A guide to visiting your Bristol friend on their year abroad without sacrificing third year

Remind your year abroad friends just how much they miss you


The third year of uni is hard, made even more difficult when your nearest and dearest head off on a year abroad without you. For those feeling lost, alone or abandoned we have gathered some tips and tricks to make seeing your uni loved ones that little bit easier.

1. Location, Location, Location

You may have a few besties on their year abroad, some closer to home than others. It is the unfortunate reality that you will not be able to visit those further afield; unless you have a week to spare and a couple of grand up your sleeve, stick to Facetiming your Aussie mate. If you have a few pals still residing within the same continent, you are in luck. Weekend trips to Euro cities are easier than ever and more affordable.

2. Two’s company, three’s a crowd?

Having a friend on their year abroad is the perfect excuse for a holiday. Gather just a few extra friends but not too many since travelling in larger groups can be a bit of a nightmare. Just be sure to converse with your year abroad bestie and make sure they are comfortable with the number of people going; they aren’t a free Airbnb for you to take advantage of.

3. Timing it right

Planning a trip during term time is tricky, especially when travelling with fellow uni students. Sit down and figure out when you will all be free and ensure that everyone’s timetable and commitments are respected. There will 100% be a weekend or bank holiday when you guys are all free so book it off ASAP. Only the brave can face the reading week holiday, but if you are a true academic weapon it might be worth it.

4. Deadline disasters

You need to strategically decide how long the visit will be as third year at uni may be too demanding to become Mr Worldwide every other weekend. Deadlines are no longer weeks in the future and the dreaded dissertation is fully in sight. I recommend finding a long weekend where you can book off two nights or so without any of you missing uni commitments.

3. Private jet, Ryanair budget

We can’t all afford to get comfy in business class on a student budget but fear not because finding cheap flights has never been easier. Websites like Skyscanner can help get the trip out of the group chat and into the calendar by tracking the cheapest flights available. Booking flights as far in advance as possible can also help save your bank account so that you can still have some money left to spend on an Aperol spritz.

4. Three students, one bed?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you and your mates will not all be able to squeeze into your pal’s cosy single bed accom. Fear not, accommodation may be the most expensive part of any holiday but nowadays there are a plethora of options available. If you are travelling in a small group, Airbnb might be your best option. There are so many cute flats that will set you back around £80 a night which split between three ends up being a bit of a bargain and often cheaper than a hostel bed. However, as a hostel enthusiast and someone who has a complicated relationship with the moral compass of Airbnb, Hostelworld is a great site that provides thousands of hostels at great prices.

5. A taste of home

Wherever your bestie may now be, it is most definitely the case that are living without some of their home favourites. For example, some European cities see no value in green rizlas and instead opt for the freakishly thin, no-skin feel. If it can fit in your hand luggage, surprise your friend with a practical gift that reminds them of home (maybe some PG Tips?).

6. Holiday mode

Going away during term time is a treat. Savour this opportunity and absolutely do not bring your laptop. Enjoy a few days off from the toils of university stress and accept that you are in vacation mode. Your mate will also definitely appreciate a break from their course and relish some home gossip.

7. Go full tourist

A weekend may seem like a short amount of time but enjoy the fact that you now have a well-seasonsed friend with a deep understanding of their new home. Your friend’s newfound local knowledge will serve as a great itinerary for your trip. Hit up their fave spots and get a feel of what life is like in their new shoes.

8. Gratitude

Always remember to thank your generous host. Your pal will have put a lot of thought into your visit so ensure their effort doesn’t go unacknowledged and give them a big thank you.

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