Traveling during your time abroad is about exploring new places and forming new friendships along the way. That being said, planning a weekend trip can be a challenge aside from finding the cheapest airfares or booking the safest hostel. But probably one of the most challenging tasks is finding the right person to travel with you. If you already have a group of fellow exchange friends that you find yourself compatible with, you may not have to worry about this at all. But even after one trip together you may find you’d rather travel with other people. Here’s a guide to finding that perfect travel buddy you can always count on:
- Find someone just as enthusiastic as you. This shouldn’t be too hard to do, because when you study abroad you will meet other students just as eager to travel as you. Often times, these people will also be exchange students who want to see a lot of XYZ while they’re abroad.
- Find out if you and your travel buddy’s schedules align. If you are planning a trip falling on a certain weekend, make sure your group doesn’t have any important commitments that same weekend. Ask your friend to check his or her schedule twice before planning any further, because after booking tickets with RyanAir or any cheap airline, these tickets are not always refundable.
- Plan an itinerary and see if anyone wants to join in. Everyone has different priorities when it comes to traveling. For instance, you may just want to hit all the sightseeing spots, and for some, it might be just hitting up the bars or exploring the nightlife. On the other hand, you may want to stay in Paris for 5 days, while your friend wants to stay only for 2. Your priorities for traveling should always come first since this is your experience, but there will be times you may have to compromise. If you’re lucky, the person you ask may be down for anything. Planning takes a lot of time and effort so your friend might be relying on you to do all the work!
- See if your friend’s budget aligns with yours. As a student, it’s perfectly acceptable to save every euro, pound or whatever when traveling. However, that doesn’t mean you should miss out on trying escargot or go to that beautiful cathedral that seems unreasonably expensive. If your friend would rather eat fast food every day or book the cheapest hostel with bad reviews and that’s not up your alley, you might have to look elsewhere.
- Travel with someone you can visit. Not only will your friend be able to show you around as your personal tour guide, but he or she may be able to provide you with free accommodation! Plus, free meals if your friend’s mom welcomes you to dinner!
- Compatibility. Just like finding random roommates on your university’s housing page, traveling with someone you may not know well can feel the same. If you know each other fairly well and get along, then you should go with whoever you are comfortable with going. On the other hand, it’s good to keep an open mind and get to know someone a bit better during that plane or train ride.
- Flexible or inflexible? Put two inflexibles together and these two may butt heads. Or put two flexibles together and they may get nothing done. If you consider yourself to be inflexible you may find it easier to travel with people who are more flexible. That way, you can take the lead in directing your travel plans.