How’s everyone doing? I’m currently questioning my very existence but then again, that’s what usually happens during the run up to exams which begin on Monday :0
Something pretty cool happened last night: it snowed! Albeit for only an hour but that didn’t stop lots of students from running out to enjoy a spirited game of snowball. The day began as usual: temperatures were roughly 8 °C and I even went to the Sports Park for a kettlebell class (I definitely feel the pain today: walking up the stairs is killing me). I must admit though that by 4pm, it was starting to get pretty cold and it had been raining all day. And then suddenly, the rain began turning in snow pellets! This phenomenon is quite rare and is known a thundersnow. To learn more about it, check out the video. Below is a picture I took from my accommodation as well as pictures from around the University.
As mentioned, examinations are mere days away now. To cope with the stress and get me through it, I booked my next holiday yesterday: to Prague! I’ll be away for four nights right after the examination period and before the new semester begins (We have a week off in between). I’m super excited and thought that since it’s been pretty quiet besides continuous revision and coffee breaks, today I thought I would provide some tips I find super helpful when planning student breaks.
- A bit of planning goes a long way. I’m all for spontaneous trips but if we’re trying to keep close to the purse strings, even a month’s ahead notice of an idea of a plan can really go a long way in saving on the pounds. I usually take 3-4 nights breaks to neighboring European cities and travel during the University holiday times. So for this trip for example, I began thinking about it just as we broke off for Christmas break back in mid-Dec.
- Booking.com, Hostelworld and Hostelbookers are your best friend! There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t stay in comfort whilst travelling on a student budget (though if you want to rough it out and sleep in the airport, by all means: I’ve done it!). I began with the last two websites but have since became a loyal user of booking.com. The biggest reason is because lots of accommodation can be reserved without any payment fee until a couple of days before the actual holiday. I find it amazing because it gives me the option to lock-in prices of accommodation whilst shopping around for other accommodation. Side note: there’s always the option of AirBnB but I have actually yet to stay in one so can’t really provide feedback
- I’ve never actually taken coaches cross-country so am not able to provide much information on this. But I’m pretty good at booking flights because I tend to never pay more than £40 for return flights. I find Skyscanner very handy because it provides comprehensive comparison of many flight carries. StudentUniverse is also another great way to secure cheap flights because the website caters specifically to students whereby flight prices can be 45% cheaper (Etihad flights to Malaysia were £580 whereelse the same flight on StudentUniverse was £450). My suggestion would be to always open a private window when browsing for flights and even accommodation because it’s always cheaper as your search history will not be saved in the private browser.
- Visit travel forums for suggestions on what to do/where to visit/what to eat. Tripadvisor has been a godsend when I’ve been researching for my previous holidays. For every city, lots of people provide tips and even guides which are very useful. There are lots of ways of approaching a holiday: some people want adventure, some want relaxation, and others just want to eat everything available. These guides written by people who have experienced the city are the best way to help you decide what type of holiday you would like and plan accordingly.
- The local library can provide lots of useful information. I always visit the Guildford library (located in Guildford Town Center) to borrow travel guides/books on the respective city I am visiting. I find it useful to have a small pocket guide while I’m on holiday as it provides the framework on what I would like to see/eat/do. The books/guides usually come with a map as well which is great! The best part: it’s free to get a membership at the library so essentially, we get lots of free information without having to buy any of the travel guides
- Pack light! I always go on holiday with only a hand-carry suitcase because I don’t see the point in paying for check-in luggage. Besides, thinking rationally, its only 5 days away from home so you only really need the essentials. Pack a couple of tops, a comfy pair of jeans, 100ml tubes of toiletries (which can be bought from Primark for a pound) and essential medication. Wear your comfiest pair of walking shoes and definitely bring along a jacket or sweater, depending on the weather in the evenings. My motto is as long as I have my passport, wallet and phone, I’m alright!
- Shop around when needing to convert currency. I usually convert a small amount in England but tend to change currency in the visiting country. I’ve found that I tend to get better rates when converting pounds to Hungarian currency for example in Budapest itself. Also, always keep extra pounds in case of emergencies if you would prefer to not use your debit card to withdraw money abroad. Debit cards may be charged and it may not work if restrictions in terms of abroad usage are in place
- Talking about emergencies, get travel insurance! MoneySuperMarket does comparisons for travel insurance for students specifically. I have been using this specific website and have never had any issues. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and the ability to compare insurance packages does allow you to select a package that is affordable and covers your own personal needs.
That’s all that I can come up with right now. Hope it helps! If ever you have any questions regarding this post or any other questions at all, please feel free to contact us either via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, comment on the post below or drop us a message at our Facebook page.
Side note: I was involved in the agent conference that ran for most of this week. I took part in the Student Ambassador panel session whereby six student ambassadors answered a range questions involving university life, academics and social life as well as took questions from agents from a range of countries. I always enjoy getting involved in student ambassador events because not only do I get to meet new people and promote why I love the University, but also, I get to improve on my communication and interpersonal skills. I then took a few agents on a campus tour together with the Indonesian student ambassador, Diyah.
Thats all for now! Till next time: selamat tinggal x