It has been about one month since we arrived in London, England. Most everyone at this point is familiar with the area we live in, how to use the Tube to get essentially anywhere in London, and our classes. The shock from arriving in a new country has faded, and we are operating as we would if we were back at our home schools: waking up, going to class, getting work done.
Now that everyone is comfortable with daily life, the thought of traveling has crossed the minds of most. In London, reading week is when students are given time to catch up on their schoolwork. For students studying abroad, reading week is like spring break; it is the biggest chunk of time we have to travel. Everyone wants to travel together, everyone has different ideas of what they want to do, and everyone has a different budget.
For me, planning my reading week trip with my roommate Nicole was an incredible learning and self-discovery experience. Arguments were going around in support of staying in the U.K. because of changing COVID restrictions; leaving the U.K. because borders are opening and worth it to travel far for a week, rather than a weekend; and the idea that “we are only here once, let’s splurge,” which is a frequent comment while you are abroad. People were booking trips to Paris or Italy for $450 USD. But for some people, including myself, $450 was too much for just a weekend.
I felt a lot of pressure from the “only here once” comments. Most of us are around 18 years old and, with some hard work, we have a lifetime to come back. Traveling to every corner of Europe can be stressful and unreasonable.
When planning our vacation, my roommate and I put in a lot of research to find a bus from London to Edinburgh, Scotland; from Edinburgh to Glasgow; and from Glasgow back to London, with accommodations for six nights for just 89 GBP (or $120). We also do a lot of conversions here.
Traveling on a budget is possible. The learning curve when planning the logistics for a week-long trip is sometimes challenging, but you do not need to have a lot of money to study abroad and travel while you are there. Research and discipline goes a long way, and I advise to not let the idea of “only being here once” get in the way of working to save money and genuinely enjoy your time.
Knowing the cost of my trip was low allowed me to enjoy it, instead of being stressed with the amount of money I spent.