Cristina Werthwine is a student at Western Carolina University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in Valparaiso, Chile.
Traveling around on your study abroad is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the culture of your host country (or surrounding countries), yet the planning of it may seem like a daunting and difficult task. Here are some of my tips on how to plan an unforgettable weekend trip on your study abroad:
1. Find your travel squad. While traveling in a group (big or small) you want to be around good people who are inspired and just as excited about the trip as you are. Find those people! When it comes to planning, start early on so to have more options to book and get organized.
2. Consider your travel options. When searching for how to get to your destination do some research and don’t be afraid to try different options (bus, train, boat, etc.). Try to find cheap yet reliable transportation sights (such as Sky Airlines if traveling in South America). Buy your tickets early to insure you have a spot and less hassle. I recommend taking the scenic route at least one way of your journey so you can see a different side of the country.
*Tip: Don’t forget about the studying part of studying abroad! Plan around your class schedule if you can and travel during holidays and long weekends.
3. Find where to stay. Do some searching when it comes to hostels that meet you and your groups needs while staying in your budget (this might mean taking off some of the needs or a bigger budget). Ask these questions: How many people are coming? Do you need a kitchen? Hot water? Close to town/national park? Keep these answers in mind while looking for the right hostel. If you are traveling to the Atacama Desert, I recommend finding a hostel in town because it is harder to get around if you are staying farther out. In San Pedro, they have many hostels on the main road that are close to shops, tour agencies, and restaurants/bars.
*Tip: Using Google Docs to share a document that you can all edit will make things easier to collaboratively plan. There you can all put information about depart and return dates, tour guide companies, hostel info, etc. for all to access.
4. Make a Trip Bucket list. Write down all the things you want to do at your destination. This is not a concrete list because plans may change that are out of your control (transportation problems, weather, time crunch, etc.). In the end, you might not be able to do all the things on your list and that’s okay! Do try to think realistically- how much can you pay for/see with the amount of money/time you have?
*Tip: If you are having trouble budgeting your money use a budgeting app! This will help you keep track of how much you have and what you can spend/save every day.
5. HAVE FUN! Now you are ready for your trip of a lifetime. Enjoy, be safe, and have fun!
The world awaits…discover it.
You’re amazing, loved this!!