Reminder: Fall 2024 and Academic year 2024-2025 Study Abroad Application Deadline: March 1st at 11:59 PM EST!

Student Reflections

Weekend Trips: Tips and Tricks

Devin McNerney
March 6, 2023

With all the uncertainty that comes with study abroad, one thing is certain: Someone is going to ask you to go on a trip. If you are like me, a fourth year who has been abroad, worked abroad, and loves to travel, the concept of going to a new destination isn’t the scary part; the planning and meeting new people is.

There are some rules  to go by when traveling with friends. First, it depends on the kind of person you are, and what you are looking for. On a nice chill beach vacation, it wouldn’t hurt to have ten friends or acquaintances in tow. It should be calm, the sun should make everyone happy, and planning daily activities isn’t that hard.

One lesson I learned here is to always check the location of your accommodation. In all the excitement of traveling, I ended up in a sticky situation in Nice, stranded in a little house with ten of my friends on the top of a mountain in France an hour outside of the nearest city. I  tried to figure out how to get down the mountain by taxi or Uber. However, there were no cars  nearby to help. My friends and I decided  to trust our best navigating friend to lead us on a three-hour long hike down the mountain and to the nearest train station. Since it was Sunday, we realized nothing was open and our best bet is to find a local to help. 

If you are embarking on a fast-paced city tour — like attempting to visit Stonehenge, Oxford and the big hits of London in two days — make sure you and your friends are on the same page about traveling. Bring someone who has the same planning style as you and wants to do similar activities. 

One of my first trips was to Vienna with two good friends in tow. We arrived late and the sun was setting, but we were all excited to see the city and decided to stop at a local restaurant for schnitzel. When we finished dinner, we decided to walk around the city a little before heading to the hostel. Luckily, my friends and I have a very similar travel style of wanting to explore a new city as much as possible. We are also good friends so we can trust each other to be honest – if one of us is not up for an outing or has another suggestion, it is okay. 

Remember, when you travel with your friends, you travel to see a new place, spend time with friends, and learn about a new culture. So if you want to do something, speak up! Don’t force anyone’s hand, but if something is a priority to you, offer it to the group or take time on your own to do it. Don’t feel obligated to stick together all of the time. Find, just like in your study abroad location, that discovering a new place on your own can be enjoyable in its own way. Most importantly, be respectful, thankful, and grateful to have the privilege to do any of this at all. If you are, and extend this to all the new people you meet, they will be even happier to share their cultures, their favorite places, and their stories with you.