How To Keep In Touch With Your College Friends Over Summer

Every spring, millions of students across the United States put down enrollment deposits to secure their spots for incoming classes at college and universities worldwide. As the number of students enrolling to four-year universities in the fall directly proceeding high school increases, so does the distance in which these students are traveling for higher education. In my intimate group of friends, only one lives in the same state and still many hours by car separate us. We count down the weeks, days and hours until summer without realizing it means going three months without our college friends–unless you’re fortunate enough to live near them. Whether your friends are near or far, here are some tips for staying close throughout the summer months.

1. Send care packages of your local delights.

Fill a shippable box with your town’s well-known or favorite (small) souvenirs. Candy from local candy shops, postcards displaying famous landmarks, an artisan piece of jewelry or craft from local farmers market, small trinkets from local stores, or even a t-shirt displaying something relative to your town make great box fillers. To personalize the package even more, include polaroids of you as you pick up the items at each of their locations.

2. Meet halfway.

If your friends live on different coasts, this method may not be for you. Find a destination midway between your two places of residence and pick a date! Splitting the travel will make the trip more facile and will likely lead to discovering a new place on the map with some of your closest friends. When traveling on a college budget, look for Airbnb's to rent and make sure to do some research on the area beforehand to get the local experience.

3. Pick up some new pen pals.

Though texting, FaceTiming and calling have simplified the world of long distance communication, writing letters can be a fun traditional twist on the way you keep in touch. While on vacation, pick up postcards at your destination to send to your friends. Receiving postcards is a nice reminder of your friendships and collecting them can become a sentimental hobby.

4. Festivals, concerts and celebrations.

Summer months are chalked full of festivals, concerts, parades and multiple-day events around the country. Convincing your friends to join you for Outside Lands, Lollapalooza or Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest won’t be difficult. Find a calendar of local events this summer and see which dates your friends are free.

5. Hometown dates: college edition.

Becca hasn’t picked her hometown dates yet on this season of Bachelorette, but that shouldn’t discourage you from bringing home your college friends. Seeing where your roommate or new best friend grew up can be a fun glimpse into their lives before college. Have them show you the best breakfast places, beaches, cafes, hikes, photo spots, scenic drives, and maybe even your alma mater. And hey, having friends across the map can cut the cost of lodging when you travel.

Long distance relationships are tough; use these tips to lighten the burden and ensure that distance really does make the heart grow fonder this summer.