Throughout your time abroad, you will embark on many trips to other countries. Often times these trips are booked on the weekends for obvious reasons. On the upside, you aren’t missing class. On the downside, you only have 2-3 days to see a weeks worth of sightseeing/doing. To make the most of this short amount of time, read the tips below:
Don’t sleep in
No matter how long you fall asleep for on the train, bus, or plane, you will be exhausted from traveling. Put on some under eye concealer, drink your coffee, and fight the exhaustion. Weekend trips usually allow only two and a half days for exploration. Sleeping in until 10 A.M. is not a good use of your time when you could be experiencing the beauty of new surroundings.
Travel to different towns
Your intention when visiting a new country should be to experience all of the culture you possibly can. Chances are, your visiting a heavy tourist area. Consider spending one day exploring your original destination and the other in a different part of the country. Don’t be afraid to buy a bus ticket to a place less touristy with more character. One example would be Interlocken, Switzerland, one of the most popular trips for study abroad students. For just €30 round-trip, you can take the train to Lauderbrunnen, an adorable town with stunning views. The reception desk at your hostel or hotel is a good resource to utilize because the employees are typically people who have lived in that country their entire life.
Don’t be afraid to ask, or “yelp”, for help. Yelp is a great tool to use when exploring a new area. People who have visited the same place as you can use Yelp to post opinions. It’s certainly helpful in discovering hidden gems and local flavor. From restaurants to places, the reviews are thorough and reliable.
Participate in their culture
Depending on where you go, the culture shock will vary. Find out what that country is known for and participate in whatever it is. You may need to step outside of your comfort zone but it’s worth it. Because you have such a limited amount of time, you must take advantage of everything you can. Set a budget for yourself but don’t be parsimonious- Experiencing culture isn’t free.
Stay off your phone
This is the most essential advice I have for studying abroad and more specifically, weekend trips. Take this time to disconnect. Within these four short months you will grow exponentially as a person. During the three days you have to explore a new place, you will want to be completely present. If you’re involved with things going on back at home or with a boyfriend/girlfriend, you wont be able to appreciate your trip in full and in the present.
Do you have any other suggestions for students looking to make the most of their weekend away? Comment your tips below!