by Brittany Zaiser
At some point during your studies you are bound to get the travel bug. One of the bigger perks to living in the UK is that international travel becomes significantly cheaper, and breathtaking destinations are often a short train or plane ride away. If you find yourself with a long weekend, or a break in your class schedule, it’s beyond tempting to jet off to Spain or France for a few days. The best part? YOU CAN! If you’re itching to check off a few bucket-list destinations don’t forget these essential items to make your life as a student easier and give you the ability to vacation in peace.
- Spontaneity is okay!
Make the most of your free time! One of the biggest differences that I noticed when arranging trips while living abroad is that I can book a cheap last-minute trip anywhere with very little hassle! Vacation sites will often have deals for last-minute vacation-bookers so you can land yourself with an amazing deal with short notice.
REMEMBER: As an international student there are several items you need to bring with you in order to have a hassle free experience coming back to the UK:
- BRP (Biometric Resident Permit)
- Tier 4 documentation (proof of study)
You may also have to check in with your university if you are intending to leave depending on the university. It’s best to check with your international office before solidifying any plans.
In addition to these essential items to get you back into the UK when your vacation is over, you can also bring some homework with you! As a literature student, I always had books and articles to read in order to stay on top of my studies. Brining some of this reading with you is a great way to kill time at the airport, and put your student mind at ease.
- Pack light!
If you’re spending 2 days in Paris do you really need 10 different outfits? Pack interchangeable items and leave yourself room to pick up some fun postcards or souvenirs for your friends and family at home (your back and shoulders will also thank you for it.)
- Read up on your intended destination.
The UK is a quick train ride or flight away from many exotic and incredible destinations. With so many opportunities to expand your worldview, it’s important to keep in mind that your intended destinations will most likely speak a different language, have different customs and use a different currency than what you’re used to. Take the time before you book your trip to read up on your destination and prepare yourself for what to expect.
If you’re travelling to a non-English speaking country, learn a few phrases in the native language. The locals will appreciate the effort!
- Don’t try and see everything at once!
It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new destination and, even though you’ll want to experience everything that it has to offer, the reality is: if you’re going to Paris (for example) for 2 days YOU CANNOT SEE EVERYTHING. Pick and choose the landmarks, museums or restaurants that are most important to you and ENJOY what you’re seeing. You will not be able to enjoy yourself if you’re constantly looking at your watch and thinking about how the Louvre closes in 2 hours. You can always plan another trip, but you won’t be able to re-capture your feelings the first time you’re in a new location.
- Read Reviews
While not reading reviews and landing yourself in a strange hotel can make for some fun stories later, it often just leads to stress in the moment. Avoid this common mishap and do a little bit of quick reading about the hotel, hostel or inn that you’re staying at as well as the area in which it’s located. Consider items like accessibility to transit, closeness to popular attractions, safety features offered by the hotel etc. Knowing these items will put your mind at ease and give you the ability to really enjoy your getaway.
Reading reviews can also give you an idea of wait times at more popular destinations and allow you to decide which tickets might be worth purchasing ahead of time in order to avoid the crowds.
- Check your phone plan!
I can’t speak to every phone plan in the UK but when I looked into a phone plan for myself, I made sure that I knew what features were available to me once I left London. I was used to expecting expensive international charges when I wanted to use my phone on vacation, and I wanted to make sure this didn’t happen abroad. My phone plan had a set amount of data that worked all across the UK and Europe so no matter where I ended up in my travelling I knew that I wouldn’t have to worry about additional or secret international charges should I want to keep in touch with my family (or check out the different snap chat filters in various cities). It was a pleasant surprise and worth checking before you leave!
Interested in studying in the UK? You can find out more by contacting one of our advisors!