A big part of many people’s (including mine) study abroad experience is traveling. Being in London, it is easy to take weekend trips to various cities and countries in the surrounding areas. My friends and I have found the perfect balance of spending weekends in London as well as mixing in mini trips. I have been fortunate enough to travel to Paris, Prague, Athens, Mykonos, Amsterdam, and Brussels this semester. If you are interested, you can check out some things I’ve done and places I’ve seen with my friends when traveling on our YouTube channel! Since traveling is a popular activity when studying abroad, I would like to share some of the tips I’ve accumulated thus far that I wish someone told me before I started traveling abroad!
1. Book in advance.
One thing my friends and I have learned about planning trips while abroad is to book in advance. Yes, tickets to get from place to place are cheaper once you are abroad since you will probably be closer to your desired destination, but prices do go up the longer you wait to buy tickets. This also applies to hotels/Airbnb/hostels as well! Prices and availability become scarce the longer you wait. It may be hard to plan trips far in advance without knowing your academic schedule, but definitely try to get tickets as soon as possible to avoid inflated prices!
2. Travel in groups!
Traveling in groups is a great way to lower the cost of trips! Things such as hotel/hostel/Airbnb prices and Uber/Taxi fares can be diminished if you travel with some other people! In addition to that, traveling with people is a great way to become closer with one another and even make new friends!
3. Explore without a plan.
Sometimes the best experiences are a result of spontaneity. Yes, it is nice to create an itinerary to follow if there are specific things you want to experience or see when traveling to certain places, but it is also nice to explore new surroundings with no agenda! If you have time, take a day, or even just an afternoon, to explore around with no set plans and see what you come across. You never know what you may find!
4. Pack lightly!
Packing lightly is definitely a benefit when doing smaller trips, especially if you plan to travel on budget airlines. Many times budget airlines will have stricter luggage restrictions regarding the size and types of luggage you are allowed to bring on board (there may also be extra charges, be aware). Be sure to check luggage guidelines with whatever company you choose to travel with beforehand. Try to pack the necessities for your trip and leave some room for souvenirs to bring back with you!
I could go on and on about more tips regarding traveling while abroad but these four are the main things I wish I knew before coming to London and planning my mini excursions. If you plan to travel while studying abroad, I hope some of these tips help you out! Safe travels!