When I was studying abroad last spring, I got used to hopping on a bus and wandering all over England. My days were filled with hiking, exploring, and adventures. And when I got home and started working full-time right away, it was kind of a rude awakening.
When you’re preparing for a semester abroad, it’s easy to get stressed out or carried away over your shopping list. Everywhere I looked online was recommending that I buy lots of expensive travel supplies, and my budget just wouldn’t support it. Here’s my breakdown of the things I ended up buying (or not) for my study abroad program, and whether I think the purchase would be worthwhile for you.
Low on cash? I know the feeling! This spring I’ve been working on paying off my car and medical bills, but I’m getting a little stir crazy since that has meant No Travel for a while.
If you’re in the same boat, here are some suggestions for satisfying the travel bug while still being kind to your bank account.
When I was studying abroad, I remember hearing from someone who wasn’t American that their impression was that half of Americans eat greasy, unhealthy food all the time and the other half is obsessed with fitness and dieting. I mean…not completely inaccurate?
After exams ended during my semester abroad, a few friends and I set out on a speedy tour of the English Peak and Lake Districts. They had made most of the plans, so I just tagged along. We never stayed too long in one town; we bounced around to different cities every other day in order to squeeze everything we wanted to see into the space of a week. The many train and bus rides and hotel check-ins and hauling all our luggage around with us got a little chaotic at times, but I loved the nomadic feeling of waking up to an unfamiliar landscape every morning, long journeys through the countryside, and seeing so much in a small amount of time.
I stopped using shampoo and conditioner for a while when I was studying abroad and then permanently on my most recent trip to the UK. Over time, the “water-only” method trains your hair to produce less oil and stay clean longer. I already wanted to try it, and traveling provided a good opportunity because I was spending extended time alone; I wanted to be more flexible with where and when I showered as I bounced around to new towns and hostels almost every day; and my top priority was packing light.