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I can’t imagine I’m the only American who came to St Andrews with the hope of taking at least a few trips over the years that I’m here. My plan, however, was to wait until later in the year, or at least until the end of the first semester. This plan quickly vanished after I met a friend who insisted on gifting me a Virgo present for a weekend trip to Dublin. Now that I’ve returned, I’m ready to relay what I learned about travelling with friends before you hit the road for some pre-Christmas travelling!

Try not to take a trip until you feel ready. Yes, despite the pressure.

This trip was literally my first plane ride without my family, and first travel experience with someone I had known no more than a couple of weeks. I was in a beautiful, exciting city and all I could think about was impressing my friend and everyone around me. Instead of enjoying this picturesque trip, all I felt was this deep seated feeling of regret. Who knows how different my experience would have been if I waited and did it a different time, after growing accustomed to my uni life and new friends. Timing absolutely matters so make sure to adjust, avoid conforming, and choose to go on a trip when it feels right for you!

DISCUSS EVERYTHING

Growing up in a highly spontaneous family with virtually no travel itinerary, I underestimated the importance of planning when travelling with friends. Not that you can’t be spontaneous or change plans according to your mood, but try to get a good sense of what your travel partner’s ideal trip looks like. Maybe take some time where you sit down and discuss your preferences, whether it be hotels, hostels, or restaurants, and sort how much you’re willing to spend. Finding compromising in advance could relieve a lot of tension down the line if you manage and pushing these discussions off can make for a lot of unnecessary stress. For instance, while some students are comfortable limiting trips to 2-3 over the year, others want to travel every month.

Take a look at your friendships

And I’m pretty serious. It might be worth asking yourself the following questions to help you figure out who should become your “travel friend”:

  • Which friends do you spend time with alone?
  • Which friends do you only hang out with in groups?
  • Which friends do you feel the most yourself with?
  • Will your friend also be a good travel companion?
  • How comfortable do you feel around them?
  • Can you be yourself with said friend?

Some of these questions will really help you figure out who your travel friends are and make your experience one that you can look back on without any regret.

All in all just trust your gut! Do what feels right to you regardless of any external pressures. That is the key to making travelling with university friends a more enjoyable experience.

Samantha Mellott

St Andrews '26

Hello! I'm a first year student studying in the St Andrews-William and Mary joint degree programme. I am studying economics with a possible minor in film studies. I'm from San Diego, California. I love spending time with my family, binge watching about every teen tv show there is, shopping for clothes I don't need need, and exercising inside or outside.