By Julia Fields, CAS Class of 2021
Bedford Square News, Spring 2019 Issue 1
In a school community of roughly 500 students, rather than the 50,000 in New York, it becomes much easier to make friends. Whether in class, in dorms, or anywhere beyond and between, meeting people at NYU London has been nothing short of exciting and rewarding. Friend groups grow as friends of friends start hanging around, and soon all of you are packing your bags to travel to some delightful corner of the world, together. There is never anything wrong with large groups, but there are good and bad ways to approach traveling when there are ten or more people. After taking a weekend trip to Barcelona with eleven lovely ladies, I have learned that there are very clear dos and don’ts when it comes to traveling in a group for the weekend.
DO Plan Ahead
This comes up most often at mealtimes, when trying to find a restaurant to accomodate twelve people became a very difficult task. Therefore, reservations are always the way to go. No matter what happens on the trip, whether you actually make the reservation or not, having a backup option to fall back on never hurts.
DON’T Expect Everything to Go According to Plan
Even if you do plan ahead and book things to do and make six food reservations for the weekend, things are bound to go wrong. Someone misses their flight. Someone loses their phone. Someone gets sick. These things are inevitable and avoidable. The most important attribute to bring on your weekend trip is flexibility and the ability to roll with the punches. It is not always easy, but you have to remember the beauty and excitement of where you are and what you are doing and suddenly, no problem is unsolvable.
DO Talk about Money
Juggling costs while studying abroad is hard enough. Trying to imagine the costs of traveling on the weekends and splitting them among twelve people gets even harder. This comes up most during mealtimes when an extra large bill comes to the table of fifteen people and you have to worry about splitting. Plan for this situation beforehand. See if anyone is comfortable putting the whole sum on their card, and everyone else can venmo in their share. Maybe discuss splitting it among a few people, and everyone else venmo one of them. To avoid anyone feeling uncomfortable or insecure about money or paying, have these conversations beforehand.
DON’T Expect to All Stay Together
In such a large group, you are bound to break up into smaller circles at some points in the trip. People will want to do and see different things and this should be encouraged rather than disputed. This makes for easier traveling and allows everyone to see what they want. It also allows you to connect with different people than the usual people in the group you talk to. Also, with every trip, you have to go into it knowing you will never do and see everything, and know that is okay. It just means you always have a reason to go back.
DO Travel with People You are Comfortable With
Making fast friends is amazing and you may find some of your best friends this way. However, it is important to establish that you feel undeniably and completely comfortable with at least one person you are traveling with, especially when alcohol is involved. Awkwardness fades away when you live in close quarters with your new friends, but confirming that at least one person will be concerned with what and how you are doing, makes for an easy and comfortable trip.
DON’T Expect Commitment
Just because you travel with one group once does not commit you to them. You can always be thankful for the experience and move on to a new group of people or take a solo trip. It is important to keep in mind that you got to visit a beautiful place regardless of how the experience unravels. You are never tied to one person or one group and should never feel indebted or tied to something that does not make you happy. Learn from every trip you take and start planning the next one!