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While studying abroad, it is easy to get caught up in all of the things you and your friends want to get done in various cities and countries. Not only do you have your own bucket list to think about, but you most likely have several friends with to-do lists too. While it is so important to see as many sights as possible during your time abroad, there is such thing as too many.

During my first few weeks in Europe, my friends and I spent our trips running from one monument to the next, trying to see it all. We accomplished almost everything we wanted to on the weekends and we saw nearly everything there was to see in the cities we visited. But after each weekend, we were completely and utterly exhausted. We would try to study on the trains back home and just fall asleep from exhaustion.

It wasn’t until our most recent weekend trip that we took things a bit slower. We decided that by rushing around the city, we weren’t actually seeing anything. Halfway through the day when travel tiredness was hitting us, we stopped for a cup of coffee outside instead of pushing through and rushing somewhere else. There is a lot that can be said for an hour just sitting and watching the city as opposed to just running around. Here are some tips for slowing down:

  1. Plan ahead and know what is most important. If you talk as a group in advance, then you will know which sightseeing spots are most important and you can prioritize.

  2. Know your limits. Be aware of when the group is getting tired and could use a break. Nobody is bright and cheery when they are exhausted and not feeling their best.

  3. Keep an eye out for pretty break spots. When walking through a park, sit for a picnic! When you see a cute coffee shop, take advantage of it. No matter where you are visiting for the weekend, there will definitely be some awesome places to take a rest.

  4. Be thankful to be with each other. Sometimes just sitting with your friends and falling deep into conversation is more rewarding than running all over, checking things off of a list. Getting to know your fellow classmates and travel buddies will serve you well in the end.

I am not encouraging you to sit around and miss out on opportunities, but find a good balance between resting and taking moments to observe and seeing all the cities have to offer. Finding this balance will create a much better, more relaxed travel experience for you and your friends!

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