University is all about new experiences. Once you arrive, you’ll meet new people, in new surroundings, and learn new things! What’s even better is that LSE is located in London. There is a colourful variety of things to do right at your fingertips, be it going to the theatre, diving into the past at a museum, or strolling through a park. Yet, although I’ve grown to love London during my time here, I have to admit that some of my fondest memories as a student were created out of the city.
London is ideally located for travelling, and you should take advantage of this. While doing this during breaks between terms is great, travelling during the term offers a different kind of adventure. It may seem intimidating to take a trip while you still have coursework and readings on your plate, but it is possible and definitely worth it.
Leaving the city and exploring somewhere you’ve never been before is always exciting, but during term time it gains an extra aspect of enjoyment as it is, essentially, an escape from your busy student life. It’s true that you’ll probably be limited to weekend trips as lessons and lectures run during the week. You might think that two days is not enough to truly discover a new location and all it has to offer, and this may deter you.
You’re right. It’s not enough time. But I promise you – you can discover a lot more than you think you can in two days. I was surprised by how much of an attachment I could build to a place I spent just a weekend in. My first weekend trip was to Lisbon, Portugal and I’ll never forget the breathtaking view from atop Castelo de São Jorge. Malta’s natural beauty and the friendliness of Edinburgh also have special places in my memory.
The trick is to make the most of the time you have. Some things to consider…
Rescheduling lessons, missing lectures
If you want to leave for your trip earlier than after your last class on Friday, you may well be able to! On the LSE website, you can view timetables by course code, enabling you to see the times of all classes your course has on during the week. It’s fine to swap out of your class and attend another for a week, just remember to email your regular class teacher. As for lectures, most will be recorded. If this is not the case, you can always follow up with the lecturer during office hours if you want to, or ask a friend for notes.
Choosing where to go
This may be a huge point of debate, as considerations such as safety and expenses come into play. From asking my friends, I’ve found that most have travelled to Venice, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, Edinburgh…the list is potentially endless. What my friends and I have found helpful and efficient in resolving such discussions is simply going on the websites of budget airlines and filtering for the cheapest flights. If you’re flexible with the timing of your trip, try inputting various dates while filtering, as a different day may lead to a significant difference in price.
Book flights in advance
In general, though budget airlines will always offer inexpensive rates, booking in advance tends to get you a better deal.
It doesn’t have to be flying !
Buses and trains may be cheaper, depending on where you’re heading. Be sure to research all your options before committing to one.
Plan your trip in advance
Once you get to your destination, don’t waste too much time looking up things to do. Before leaving, look up the attractions you want to visit, and make a rough itinerary for your days away. The Internet is a treasure chest when it comes to two or three-day trip itineraries for a range of locations, and altering these to match your tastes more precisely won’t take much effort. Remember you also have to know how to get around once you arrive, so review the public transport options of where you’re going.
Once you’ve gone through the previous step, you’ll probably have a good idea as to how much money you’ll need to bring with you on the trip. Give yourself a bit of a buffer above your estimate, just in case. You can choose to exchange money at the airport, but you can generally find better exchange rates elsewhere, particularly if you order currency online in advance to collect at the airport.
Be open to backpackers hostels and Airbnb. These are fantastic options, especially if you’re on a budget. Also make sure that accommodation cited to be ‘centrally’ located is actually where you want to be in order to make the most of your time.
I hope the takeaway of this post is that you’re a bit more certain of travelling during term time. Don’t be afraid – go be an explorer!
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