You walk out of your last exam and it’s there in front you: three glorious months with no lectures, no assignments, no dealing with your housemates’ unwillingness to clean up after themselves. It’s your time to do whatever you want which, in most students’ case, is travel.
There are essentially three classic trips taken by university students every summer. There’s the Big Trip, think your stereotypical South East Asia/Australia/USA road trip. Then in between serving pints at your local pub, there is your Wild Weekend Getaway: Ibiza/ Zante/basically any European city. Finally, there is the classic I-need-to-boost-my-CV-but-also-want-to-have-fun-Volunteer-Trip, usually along the lines of teaching English or conservation with turtles. You know the trips, the Instagram-worthy stuff, but which one will you be on this summer, and are you fully prepared?
The Big Trip
If you haven’t started planning this one already, the reality is it might have to wait until next year. The Big Trip takes time and research to do properly, as the last thing you want to do is pay £500+ for flights and only realise when you’ve returned that you missed out on something amazing over there. However, some companies, like STA, have last minute deals that you might be able to score if you haven’t started planning yet. It’s still important even with these last-minute package deals that you do a bit of research for the Big Trip; the likelihood is you’ll be visiting some very different cultures and may even need visas or vaccinations to enter the country. To avoid being denied entry on landing or causing offence whilst over there, researching the country your off to can save you a lot of hassle in the long run.
These trips, speaking from personal experience, are usually booked mid-revision breakdown, a pick-me-up before the looming exams. Whilst they serve their purpose and have you excited for a weekend of care-free fun, don’t book too hastily. Make sure you have everything you need before pressing buy. Check your passport is in date, as your passport may need to still be valid for another 6 months after your return, depending on where you are going. Don’t forget to also locate your EHIC; we may be negotiating Brexit, but haven’t left just yet, so your EHIC can still help as long as it’s valid. After ensuring you’ve got all of that, feel free to book your wild weekend and let your hair down – you deserve it!
Again, this isn’t really your last-minute trip; it was probably advertised during Fresher’s Week at the start of the year, or you applied for a position during January. But there are still things you can do to ensure a safe and exciting trip. For volunteer expeditions it’s really important to check which vaccinations you’ll need with a doctor; there are often recommended vaccinations on websites but as you’ll likely be heading to more remote and less touristy destinations you should get this double checked. Additionally, since volunteer expeditions aren’t your usual holiday you need to read the fine print of insurance policy details to check you have the right insurance.