People always tell you that your experience at university is about much more than just your lectures and seminars. And they’re right. They also tell you to take advantage of the UK’s location close to some of the world’s most famous cities. They’re right again. Here are my tips on how to get away on short breaks and weekend trips.
Alright, Let’s Get Started: The Travel Part of Travelling
You could fly everywhere….
Fancy going to Paris, Prague, Berlin or Barcelona? Everything starts with booking the right way.
The Skyscanner website is a gift from heaven. Simply type in where you want to go and / or where you’re coming from – and the cheapest flights from all airlines will be loaded on the very next page.
A word of advice: Opting for flights with one stop-over or more can seem a great deal. But if you’re going away on a short break, do you really want to spend your precious hours hanging out at airports?
…or, catch a coach or train
Of course when I talk about weekend trips I don’t just mean outside the UK – there are so many amazing places to visit here.
If you’re travelling fairly close by you can catch a bus or train – this is usually the cheaper option. Book trains at least 3 weeks in advance, coaches and buses can be caught anytime really. The National Express coach and bus service website is great for this.
Book a practical departure time
Be careful about booking flights or coaches for 5am in the morning just because they’re cheap. Sometimes transport to the airport or meeting point in the very early morning hours can be very expensive, dangerous or impossible.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do
I’m sure you’ll have heard that phrase before but what it essentially means is: once you get to your destination, do as the locals do. And that’s a motto I live by!
Use public transport or walk. Buy day passes for buses as they are much cheaper than single ride tickets. It’ll not only save you money, it’s also the best way to experience a place and really get to know it beyond the famous landmarks.
Unless you’re the Incredible Hulk, you might want to look here
“20 pairs of underwear, clothes for each day of the week, books, enough soap to last, shampoo, conditioner, hair straighteners…”.
This much stuff is not necessary for travelling!
Firstly, most small airlines in Europe will not let you check in any bags unless you pay crazy fees. Secondly, backpacking has its name for a reason.
You only need a backpack for travelling around Europe, no matter how long you go for. Here’s what I’d recommend:
And most important of all, don’t forget to HAVE FUN
You know what the best secret is for having a great short break or weekend trip? Forget about your studies and have a great time! There’s no point in thinking about deadlines or coursework while you’re away – there’s nothing you can do about it now.
I mentioned safety earlier, and that’s important as any unfortunate incident could spoil your trip for you. In saying this, don’t spend your whole time being scared. Most locals are kind and helpful! If anything happens, like your phone gets stolen, of course that’s a pain – but it’s not the end of the world. You will have tons of unforgettable experiences and that’s the most important thing – so enjoy your trip, you’ll have an amazing time.
Meet me, Briana!
Born in the UK, I moved to New Zealand when I was 18 months old. I came back to the UK as an international student in 2016. I’m reading for a degree in Neuroscience (which includes the study of psychology and physiology) at the University of Manchester.
Anything to do with travelling, dancing and unicycling, I’m down for! I know that everyone will have a different adventure overseas but I love sharing my experiences to help you make the most of yours.