At DIS we have two week-long travel weeks. Core courses travel during these weeks but it’s split up, so everyone has at least one week off. I didn’t have a study tour the first week so I traveled to Dublin, Edinburgh, and London.
Edinburgh was my favorite city and reminded me very much of living in Harry Potter. This post will include a lot of how much I loved Edinburgh, just a warning. London reminded me a lot of being in New York mixed with D.C and Ireland really was green.
Step One: Plan and plan and plan ahead. For this trip I actually didn’t travel alone, I traveled with three of my housemates. I did, however, plan everything on my own. It’s weird to think that after 20 years I have never actually done a trip all by myself. Now I understand why I haven’t. It’s super stressful. We did book everything in advance, but there are little things to always look out for. In Dublin, we figured everything the morning of and there were some mess ups. Luckily, many things were free in Edinburgh like the free ghost tour or free Harry Potter tour. Even though I usually hate tours it was a great opportunity to see the city with interesting stories.
Step Two: Always make sure you understand transport. Transport from the airport to where you are staying, as well as to the city center should be on the top of your list
Public transit should be second on your list. As much as we all like to think that city centers are walkable, they all aren’t and sometimes a day pass can really save time. Other times, however, they just simply aren’t worth it. For example, London’s transport was worth it but very expensive. It would have been impossible, however, to see everything if we had not had one. We didn’t need a day pass in Edinbrough. Getting from the airport was relatively cheap round trip and everything was walking distance of each other. The city was so beautiful that the journey really was worth the destination. Dublin, however, was a toss-up. We really didn’t need a travel pass, but the walks were pretty long and the day pass was a little expensive.
Step Three: Consider the surrounding locations. Surrounding cities should be the third on your list (as well as transport to these cities).
Cities are fun but most can be done within a day or two. This is when one needs to make a crucial decision. Is it better to try and see everything and get as much out of the area as possible or is it better to take things at a slow pace and relax a bit. This was probably the biggest fight we had amongst ourselves during the trip. We often had a slight disagreement on which one was optimal. I often choose to relax and spend time in the city as well as seeing sights, but while abroad I’ve been more interested in soaking up everything. While in Dublin, we saw most of the city in less than a day so the next day one of my roommates and myself went to the surrounding city of Glendalough. It was by far my second favorite part of the trip and really beautiful.
Step Four: Getting along with who you’re with (even if that’s just yourself).
I think it my roommates and myself got along very well, however, spending all day and night with the same people can sometimes be very stressful. We often became crabby and it was important to understand that everything was situational. If in a situation like that I would recommend scheduling even just 30 minutes to an hour of alone time or time, not with your group. I met up with friends from home many times in Edinbrough and had alone time and I think I was in a very good mood for all of the trips because of it. Even if you’re traveling alone it’s important to give yourself a break from yourself. This could take the form of taking a break from planning or just relaxing somewhere it is very beneficial.
I hope all these steps have helped you when planning your next trip. At the end of the day, I think it’s just important to trust yourself and trust that everything will work itself out. Even with complications, everything is still an experience, With that mindset, any setbacks aren’t as bad and good experiences can be appreciated more.