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Here Are the Ultimate Tips for Parents of University Students

Catching up (or checking up on) your children in their university cities? Here we're sharing some great advice on how to make the most of your visit


King's College London

Children are not always the most helpful and attentive of beings, particularly even at university age. We know this because we were once ourselves young plums totally oblivious to our prune parents. (Plums are the offspring of prunes, and if you don’t know that, then you need to educate yourself.) In any case, it’s unlikely they’ll be of much help regarding your visit, aside from a few grunts and groans. Never fear, we here at Plum Guide love utilising our own expertise to ensure that you have a great time wherever you go, so you will not be disappointed. It’s not all about them, those obnoxious students. And hey, maybe they’ll be surprised with the knowledge you’ve garnered from our little inside tips.

So, whether your not-so-little one is showing off their knowledge of Sartre in Paris, quoting the Beat poets in Los Angeles or learning about Gaudí in Barcelona, you’ll be able to impress them with your new-found facts about the area from our tips for parents of university students. Disclaimer: you’re unlikely to actually learn much about philosophy, literature and architecture from this piece, but you will get a good idea of where to stay and what to do.

Explore the impressive city of London

The British Museum, London, ceiling, glass building

The British Museum, London

It’s the capital of England, and has been for around a millennium, so get used to it. As the largest and most densely-populated municipality, London is also jam-packed with educational hubs, from King’s College and UCL to Imperial College London and the London South Bank University. Ultimately, where you should stay depends on where your child attends university. UCL is right by the transportation hub of Euston, which is handy for commuting in to see your ‘little one’. It’s right in the centre of everything, with great transport links and some of the city’s most prestigious museums, including the British Museum and the British Library. It’s all about the British. And if you’re ever lost when visiting children studying at UCL or the like, just look up at the sky and use the BT Tower to navigate.

Chelsea Chic, Plum Guide home in London

Chelsea Chic, Plum Guide home in London

Visit the shops and cafés in Paris

So, your child is an étudiant at a lycée in Paris. We know our clientele, so we’re going to go out on a limb and assume it’s the Sorbonne. It happens to lie in the Latin Quarter, which is one of the best parts of the city and also contains many of the less-prestigious other colleges. In fact, the quarter is so-named in reference to the haughty students who went around speaking Latin here in the Middle Ages. Don’t be surprised to find your kids donning berets and doing the same. Wander along the narrow alley of the Rue de la Huchette and visit the quaint shops and cafés.

The Scholar, Plum Guide home in Paris

The Scholar, Plum Guide home in Paris

Make the most of your visit to Los Angeles

Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles, beach, waves, rollercoaster, ferris wheel

Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles

So, we’ve got the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Southern California and the Cal State Los Angeles…and the People’s Front of Judea and the Judean People’s Front…just a Monty Python reference for you there (your student-kids will love that kind of thing, so you can have that one for free). For visiting your precocious UCLA kids, you could stay in accommodation near the university, in nearby Santa Monica. Here, you can sunbathe on the beach, vomit on the rollercoasters of the pier and shop into the night on the Third Street Promenade. You could even visit your offspring too, if you find the time. USC is nearer the Downtown District, where you should find time to visit the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.

Mia's Lookout, Plum Guide home in Los Angeles

Mia's Lookout, Plum Guide home in Los Angeles

Impress your kids studying in Barcelona

OK, so the first of our tips for parents of university students: don’t wander through the streets of Barcelona spouting Spanish phrases you remember from school. It’s all about the Catalan here, and you’ll be laughed out of your kid’s social group of pseudo-intellectuals before you can finish your first palabra. The Gothic Quarter is not far from the University of Barcelona, so make sure to walk around and learn about Gaudí (there were probably some other famous architects too) before showing off to your child’s university pals. Among the highlights here are the Cathedral of Barcelona, the Plaça Sant Jaume and, if you’re one of those intellectual families who tries to act like nothing is ever embarrassing – you know the kind; both parents are probably therapists – delve into the Erotic Museum of Barcelona.

Penelope, Plum Guide home in Barcelona

Penelope, Plum Guide home in Barcelona

Enjoy the food in Tel Aviv

The Tel Aviv University is in the Ramat Aviv district, in the northern reaches of the city. When it comes to tips for parents of university students, you could stay in the city centre and learn about local life with a trip through the Carmel Market, before wandering through the alleyways of the crumbling Jaffa Port. Another option would be Herzliya, which is a more secluded and affluent district further north from the university. It’s packed with holiday homes with pools. Since you’re in the area, visit the Herzliya Museum of Art and the Apollonia National Park. Wherever you go, be sure to make the most of Tel Aviv's culinary side – our food tour of the city is a good place to start.

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