Campus was a hive of activity last week as the university finished its last freshman orientation session and weathered “Great Move in Day”, the day when students return to the dormitories. Many of the 2,000 incoming freshmen were accompanied by parents. A fair number of these arrived from out of state and some from international locations. I cringed to think about the cost of airline tickets. Orientation sessions have been held throughout the summer and these are attended by both student and parents. Just a few weeks later, they are making the trip again. I had to hope that they knew how to find good deals on airfare.
I learned about shopping for airline tickets the hard way. During the three year period that Calico and I were separated by a thousand miles, I flew north at least once a month for a weekend visit. At first, I just called the airline and gave my credit card information. A friend, who travelled frequently, showed me the value of making multiple phone calls. The first agent he talked with could find nothing less than a $400 ticket. The next cut that figure in half. The forth call was the winner, with a charge of $120. All of the fares were for the same date and flight! Eventually, online reservation sites became more prominent and it became far easier to compare flights offered by competing airlines. I can’t say that I grew to love those regular trips, but being able to get a good deal helped to sweeten the times when flights got delayed or bad weather made the trip a bit rocky.
As an off-campus student, Calico didn’t have to worry about air flights or moving in to a dorm, but she and Miss Muffin did attend some of the kick-off events and chatted with incoming students and families. Tips for finding good airfare deals was a common theme in these talks. While the tips are still fresh in their minds, I think parents should do one final travel search. This time for a fall vacation. Without the kids. 😀