Good morning (or evening) to our students studying abroad! I cannot believe that we are at a place where we are back to travel, and I am so glad on behalf of each student fortunate enough to spend time overseas that they are able to do so (and safely!). So, if this sounds like you, keep reading below to incorporate my best tips into your upcoming travel plans as you round out the semester!
- Evaluate the type of trip you’re seeking: When it comes to weekend trips, the reality is that there is a huge time constraint. So, the first step of planning your weekend comes down to deciding what kind of trip you’re seeking: a relaxing vacation, cultural exploration, historical journey, etc… Once you’ve got that idea down, you’ll have a much easier time narrowing in on a location.
- Example: When I was seeking a vacation I went to Valencia, Spain (an easy train ride away),… a more cultural experience led me to Prague!
- Compare flight costs against different weekends: A quick Google flight search will help you compare your flight costs depending on a variety of weekends. If there is a large gap in price from this weekend vs. a few more weekends out, it may be beneficial to delay that certain location to a future date. This being said, being flexible abroad is a key to success! Try not to hold yourself too strictly to certain timelines as things always change.
- Check Airbnb and/or hotel availability: Before jumping into planning, MAKE SURE TO check for availability and places to stay. This may lead you to a hostel, hotel, or Airbnb, but check out all of your options prior to solidifying flights!
- Pro Tip: Always try to book flights and lodging as far in advance as possible! Although it sometimes appears like a hassle or is easily procrastinated, you will almost always save money and a headache by doing so.
Now that you’re in the “fun” stage… it’s time for your second evaluation. Do you want a jam-packed weekend full of sightseeing, a relaxing few days to chill out, or a “go with the flow” walk through a new city? Whichever of these types of trips you choose, it’s time to start scheduling a loose itinerary.
- Itinerary: An aspect of weekend travel that I became aware of quite immediately was the benefit of mapping the distance between sites you want to see – this is an easy mistake and absolutely avoidable. Start looking into certain shops, experiences, tours, sites, restaurants, or other places you’re hoping to see and how they are spaced amongst one another before touching down on your trip.
- Budget! Finally, it is always important to maintain an awareness of your spending on each trip. Some places are inherently more expensive than others, so saving costs on lodging/travel vs. picking up souvenirs are great ways to stay in line with a similar budget on each trip.
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