A College Student’s Guide to Travelling

Be it a stroll down the petit alleys of Paris on a warm, sunny day with a croissant in hand and the Eiffel Tower right in front of you, or a night-time Broadway show in New York City followed by a walk across the dazzling Times Square; each of us have painted an image of our perfect vacation away from college. Of course, reality isn’t all that simple, keeping in mind the varied groups of friends you have in college and their own struggles; it is too hard to reach a consensus while planning a trip, especially when you’re on a budget and have extremely strict parents who want you home by seven in the evening! But if you’re anything like me, and I bet you are, I would suggest to try and go on at least three kinds of trips while you’re still in college:

The Solo Trip:

Now acknowledging the fact that this is probably the hardest thing to get your parents to agree to, it’s best if you plan it out with a school friend or someone with whom your family has been comfortable with for a while now; even if it’s your favourite cousin! Coming from my own experience, this is definitely one of the trips which you will come to cherish the most, so proper planning is a must. Do your research, get all dramatic with a whiteboard if you must but chalk out a plan that shows your parents that you are ready for this. 

Three things your plan must have: travel details, accommodation, food plus other miscellaneous costs.

A four-day trip to Manali will teach you as much as a month-long trip to Europe, as long as you take responsibility for yourself, while your parents secretly track your whereabouts back at home, of course! To make the most of it, make sure to explore as much as you can, especially on foot. There is nothing like discovering a place on your own, as compared to the tourist buses that only cover the most popular tourist spots. Don’t be afraid to experiment, with food or with clothes; look for as many local shops and vendors for the real experience. And most importantly, be alert and stay safe!

The Group Trip:

This is a trip you’ll possibly take with a group of your close friends from college or the whole department, but to experience it once is a must, particularly for those who have a tight budget and need official notices for permission at home. Don’t feel disheartened just because your professors are going to be on the same bus as you, turns out some of them can actually be fun beyond the classroom environment! 

Three things to keep in mind: Be careful while sneaking in things without permission, dance till your legs can’t move, and stay hydrated.

On such a trip, you’ll form stronger bonds with your friends or change groups altogether, you’ll find out what your first impression comes across as, how tasty and affordable Maggi is, and most importantly; you’ll realise how terrible, yet memorable those bus rides are, when three of your friends fall sick and you haven’t slept a wink in 72 hours.

The Trip with a Purpose:

These kinds of trips you’ll probably take with your society members; for a competition, you all have spent weeks preparing for and let’s face it, don’t really know each other that well to share rooms with, but do anyway. Many of you will be apprehensive at the start, a lot of you will be nervous, and hell of a lot more of you will burst into tears several times during the trip, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Mainly because you will witness your seniors dance to ‘‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’’ at 3 am, find out shocking things about your own teammates that you will positively tell the next batch of juniors at orientation, and be too tipsy to perform the next day.

Three things to remember: Stay close to a senior if you’re new/ look out for your freshers if you’re not, carry deodorants because absolutely no one will take a shower, and to take it easy if you don’t win.

To say I’m fortunate to already have experienced all three kinds of trips is an understatement, but I vouch for the fact that you will have the time of your life on any one of them; even if the trip makes you anxious at the beginning of things go wrong during. 

Learning how to travel on schedule, little things like staying hydrated or comforting a homesick friend, money management when it comes to shopping or food, handling bills and credit cards; just some of the greatest skills you can develop during college. These are the ones which help you take care of yourself, giving you a preview of how much you can handle on your own in the real world, and make you realise how much you’re going to miss that freedom and feelings of paranoia, curiosity, and excitement, once you’re back and stuck in class for a whole new semester.