Well Travelled

Our Guide to summer travel

By Kate Pearson & Emma Foster

Besides LSD, travelling is probably the most mind expanding experience you can have. Although the thought of leaving the home comforts of Britain may seem scary, by embracing different cultures with an open mind, you will change and grow as a person. In the words of St. Augustine, “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” So ignore the political bullshit and borders which divide us, this entire world belongs to us all and we should explore every corner of it.

Some of the best and easiest ways to see the world involve doing things you wouldn’t originally think of. Teaching English as a foreign language is highly popular and an incredibly rewarding way to go, allowing you to travel to different exotic countries and immerse yourself completely into each culture, whilst also looking amazing on your CV. Sites such as gapyear.com and languagecourse.net are a great way to get started with this, helping you get your TESOL and TEFL qualifications to enable you to teach abroad. Volunteer work is also popular, working on projects like archaeological digs or construction work in third world countries, then being able to travel after. Unitedplanet.org and globalvolunteers.org are the best sites for information on this.

If you are a UK citizen you can work in Europe without needing a visa and over the holiday season, bars and restaurants will need workers who can speak English. If you want to secure a job overseas before you plan your flights, you can look on jobsabroadbulletin.co.uk, which is regularly updated by companies or people abroad looking for employees such as waitresses, chefs and even nannies and tutors.

Whether you want to stay local in Europe or travel a little further out, an important tip is to research the countries transportation services, and how expensive they are. For example a ticket to Europe could be cheap, but if an additional train journey is going to cost you €100, the overall price is going to rack up. A plane ticket to Thailand might be more expensive, travel costs once you get there are incredibly low, enabling you to be unrestricted in your explorations. Some good sites for finding cheap flights include travelcuts.com, which include student discounts into their fares, and skyscanner.com who find the cheapest flights to different destinations from the nearest airport to you. Don’t be afraid of mega long layovers, you will find the best deals that way. Although camping out in an airport for 10 hours will definitely suck, it’s probably best to think of it as a life experience.

Inter-railing is a great idea for those who want to see Europe, but don’t want to have to find work. It consists of buying a train ticket which lets you travel anywhere on the continent, within a certain amount of days (the more days you want, the more expensive the ticket). It takes extensive planning of your desired route, where you will stay and how you will get your food, but it’s worth it. If you have some money saved and feel like you and your mates could do with an adventure, this is probably the best option. Go to www.interrail.eu for more information.

For those who want to go wild at one of the best party resorts, such as Magaluf, Ibiza and Zante, playawayabroad.com is the website for you. It’ll give you the opportunity to work at a party destination with your friends for a month or more, working as a promoter, at a bar, restaurant or hotel. Playaway sets you up a month’s accommodation including an induction week which involves everything a party animal could dream of; bar crawls, boat parties and days on the beach, with a whole new group of people who could be friends for life. Although this opportunity means you don’t get to travel and see the culture of different countries, it is perfect if you want to live the student life over the summer and meet some fun loving people while living in a hot country.

Now for some tips for when you reach your destination. First off, don’t be antisocial. Hanging with the locals is absolutely the best way to see a country, and if that involves trading beer for weed on a beach in the south of France, then go for it. We’re young, this is the time for living before we get married and have kids and all of that other boring stuff. Eat where the locals eat, and don’t be afraid to try street food. If you watched them make it fresh then indulge yourself, because if it hasn’t been dumbed down by a restaurant, it’s the true flavours of the country. If you didn’t watch them make it however, probably best to say no thanks. Be open to new things; it might be outside of your comfort zone but that’s where the magic happens. Spend some time being a tourist; you’re not going to go to Rome and not see the Coliseum are you? And don’t be afraid to be spontaneous, even if it requires unknowingly walking six miles across Paris at night with your friend just to see the Eiffel Tower.

Sometimes it’s the little things that can make a trip just that bit more incredible. Smile and laugh often, and mingle with other travellers. Don’t be afraid of hostels – they can be far better than hotels. Remember to bargain and haggle, it’s an expected part of a transaction, and keep a diary/notebook. You can make note of the little things that you may forget about until you’re reading it again in forty years time.  As I send this off to the Editor, I am also packing for a spontaneous trip to Barcelona. So remember to have fun, take the necessary precautions but don’t be afraid to live . . . “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”

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