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It has been over a year since I have traveled anywhere due to COVID-19 restrictions, so coming back to campus in the fall and spring made me incredibly happy! Just being together with my friends and getting a bit of time away from my family (don't get me wrong, I love them a ton, but needed a break, lol) was a nice change of pace. Even if you aren't a senior in college right now, you can follow these steps to plan a trip with your friends! 

Friends

Prior to any other planning, you must figure out how many friends are going! This will be essential to booking a place to stay, reservations for activities and meals, method of travel, etc. Send a text, FaceTime, or call the group of people who you want to be a part of the trip! Make sure you figure out a date that works for everyone, or have a set date that works for you and see if everyone else is able to go. If someone is unsure of whether or not they can go just have a specific amount of time they need to let you know by so there aren't any last minute changes.

Pick a Location

Once you have gathered your group of friends and know the exact amount of people who will be traveling, decide on where you would like to go! There are endless options that can range from relaxing to extremely busy depending on the location that is chosen. You could go to the beach, a national forest, drive there, fly there, meet up with other friends, and much more! My friends and I ultimately chose to go to the beach in New Jersey due to current COVID-19 restrictions and since it's a bit closer to where we attend college. When we were in the process of choosing, we looked at places up and down the entire east coast because we knew we wanted the beach and to drive there. So when you are deciding, make sure to take distance and type of travel into consideration as well as all of the activities available in that location!

Somewhere to Stay

The location and mode of transportation have been chosen. Now you must find a place to stay and decide how many nights you want to be there. Asking everyone in the group what they are okay with spending before you look is a priority because you might find a really nice place that is out of some people's budgets, especially if you are a senior in college about to start paying off your student loans! On the other hand, you want to check out all of the pictures to make sure one of the "rooms" listed doesn't look like the bed in the closet like this picture! Finding an Airbnb might be the best option for larger groups of people because you can usually get a nice house to fit everyone for a decent price point. A hotel or inn would be great for a smaller group of friends, but it's up to you and your friends!

Packing

You've gotten everything in order and the trip is right around the corner! Don't wait until the last minute like me and start packing because you'll definitely forget something (I forgot contacts but luckily had my glasses). I start by making a list of everything I need for clothes, shoes, toiletries, wallet, etc. so I check it all off as I pack! As you write things down, you'll remember other things you need to pack that you may have forgotten about (if you're above the age of 21, don't forget to bring a form of ID!). Be sure to check the weather so you aren't freezing or way too warm depending on the temperature and humidity of the location you're traveling to. 

Activities/Reservations

You might be the person in your friend group who is in charge of researching places to eat and activities to do, or you're just a food lover who wants to make sure you're eating some yummy stuff while on your trip! Either way, looking up places in the area before you travel is way more beneficial than if you wait until you arrive. At that point, everyone is hangry (hungry/angry because they're hungry), and you might not be able to get into a lot of places without reservations. Same goes for activities - they'll be booked pretty far in advance depending on what you want to do, so don't wait until the last minute. For a trip with a few days, I'd recommend making two-three reservations for meals just to be sure, and then choosing the rest as you go. I always love asking the person at check-in about their favorite places to go in the area since the locals usually know best!

I used these tips when booking my senior trip with my friends and it helped a ton with the preparation! We can now enjoy a stress-free trip and each other's company instead of worrying about all of the logistics!

Nikki is currently in her final year in the 3+1 Masters in Accounting Program at Siena College. She loves art, turtles, the color blue and italian food (especially her mom’s homemade spaghetti and meatballs). She is currently working towards her CPA and just accepted a full time position at The Bonadio Group with the Commercial Audit Team!
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