May 7, 2010

Tour Campuses with HopStop

HopStop is free, customizable, and very technologically cool. And if you’re planning campus visits, you might want to leave driving to the professionals and use HopStop to navigate public transit or plan efficient walking routes to get from point-to-point on your college tour itineraries.

Basically, HopStop is an online city travel guide—giving you step-by-step instruction on how to reach destinations in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Boston, Providence, Hartford, Philadelphia, Delaware, Baltimore, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco. Paris and London are also available if you’re planning to go that far afield on your campus tours.

Getting Started
Go to the HopStop website and click on one of the city tabs—Washington DC for example. You’ll land on the Directions page. Enter your starting point and your destination. Indicate a few preferences like:

• Do you want to travel by rail only? Bus only? Rail and Bus?
• Would you prefer more transfers and less walking, or fewer transfers and more walking?
• What is your departure time?

Once you’ve set your preferences, click Get Directions. HopStop responds with detailed instructions, transit routes and numbers, travel time, and full-color maps—all neatly illustrated with symbols indicating which part of your trip will be via bus, train, or on foot. If you have more than one campus to visit, set up an “itinerary” and HopStop will plan your day.

Mobile HopStop
To use HopStop mobile services, you must complete a short, free registration at the HopStop website. You’ll be asked to provide your mobile number or PDA information. Once registered, you may go to HopStop’s PDA page and get directions and maps. You also can send an email or text message and HopStop will reply with directions—standard charges apply.

iPhone users can download the free HopStop application from the iTunes Store. And just like the website, you’ll have access to detailed public transit directions and information for all the cities in the HopStop system.

Additional Features
Using the customizable features in My HopStop, you can set travel preferences, receive directions in any one of nine different languages, or be notified of subway diversions or delays. HopStop also has a large database (and quite a few ads) including popular city destinations, which are made available through the City Guides.

If you don’t like driving in strange cities or just prefer the “greenness” of traveling by public transit, check out HopStop. It could be a great addition to your campus tour toolbox!

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