College Travel – Mastering the Weekend Getaway

Hello, lovelies! Well, it’s midterm, which means life is crazy and I am freaking out a little, but after a weekend getaway to Chicago to see the boy, I’m feeling a lot more grounded. Which, by the way, is kind of the best thing. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately mooning over all the places I’d like to travel, and while I haven’t made it out to Boston, or the Pacific Northwest, or Poland, or really any of the places on my list quite yet, I’m still sating myself with short trips! Sure, students might go home for a weekend, or take vacations with friends or family on break, but short trips to new places are a great way to soothe your wanderlust without breaking the bank. Whether you’re travelling solo or bringing along some friends, getting out of town for a weekend is freeing in the extreme.

College Travel – Mastering the Weekend Getaway

College is busy, but you can sate your wanderlust with the ultimate weekend trip!

Picking a Destination

This is, of course, the biggest decision. Where you go depends on what you want – an outdoor adventurer is best suited to parks with hiking trails, shopping and bustle can be found in your nearest large city, and another college’s campus can offer you a refreshing change of pace. You don’t have to stress over this too much, though. After all, if you hate it, you won’t be there long, and if you don’t, you can always come back. If you’re at a total loss – you just want to go, not necessarily to a specific place, consider your limitations, like transportation or accommodations, to give you a list of options to choose from.

Setting a Date

Assuming you’re a student, your academic calendar is your biggest decision-maker. I like to leave myself at least two days before and after my departure and return, so I have time to prepare and catch up. Travelling immediately before or after a major deadline, like an exam or essay, is a great way to make your trip stressful and un-fun. I don’t recommend it.

Travelling should be fun, not stressful, so make sure you choose the best possible date for your trip.

Travelling should be fun, not stressful, so make sure you choose the best possible date for your trip.

Transportation

As college students, we have a lot of options. Obviously, if you or a friend who’s willing to tag along have a car, you could likely drive. If you’d like the convenience of a car but don’t have one of your own, renting is an option. Public transport around campuses tends to be good – they attract bus companies like magnets. This is especially useful if you’re planning to travel to the nearest large city, which likely has a healthy population of kids who want to get home for the weekend. I’m personally a fan of passenger rail, I can see why it’s so popular in Europe and Asia. In addition to being picturesque and charming, I find trains are often more reliable and, honestly, cleaner, than any other public transport option. With any option, booking ahead is the best way to save money – last minute tickets can cost twice or three times as much, depending on the company.

Accommodations

Assuming you want more than a day trip (which is fun and definitely better than no travel at all), you’ll need somewhere to stay. If you’re headed into a city or college town where you know someone, there’s no harm in asking if you can crash on their couch. If not, hotels are built for a reason, and rooms are cheaper if you book in advance and/or share with friends. For those looking for a more unconventional place to stay, most major cities will have youth hostels, and real-estate sharing programs like Airbnb will let you stay in someone’s actual home. Which might be a little weird, but hey, isn’t travel all about new experiences and pushing your comfort zones? Or something?

To keep my packing light, I limit my bag size and shoe options, and use space-saving hacks like rolling my pants up.

To keep my packing light, I limit my bag size and shoe options, and use space-saving hacks like rolling my pants up.

Packing

Confession: I’m a chronic overpacker. I’m the kid who showed up to cross country meets with six glowsticks and a screwdriver, just in case. In case of what? I still don’t know. Taking a small bag will make your life easier and curb your tendency to overpack, if you have one. I find that limiting myself to one pair of shoes, bringing small travel bottles shampoo and such, and leaving heavy tech like my laptop at home keep my packing light and efficient. I’d also recommend packing in order of use – you don’t want to have to dig to the bottom of your bag for your pajamas the very first night.

These five steps have been essential for all the trips I’ve planned in college, and I have to tell you – getting away for a weekend is so freeing. If you haven’t taken a trip for yourself yet, don’t hold yourself back! Solo travel is a lot more empowering that you might think, and nothing helps you make friends quite like travelling together. My map librarian heart is singing at the thought of all of you guys going out on amazing adventures! Do you have any trips planned?

  • Tiffani Grosser

    Weekend trips have made my college experience that much better! In past semesters, I’ve had Mondays and Fridays off and have been able to get away on some AWESOME trips! I am a serious overpacked as well, sometimes its such a burden, but sometimes it really comes in handy! We have a weekend getaway planned for the week after finals, heading to our favorite mountain getaway in New Mexico!

  • I wish I would have taken more weekend trips in college! Where I live, there were so many opportunities to do day trips that I mostly stuck with those.

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

  • I loved weekend getaways in college! It allows so much time to explore and see the places the world has to offer. It’s pretty incredible out there

    Nicole // Chronicling Home

  • My friends and I LOVED taking weekend trips to Texas. Dallas is only 3 hours away, and we just loved taking road trips. I miss it so much! Love all of this advice. Like you, I’m definitely an overpacker! You gotta be prepared for anything, right?

  • Readjusting is always rough, especially if you have a busy week to come back to. But so worth it!

  • Sounds like the perfect life, honestly!

  • I wish I did this more when I was in college. Actually I wish I went away to college and did this more!

  • Lauren Ashley

    I love weekend getaways! They help me relax, disconnect and regroup. But then coming back is torture!

    Lauren

    http://www.thefashionistasdiary.com

  • Kayleigh Adam

    Love this! I’ve gone on so many road trips lately.

    http://www.kayleighskloset.com

  • No kidding! Hope you get a chance to go adventuring soon!

  • Hence my love for passenger rail – it’s much easier to type an essay on a train than a bus!

  • Right? Overpacking’s not so bad when everything actually fits in your bag.

  • Enjoying it is definitely the most important step!

  • I feel this in my soul.

  • These are all great tips for a quick weekend getaway! Sometimes just a weekend away is all you need to feel reenergized and refreshed, and is definitely a must some days!

    Pick Your Beau

  • These are great tips for any age traveler! I avoid traveling close to important deadlines when possible, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and work en route (not fun.)! I totally agree with your sentiments about coming back refreshed- even a short trip helps me feel refocused when I come back.

  • I love weekend getaways and totally love your tips for college students. I am definitely guilty of overpacking so I’ve used space saving packing tips and always appreciate fitting more in less space!

  • Sara Holt

    Loving these tips. So true for any weekend getaway! Enjoy it!

  • Great tips!
    My worst flaw with this is that I am a chronic overpacker.
    xoxo, Jenny || http://www.breakfastatlillys.com