Here’s a quick tip for California families traveling east for college visits: don’t rent a car! Public transit and the train system on the east coast are great…take advantage! If you’re going to any combination of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore or Washington, D.C., there’s really no need to rent a car. You can get everywhere you need to go without fiddling with the map, paying tolls or figuring out why the attendant won’t let you pump your own gas (only in New Jersey).
Debbie and I went to New York to visit colleges, and when she flew back to LA, I took the train up to Boston, stopping in Connecticut along the way to visit a school and meet with a client. I had a few hours of nice quiet time, and with the power outlets and free wifi, I got a few hours of work in along the way!
Another quick bit of advice: buy train tickets early! The prices go up as your departure date approaches. I paid $20 more for my Amtrak ticket than I would have paid had I bought it just a day earlier. In fact – if you reserve at least 3 days in advance, Amtrak offers a discount for college visits!