BY Callie Riek
DTH down under: Planes and plans
It's all about finding trips on the cheap during your study abroad program.
I bought a plane ticket to Melbourne yesterday.
I don’t know anything about Melbourne — honestly, I’ve never had a burning desire to go to Melbourne. That is until yesterday, when I decided it was worth a $200 plane ticket and four days of my time.
I have no idea what I’ll do for those four days. A cursory look at travel blogs and Google images has told me there’s more than enough to see and do, but now comes the time when I actually have to plan those days.
There’s a lot of information out there. Luckily, I’ve become pretty good at condensing it all to find out exactly what I should see.
I have a pin board for Australia where I store all kinds of “10 Things You Absolutely Have to See in…” articles. It’s incredibly easy to use Pinterest’s search engine to find all kinds of travel blogs, BuzzFeed articles and lists of places you have to visit. My personal favorite is to add “free” to the search filter and find out exactly how many museums will let me in without buying a ticket (it’s a lot, especially in Melbourne).
Most of my friends here know someone who already studied abroad in Australia. If we’re ever conflicted about where to travel, we scroll through their Instagrams to see where they went and what they did. I hadn’t heard of Noosa National Park until one of my friends showed me someone else’s post from last semester. Turns out, it’s amazing.
The people running the front desk at hostels are incredibly knowledgeable about they area where they live. The first thing we usually do when we check in is ask the people at reception what places they would recommend. They’re used to seeing broke college kids, so most of the activities are well within our price range.
Other exchange students
There are tons of other exchange students at the University of Queensland planning the exact same trips we are. They’ve already done it, so they know what airlines to fly on, what hostels to stay in and which bars don’t have a cover charge. If other exchange students are planning to go somewhere I’ve already been, it’s easy to return the favor.
At some point this week I’ll have to go through all these resources and figure out what to do while I’m in Melbourne. At the moment, the only thing I have planned is a trip to St. Kilda Beach, which is home to a colony of little penguins.
On the other hand, I could definitely spend four days just playing with penguins.
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