How To Plan A College Tour Vacation You’ll Never Forget

March 4, 2024

Visiting prospective colleges is an exciting and vital step for your soon-to-be high school graduate. Getting the most out of your trip and making it something the whole family will love requires planning. Here are some tips on how to plan a college tour vacation that you and the family will never forget.

1. Research Prospective Colleges

The first step in planning your high school student’s college tour is deciding which schools and regions to focus your time and energy on. Diversify your options once you have an area and a few schools in mind. Add public and private schools to your itinerary — you never know what will be the best fit for your teen.

Students walking in university hall.

2. Start Planning College Tours ASAP

If you are road-tripping to a university, ensure your student has secured a space on the admissions tour. Do not leave anything to chance. Plan what campuses you want to visit, contact the tour team and ensure you are all set before buckling up and heading on a college tour vacation.

Timing is everything. Align your schedule with campus open days or the college’s suggested best times to visit. Often, the best time of year is September through mid-October. However, summer and high school spring break are also typically good times, as well as late spring before the start of the summer term.

Remember apps like the KOA Camping App to streamline your planning.

3. Establish a Budget for the Trip

Road trips are fun and almost always more cost-effective than flying. To save on costs, select stay types that are not budget-breaking and have various on-site amenities. The more facilities you have on the grounds, the less you are likely to spend on fun and entertainment off-site between campus tours.

Aim to spend 58% of your budget on lodging, 32% on gas and 10% on food. Consider using reward and loyalty programs to get the most out of the college road trips.

4. Find Conveniently Located Accommodations

Choose lodging that is relatively close to your college tour. Remember that accommodations within walking distance of the campus may be expensive and small.

The best of both worlds is choosing campgrounds near major routes and highways with the space and affordability you need during your stay.

A beautiful fall day on the quad of the University of Illinois in Champaign. The Student Union is in the background.

5. Plan to Enjoy the College’s Surroundings

The purpose of the college tour vacation is to find your graduate the perfect place to study after high school. You can make it memorable, though, by planning elements around the tours. Staying at nearby campgrounds is the ideal way to unwind and help you find a place to stay for future visits.

Book Affordable Stays for Your College Tour Trips

Exploring colleges is exciting for your high schoolers. You can make the trip fun for the family with Kampgrounds of America. KOA has 500-plus campgrounds across North America, making road-tripping a breeze. Plan the schools you want to visit and find affordable stays at a nearby KOA Campground.

KOA offers various Pull-Thru and Back-In RV Sites, traditional Tent Sites and cabins. Each campground has unique on-site amenities and activities for the family to enjoy between tours.

Start planning a college tour road trip — find a KOA Campground and book your stay.

About the Author: Kampgrounds of America

Kampgrounds of America is the largest system of open-to-the-public campgrounds in the world, with over 500 locations across the United States and Canada. Founded in Billings, MT in 1962, KOA’s family of campground brands – KOA Journey, KOA Holiday and KOA Resort – today serve more than a million camping families each year. KOA is dedicated to “connecting people to the outdoors and each other” by providing people with a variety of camping experiences and the information they need to make the most of their camping trip. Read more of their camping and travel resources by visiting



Enjoy a Greater Slice of the Great Outdoors

Discover even more room to enjoy outdoor living with a KOA Patio Site®. These spacious sites offer your very own patio equipped with outdoor furniture and the perfect place for a fire. Wake up and enjoy a cup of coffee with the sunrise and spend an evening relaxing with family and friends.

Learn More