Every once in a while the stars align and you and your friends have a free weekend and available spending money. This either means you’re going to buy excessive amounts of pizza and watch Netflix all weekend, or you’re going to take a trip somewhere. For those of you who choose the second option, we here at Edge have provided a handy guide to making your weekend trip memorable and hassle free.
Let’s start with the planning phase.
There is a difference between your friend saying “We should totally go to this festival this weekend!” and “Let’s plan on going to this festival this weekend!” If you want a plan to get off the ground you need to take initiative and make sure that everyone is actually on board to make the plan happen. This means….
Look at how long it will take to get to your destination, when you will have to leave and when you will be getting back. Make sure that nobody has any conflicts with that time frame. This seems simple, but it is very common for someone to realize they have a conflict after the plan is already off the ground. So double checking is always a good idea.
If you are putting down a substantial amount of money in hotel fares, tickets to an event, and bus tickets, be sure that everyone pays at the same time. If one person makes that financial commitment and then everyone else backs out, you could leave that person in a tight spot. Nobody wants to find out a plan is off after they’ve spent money they can’t get back. Don’t be that guy.
How far are you going? How are you getting there? If you are driving, be sure that you have a sufficient number of drivers to get to your destination. If you are going a long distance it would be unsafe to rely on one person to drive for the entirety of the trip. Also be sure of what times you will be travelling and that drivers are comfortable driving late night or early morning if that is necessary.
Taking a bus or train? Know where you will be boarding and where you will be dropped off. How much time do you need to get to your train/bus? Where is the drop off point in relation to your destination? This leads to the next important point…
Have a map
If you are going to be in an unfamiliar city, take a map. If you are using public transportation have a map of the metro, or a bus schedule. You can find these things on your phone but physical copies are a good idea in case of unforeseen circumstances like lack of network or dead phones. Seriously, maps are your friend. Chances are you will get lost at least once. Have your map ready when you do.
It can be tricky finding a place to stay if you are spending the night somewhere, especially if you are in town for a large event. You obviously want someplace within walking distance of where you will be spending your time or at least within close proximity to public transportation and naturally you want to spend as little money as possible. The easiest solution is knowing someone in the area who will let you crash at their place.
If that isn’t an option, then hostels are an inexpensive way to go. The trick is being sure that you find a safe and clean hostel. This is where internet research is absolutely necessary. Pay your due diligence and check ratings and reviews. There are perfectly nice hostels out there, you just need to look carefully.
If you can reduce the number of times you are buying food on your trip, you can cut costs immensely. Pack food to eat. Bring lots of snacks, but not just candy. Granola bars are a much better option. If you are going to a show, a festival, a game or something else where you can only buy overpriced food once you’re inside, try to eat before and after you get it to save yourself from buying that $15 burger that isn’t even that good. The same tactic applies for drinks. Bring water if it is allowed at the event. Usually unopened bottles are cool to take in with you and you can refill them once you’re in.
Make sure everyone has a say in what you do and where you go during your trip. You have all weekend, so that’s enough time to accommodate everyone. This is especially important at music festivals or places with lots of attractions. Make time to do what everyone wants to do. You might have to sacrifice a little bit of what you were interested in, but you’ll have a better time. Most importantly have fun with it. These trips don’t always come around too often during a semester, so enjoy them when you can.