As a study abroad student, you will very likely have several opportunities to travel around your host country or even abroad to other countries. And there is no better time than your school’s study break, whether for spring or fall break or other holidays. Here are my tips!
1. Plan out where you want to go in advance.
While you are on break from your studies, all too often you will face the issue of deciding where you want to travel and what you want to do. You may find yourself asking questions, such as: “I wonder what my new friends are doing during their break?” or “I don’t know about traveling outside my host country…” and “I wonder if I can get people to travel with me?” These are common concerns, especially if you are new to traveling outside of your home country. Regardless if you travel alone or with friends, it’s important to plan accordingly. You don’t have to plan every step of your trip, but make sure you know where you are going at least a month in advance so that you can research and budget for the price of tickets and transportation, accommodation and food during your trip.
2. Don’t be afraid to travel alone.
After traveling to 24 different countries, I have learned that this can be the best way to see a place. It can be fun and comforting to travel with other people during your time abroad, but sometimes you and your travel companion(s) may have clashing ideas of what to do. By traveling alone, you get to skip over any confrontation and prioritize your desired experiences. If money is an issue, traveling alone may also help you spend less money by focusing more on your needs than as a group. You will still have to budget, of course.
When I travel alone, my favorite things to do are walk around observing and learning about the culture, eating lots of local food and just enjoying life in the moment. In the end, this can help you connect more with the locals while you are traveling. If you want to do more than “just walk around,” there are still loads of attractions for anyone to do such as local tours, museums, famous sites, etc. It just takes that first step of getting out!
3. Take advantage of FREE walking tours.
All too often when we step foot on the soil of a new country or we visit a new city, we find ourselves enticed by the overwhelming amount of history, architecture and beauty that our destination presents to us. It can leave even the most experienced traveller feeling in awe of their surroundings. But before you go and spend all of your money on overpriced tours, I actually suggest walking around yourself viewing everything until you have sensory overload.
Nowadays, many places have free walking tours. That’s right. Free! This is the perfect way to learn about the history, culture and significance of the country or city that you are visiting, and it is often led by a local who can give you all the best information on what to do during your time in the country.
4. Day trips!
If you aren’t able to travel to other countries on your break, you should consider taking a day trip in your host country. Day trips are an efficient and affordable way to see more of the country that you are in. At least in the U.K., your next destination is only a short train ride away. On a day trip, you can still see many sights a city has to offer without paying for accommodation in order to save money. Day trips are also a great way to get out of your city or campus for something new if you need a change of scenery. Just remember, if you are in a country where transportation by train is prominent, like the U.K., make sure to get yourself a student rail card in order to take advantage of reduced price transportation.
5. Just have fun.
Through all the planning, traveling, exploring and meeting new people, it’s important to remember to have fun! This is an experience that you will remember for the rest of your life, so make it count. Go out and make new friends and new contacts, see things from a different point of view and be open to whatever comes your way. This is the experience of a lifetime; you just have to be willing to go down the rabbit hole and see what adventure awaits you on the other side.
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