Today I’m going to share the mistakes I’ve made when I took a class trip to London back in 2010. I was a senior in College, and my school has these in-between classes between semesters that you could take during the winter break and put the credits towards your spring semester. Every year, the Journalism department took an international class trip for about ten or so days, and when I heard that London was the trip for my senior year, I jumped on it.
Granted I had more than enough credits in the Journalism department, but traveling had always been a dream of mine. And London was on top of my list. But back then, I was a bit of a scaredy-cat (and I still am, shhhh). I did everything safely, and half the time I was miserable.
Here are 5 Mistakes I Made On My Trip To London
I used to have an over-packing problem (and still do, shhhhhh). I packed tons and tons of clothing and only wore half of them. I took a LOT of crap with me and then didn’t want to pack it all up when it was time to leave. When I went to London (for about ten days) I took a really big suitcase with me. You’d think I was planning on moving there.
#2 Went As A Class Trip
Honestly, after the first few days I didn’t really want to hang out with my classmates minus my friend Katie. And I’m not just saying that because I know she’s reading this. Everyone seemed to form little cliques, and all I wanted to do was hang out with brits. However, despite the fact that our professors planned out pretty much everything we’d do, which included media related trips to the BBC Television Centre and The Guardian and day-trips to Oxford and Bath, the very little free time I had was also spent with classmates (no matter how much I wanted to run away from them).
It didn’t help that I was one of the two Indian kids on the trip and the other Indian kid was stereotypical and talked about how he was going to get an arranged marriage and how he has to enjoy his freedom now. Then I was asked if I was also going to get an arranged marriage and I just wanted to punch everyone in the face.
#3 Didn’t Go To Paris
I had the opportunity to take a trip to Paris or Ireland, or really anywhere I wanted to in Europe. My friend, Katie, who was on this trip, was willing to take a train down to Paris for a couple of days after our “class” was over. Only I used not having enough money as an excuse not to go. And she didn’t want to go to a non-English speaking country alone. It was her first international trip, and although she considered going, she was intimidated. If the situation was reversed, I would have felt the same. She did, however, make it down to Liverpool after our “class” was over. And I went back to Chicago with some classmates. (And I made them promise to make sure I didn’t get lost on my way to States.)
#4 Didn’t Go Off On My Own
One the things I regret doing is not going off on my own. I was terrified I’d get lost.
Also, it made me feel safe knowing that I was doing this trip as a class because I wouldn’t be “alone”. I’ve always wanted to visit London—I even imagined myself living there. But when I was put to the test, I didn’t dare go anywhere alone. The only time I went out alone was when I had to find sources for the article I was writing for my class. The places I went alone weren’t too far from the hotel we were staying in. And my friend, Katie, gave me her international prepaid cellphone in case I did get lost. That was the only time I went anywhere alone in London.
There was even a time during a day-trip to Bath when I was lost. But I wasn’t alone. I was lost with a classmate. And I started freaking out. Eventually, after hours of walking around aimlessly and missing a free meal (though it’s not really free since our tuition paid for it), we found our classmates. But you guys, it was terrifying. Though Bath itself was gorgeous.
#5 Didn’t Research Prior To My Trip
This was probably the biggest mistake I’ve made out of all of the ones I’ve listed so far. I didn’t look at a guidebook, or really do much research online before departure. I didn’t even buy a map. Since I was going with classmates, I used it as an excuse to not properly research things that I wanted to do. Luckily, Katie made me pick something from her guidebook on our last day there and said I was in charge of what we’d do. I randomly picked Notting Hill Market and off we went before our last class dinner. (The dinner was at an Indian restaurant by the way and everyone kept asking me what do order and I kept shrugging my shoulders. If you ever go out to an Indian restaurant with me, don’t ask me what to order because I won’t be able to tell you. True story.)
So there you have it folks. The 5 Mistakes I Made On My Trip To London. If I had to do it over again, I’d do a few things differently.
What mistake have you made while traveling?