Find a place to stay during your student’s Summit.
Our newest blog series — #TravelTipTuesday — covers travel topics to help our families feel equipped for their Summit experience. If you missed any posts in series, you can catch up by clicking here.
We know that many families opt to stay and vacation in the host city of their child’s Summit. This can be a great way to explore some of the sights of the host city and experience unforgettable travel at the same time your student is learning, growing, and having fun at their Summit. This week, we wanted to offer some of our favorite resources to parents planning their summer travels.
If you have a preferred hotel brand, we suggest going directly to the hotel’s website to find locations in or around the host city you plan to visit. If, however, you’re interested in maximizing your budget or being in a specific location, we suggest a hotel aggregate site. These sites allow you to search multiple hotel brands and filter by price, location, and — in some cases — accommodation type (hotel, apartment, etc.). Booking.com, Priceline.com, and Expedia.com are routinely ranked as some of the best aggregate sites. These sites will also help you rent a car and buy tickets to local attractions.
Tip: Before you book on an aggregate site, take a moment to visit your chosen hotel’s website directly and confirm that you have the best rate. Occasionally, booking directly with the hotel will get you a better deal.
For those families that prefer the experience of being true locals, a vacation rental is the perfect method to secure accommodations tucked away in one of our host cities’ many neighborhoods. Airbnb.com and Vrbo.com both offer you a chance to explore various accommodation types (houses, condos, townhouses) and often connect you with a local host who will recommend the neighborhood’s top restaurants and activities. Because these rentals are more home than hotel, they also come equipped with kitchens. If you or members of your family prefer to cook and eat at home, this option beats out hotels.
Tip: Carefully review the amenities offered by the host of your vacation rental. Though both Airbnb and Vbro have amenity guidelines their hosts must adhere to, you will find more variability between hosts’ amenities on these sites than you would between the amenities at hotels.
Once you’ve decided on your accommodation, the next step will be to plan your activities itinerary. Most large U.S. metros have something called a CityPASS. For one price, the CityPASS grants you access to many of a host city’s major attractions. We recommend you take a look at the Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, or Southern California options depending on your child’s Summit. It’s an affordable way to see what your host city or the nearby metros have to offer.
If your student is attending the Medicine and Health Care Summit at Johns Hopkins, also keep in mind that all of the Smithsonian museums along the National Mall are free of charge. Visit their Tips for Visiting page to learn more.
Finally, take a look at TripAdvisor to find other must-see sights and must-do activities in and around each Summit city. Travelers write reviews on this website about the places they visited and restaurants where they dined, giving you all the insider tips for how to make the most of the experience. You can also sort activities and restaurants by category and see their rank based on the aggregate scores from reviewers, giving you great insight into what will best suit your interests or palate and is a good value.
Tip: If you use TripAdvisor, be sure to take photos and write reviews of your own experiences. Traveling to a new place can be overwhelming, but sites like TripAdvisor give people a platform to tailor their travels. Help your fellow travelers out by offering your feedback!
By Corie Bales
Corie is the Academic Affairs Manager of Ambassador Leaders. As a lifelong educator and avid traveler, she believes in empowering students and teachers to learn and lead through experiential education.