Planning any kind of trip can seem daunting, even when it’s not international. If you’re just getting started planning your first adventure, or if you’re deep into the trip-planning process, check out this student travel advice that can help make your journeys go smoothly.
Research, Research, Research
The quickest way to feel stressed and overwhelmed while traveling is to not have any idea of what to do. Big cities can be especially intimidating, with thousands of options for restaurants, landmarks, and other sights to see.
Check out travel guides like Lonely Planet to find everything from places to eat to cultural experiences. Look up online review sites to find locals’ favorite spots – they know best, and often the local hangout is a cheaper and more authentic experience than what’s listed in guidebooks. If you’re going to a big city, research neighborhoods, and try to stay in an area convenient to what you want to see most. You’ll be much more likely to hit everything if you don’t have to travel 30 minutes just to get to the top sights on your must-see list.
In addition to research, try to make a plan for each day, especially if you’re planning a short trip. Once you get to your destination, you can change up your plans, but it’s much easier to improvise if you’re going off a plan than if you’re winging it.
Use Tools That Can Save You Money
There are lots of tools that can save you big while planning your trip. If you have a flexible schedule, try using Google Flights, a tool that will let you play around with dates and airports to find the cheapest options available, returning results for almost any airline.
Other resources online that can help you save include Kayak and Expedia, which let you compare flights and hotels. The more flexible you are about where you stay and when you go, the more money you can save. In addition to hotels, there are other options for staying in big cities. Airbnb rentals can often be a great deal, especially in the off-season, as can hostels. Though not as popular in the U.S. as abroad, hostels are a great way to save money while traveling and meet other young people. Check out sites like Hostelworld to find the best deals and compare dates.
Give Yourself Time
Feeling rushed during your travels is stressful, and a surefire way to ruin a trip. On your days of departure, make sure to arrive at the airport at least two hours early, and make sure to take into account variables like traffic and public transportation issues.
Similarly, give yourself time during your trip. Don’t try to pack every sight that a city has to offer into one day. If you can only spend a couple days at your destination, come to terms with the fact that you won’t be able to see everything you’ll want to, and adjust your expectations accordingly. Pick the two or three attractions that excite you most and experience them fully. You don’t want to get back from your trip and feel like you didn’t even take time to savor the moments that you were there. And who knows – you may have the opportunity to visit again in the future and see what you skipped the first time around.
Familiarize Yourself With Public Transportation
When you’re a student traveling on a budget, every penny counts, and public transportation is a great way to save. Public transportation isn’t too hard to get the hang of, especially in bigger cities like New York and Washington, D.C., and pays for itself if you get a weeklong pass.
Before you get to your destination, check to see if you can download any apps that can make finding stops and routes a breeze. Many cities have free apps with information like bus routes, metro lines, and arrival times.
Make Your Trip Great with Son Tours
Planning a student tour but don’t know where to start? At Son Tours, we’ve been expertly planning domestic educational tours for students for over 20 years. Our tour operators can help you make sure you get the most out of your travels, giving your middle or high school students the experience of a lifetime. Ready to learn more about how we can help? Contact us online, or give us a call at (800) 416-8212.0