Studying abroad can be intense, and you’re likely to need a getaway from time to time. A university vacation can be just what you need to recharge your batteries after an exam burnout or just have a break from hectic student life.
Not only do you get to explore a new corner of the world with your brand new mates, you will also be able to make lasting memories and have a taste of independence while you travel.
It can be tricky trying to decide where to go, who with and for how long, so read our guide below to ensure your vacation is stress-free and all goes to plan.
Decide who to go with
Firstly, you need to decide who to go with. The people you go with will have a strong influence on what you do and how much fun you have, so make sure to pick a group of like-minded people.
Here are some things to consider when choosing your vacation crew:
- Why are you taking a vacation? Is it to have a break from your coursework? It’s probably best not to go with your course mates if so. Or do you need to escape your messy student flat? So maybe don’t go with your house mates.
- What kind of break do you want? A relaxing break on the beach? Don’t invite too many people. A party with all your mates? The more, the merrier! A niche adventure activity that only appeals to some? Go with friends from that society.
- Are there any awkward group dynamics that will likely come to light on vacation? If there’s a romance turned sour or any conflict, try not to invite those people as it may create negativity.
Decide what you want to do
Once you’ve decided who you want to go with, you can then decide what you want to do. If you try to do this the other way around, you’ll likely have lots of people wanting to do different things, so it’s better to establish the group first and vacation purpose second.
Depending on where you are studying, there is likely to be a range of nearby destinations for you to explore your inner-traveller. Here are some ideas to ignite your wanderlust:
- A relaxing beach trip
- An exciting city break
- An adventurous mountain escape
- A chilled yoga weekend
Whether you’re studying in Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia or almost anywhere else, there’s bound to be a range of destinations either a train, bus or plane ride away – which brings me onto my next point…
Work out a budget
Before you can decide where you are going or how long for, you need to work out the budget for your group. Prepare for some slightly awkward conversations as you’re going to have to discuss how much money you all have, but it’ll be worth it in the end!
At this point, you need to make sure everyone is totally honest with each other. A good way to do this is simply to ask each person individually how much they would be willing to spend on the getaway. That way, you avoid people feeling pressured into agreeing with a budget they can’t afford and causing tension while you’re away.
Once you’ve got everyone’s suggestions, you can look at whether that will be enough to cover the activities you want to do, accommodation, food and any extras. At this point, you may have a few drop-outs, but that’s exactly why it’s a good idea not to book anything until this point.
Now you have the budget sorted, you’ve decided what you will do and you’ve got a committed group of friends, it’s finally time to decide where you’re going.
Decide where you’re going
Chances are if you’ve got to this point of planning a getaway with your friends, you already have a good idea of where you’d like to go.
If you’re still trying to pinpoint a destination, here are some pointers to help you decide:
- Which one is closest to you? This will narrow down your options, making it easier to decide and also means you’ll spend less time travelling and more time making memories.
- What’s your budget? Can you afford a long flight? Or are you limited to a cheap bus journey?
- Do you have specific activities in mind like rock climbing or surfing? Or are you seeking a particular vibe?
Choosing your destination can be a minefield, but bask in the excitement and use your budget and group activities to help guide your decision.
Get the vacation booked
Once you’ve established a group, worked out a budget and decided where you’re going – it’s finally time to get it booked.
Don’t wait around too long to get the trip finalised, otherwise, people may lose interest, make other plans or change their minds.
Booking can be the hardest part of organising a group vacation, as you will need to make sure everyone is free on the same dates, get everyone to book the same flights and accommodation and be prompt in paying back whoever makes the bookings.
A group chat on social media is your best friend at this stage of organising. It’s helpful if one person takes charge of booking flights, accommodation and activities. You can inform people of exactly what you’re booking and how much they owe you in one place, so you can see who has read your message and keep everyone in the loop.
Sometimes a few people can be extra slow at paying. If you, yourself, are on a tight budget, it can be a good idea to ask everyone for payment in advance to ensure you’re not out of pocket before the vacation has begun.
Now you have your trip organised and booked; it’s time to get excited! The stressful part is over, and you can now focus on packing your favourite outfits and think up all the witty captions you’ll be able to post on your Instagram to show off – woo!