Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Independent Travel

Harlaxton encourages its students to travel and see as much of Europe in a four month semester as possible.  Class is held Monday through Thursday allowing students a longer weekend.  Though Harlaxton offers pre-organized trips that many students take advantage of, others decide to schedule their own travel with smaller groups.

Like many Harlaxton students, I have not had the opportunity to travel abroad prior to this semester.  I have observed first-hand how much work goes into organizing a successful adventure. 

When planning a trip, there are many aspects to take into consideration.  A student budget is an obstacle that all of us are learning to work around.  When booking a place to stay, choosing a hostel instead of a hotel is a major money saver.  There are some less than favorable hostels which only make the alright hostels seem more lovely. 

Photo from Erin Taylor: Above Carly Berblinger below Erin Taylor find their assigned bunks at St. Christopher’s Hostel in Edinburgh, Scotland. provides the available hostels in the destination of choice with a combination of personal reviews and ratings along side the hostel’s information and unique accommodations. 

Figuring out coordinating transportation is usually the most difficult challenge in the planning process.  The least expensive flights on already cheap airlines like EasyJet and RyanAir are in the very early morning, on Fridays.  Therefore many students use Thursday nights for travel via train to airports across London in order to make the early flights on Fridays.  Many Thursday nights have been spent ‘sleeping’ on cold airport floors.

Photo from Jackie Albin: pictured left to right Carly Berberlinger, Catherine Street and Erin Taylor snoozing in Gatwick Airport. is a useful site with a list of airports that are open all night and helpful tips and tricks.  For example, keeping your passport zipped up inside your coat or tangling your belongings around your body so a person can feel if anyone were to grab their things.

Finding a source of nourishment while at the destination gets expensive. Preparing meals by shopping at the local markets rather than eating out at restaurants for every meal is easy on the wallet and a great opportunity to emerge in the culture of the area.

Photo from ErinTaylor: pictured from left to right Carly Berblinger and Erin Taylor find lunch at a market in Nice, France.

Though many of us find thrills in the minor mistakes along the way, it is nice to avoid a hassle that could easily be avoided.  I have found that the more research and behind the scenes work that is put into travel plans, the more relaxed the trip will be.  But just sometimes these small mistakes turn into the some of the most memorable moments.

-Erin Taylor


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