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Essential Travel Planning Tips For The Wanderlusting Student

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Waterloo chapter.

After a long year of studying, working, and 10 million other things we get involved in as students, summer is finally upon us. And I don’t know about you, but I could use a well-deserved vacation away. But with working a summer job or internship, taking summer classes, or just general broke-ness, it may seem like the vacation of your dreams is an unattainable goal. But fear not! Below are some tips and tricks that can help you plan out and finally go on that long-awaited adventure.


Dream big! First things first, find your travel inspiration! Think of every possible place you want to see in the world and all the cultures and activities you want to experience. Use sites like Pinterest, Youtube, or the countless travel blogs out there (my favourite is DamonandJo’s travel blog and Youtube channel) to start looking for travel ideas. Maybe it’s a Europe tour, a backpacking trip through Asia, or a coast-to-coast Canadian adventure. No matter how big or small the trip, don’t be afraid to say it out loud or write it down! Making a kind of travel bucket list will help narrow down the kind of vacation you’d like to go on and give you a starting point to build your trip on.




Now it’s time to consider your financial options and limitations. Let me say first that it’s not a bad thing to spend a little more on travel because it widens your view on the world and as far as I know, no one’s ever regretted the money they spent on a really good adventure. Just make sure to give yourself a maximum budget and then stick to it. Consider how much money you actually can save up or work off and plan your trip around that. A good tip is to look up the average price range for transportation and one night’s accommodation at your destination, multiply it by how long you’d like to stay, and if you can afford that it’s no problem because you can definitely find ways to make that trip cheaper.



Save so you can splurge

For myself, transportation and accommodations is where I like to save, and food is where I like to splurge. Always shop around for discounts when booking tickets for planes or trains, or consider less convenient transportation like cheaper flights with a longer layover or a lengthier bus ride. Also consider alternative accommodations like hostels, AirBnbs, home-sharing, or everyone’s favourite – staying with a friend or relative! If your most important part of a trip is seeing artistic and historic sites, check to see if there’s a kind of city pass or tourist package you can buy in advance. Guaranteed, putting in a little more work to get that discount will definitely be worth your while. Take it from my friends who stayed up until 2:00am to get that coveted VIA Rail $150 Unlimited Pass the night it sold out!



Do your research and be prepared!

Now it’s time for the hard labour – ironing out all the important details of your trip. For your handy-dandy reference if you can answer the following questions, then you will have most, if not all, of your vacation planning bases covered:

  • How are you going to get there? What time will you leave/arrive and how long will it take to get there?

  • Where are you going to sleep and how long will you stay? What is provided with your accommodations?

  • What is your destination known for? What are the must-see attractions, must-try activities, and must-eat foods?

  • Do you need to do anything before leaving like renewing your passport or getting essential vaccinations? Do you need to book off work?

  • What do you need to pack? Consider the seasons and weather of your destination and the kind of activities you will be partaking in.

  • Do you have a back-up plan and/or necessary insurance in case of emergencies on your trip?


Don’t over plan!


Some details, like what time your Megabus leaves or when the reception desk at your hostel closes, are essential to know and plan around so you don’t end up in a state of emergency. But other details, like knowing where you are going to have your morning coffee for every single day of your trip, are not as important. Give yourself a list of must-sees – things you definitely don’t want to miss, but also give yourself the flexibility to wander and explore in the moment! After all, getting lost and discovering new things is a big part of the fun of travelling!


Lastly, just go and have fun!


Chelsey Pangilinan is a French and Business student at the University of Waterloo. She is very obsessed with unicorns and iced coffee drinks.
University of Waterloo Honours French and Business 2019, Her Campus Waterloo Campus Correspondent, Social Media Guru, Tech enthusiast.  Fluent in emoji, HTML and CSS. Avid reader of Refinery 29, Buzzfeed, Mashable & Tech Crunch. Follow on twitter @jena_tweets