Learning how to plan and budget your own day trips as an adult can be intimidating, especially in an unfamiliar country. However, with a few considerations and a willingness to pivot when needed, day trips can make unforgettable memories and allow you to venture outside of your host city while studying abroad!
Here are a few tips that I think will help you perfect your day trip planning, even as an inexperienced traveler!
1) Get a good night of sleep before!
I totally understand the appeal of “toughing it out” to make it to a late-night event before your trip, but traveling can be draining energy-wise and mentally! Sleep will help you stay alert, be able to adjust to changes, and overall help you have more fun day-of.
2) If possible, plan to return back in late afternoon or early evening.
I have always found that returning back earlier in the evening allows for some decompression and preparation for the next day, which can be super important if you return on a Sunday (don’t forget those Monday classes!).
3) Don’t stress too much about your itinerary, go with the flow!
Some of the best day trips are the ones guided by a whim on when to eat, if you’d prefer to skip an attraction to prioritize another, if you want to pop into stores, or if there are local events you stumble upon. Don’t worry too much about timing, lining up perfectly or rushing from place to place (unless you have an appointment, of course!).
4) Comfortable clothes are a MUST
We all love looking our best for Instagram photos, but comfort can be essential on busy day trips. Unless you have an opportunity for an outfit change, try to balance comfort and style when considering your clothes for the day.
5) Don’t take yourself too seriously!
We all make mistakes, and day trips to new places always have opportunities for missteps. Maybe you get off at the wrong train stop, or realize the restaurant you picked wasn’t as good as expected, or you weren’t able to see every site on your bucket list. Things happen, and a vital aspect of day trips (and traveling overall) is realizing that the “perfect” day trip will always be a little imperfect. Learn to laugh off mistakes, be gentle with yourself, and go make some memories!
Written by: Katherine, Fall 2023 Florence student from Saint Mary’s College of California