravelingMom

Photo by Jamie Bartosch/Suburban TravelingMom

Use Bed Bath and Beyond student plans.

Go to your local store and tell the guest services’ personnel what you are there for.  They will not only print out the college’s list – yes they have them – but, will also work with you to determine the best way to arrange delivery.  You can ship or arrange to have it all boxed up and ready to go at the local Bed Bath and Beyond.

Book your rental car early and make sure you get an appropriate sized car.

We tend to go with Avis and use our loyalty status with them for discounts and upgrades.  This time, prices were high, but through a twitter mention, they gave me an additional discount.

Savor every moment with your kids, but allow others to do the same.

Photo creidt: Triathlon TravelingMoms

Photo creidt: Triathlon TravelingMoms

It is very hard for me not to be with the twins when they are here and sometimes, I reluctantly step back to give my husband those precious moments. But, when I do, it just feels so right and when I see them together…Okay, I need the tissues again.

Order online and ship!

I use ebates and price shop on and Vitacost.  I order everything, from shampoo and toothpaste to laundry detergent and food.  One note: Take advantage of the free shipping by watching the weight limits.  You may need to place multiple orders, but it will save you money.  Also, set up autoship each month for additional discounts on items you know they’ll need.

Book flights early and look at luggage policies and your needs.

A larger airport, 30 additional minutes away, may have better prices and better rental car rates.

Order books before you go and price shop them.

Each of our twins saved more than $200 by spending a few minutes comparing sites.  Between Barnes & Noble, Chegg, and the school book stores, we found huge differences in costs and found renting is not always cheaper. A friend also went to her local half-price book store and found all her daughter needed cheaper than online.  She is going to a local school, however.

Book your hotel early and ask about university discounts.

Also, book for parents’ weekend and any other dates you may need, like Homecoming or alumni weekends.  These hotels fill up VERY early.

tips for moving kids to college

Dana and Syd all settled in the dorm room. Photo credit Dana Zucker, Triathlon Traveling Mom.

Breathe, breathe, and then breathe some more.

I know it is hard, but know you have raised them right and they are ready.  A friend told us the other day that the final step is looking in the mirror and realizing you did it!  Then, go have a stiff drink and book your flight for parents’ weekend!  When is their first break?