I thought I had already experienced some challenging travel hurdles in my time as a miles and points travel hacker. Booking business class seats to Europe for 6 people in the summer? Done. Booking award flights over holiday weekends? Done and done. But recently, I’ve encountered a new travel challenge that answers the question: What’s more difficult than booking award flights for a large family during peak times?
The answer: Finding accommodations in a college town during a home football game weekend. This is true for any home football game, but doubly true when the university adds “Family Weekend” activities for that same weekend.
I knew in advance that finding a hotel room or an airbnb during my son’s Family Weekend would be challenging. Other parents warned me to book as soon as the date was announced.
So, I did just that. We decided we would take our dogs with us since our son is probably missing them more than he’s missing us. I booked an airbnb a few miles from campus that allows pets. Done!
Unfortunately, months later, I received an email that the owner had to cancel our reservation. What?! Airbnb sent me an email saying they assigned someone to “help” me, but all they could do was facilitate my refund. Everything in the area was booked.
Since airbnb had nothing, I tried Booking.com. Miraculously, I found a house about 15 miles outside of town. It was new to the site and had no reviews. But, it was my best option, so I booked it.
I’m not sure exactly what happened, but that second house I booked got a 1- out of 10-star review on its first booking and was removed from the site.
I had no choice but to expand my search to an even greater radius. Thankfully, I found a small house that allows pets about 30 minutes away. The host is a “Superhost”, so hopefully he won’t cancel on us.
I hope that the 3rd time is a charm when it comes to a house rental for Family Weekend at my son’s college. After this first Family Weekend, we’re considering skipping subsequent Family Weekends (there is one every semester) and just visiting on a “normal” weekend that doesn’t have any major sporting events.
Anyone else having a hard time with college town accommodations?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.