Sometimes St Andrews just feels too small. It’s a wonderful town and provides an exceptional education, but it’s exhausting spending four years stuck between the same three streets. I enjoy a good night out at the Union as much as the next person, but on occasion, I just want to be in a bar where there aren’t six girls to every four guys. In fact, occasionally I want to get a coffee from somewhere that isn’t Starbucks, Costa, Prêt or Taste. For the sake of my own sanity, once or twice a semester, I need to get out of the Bubble.
There are a few ways to get out of here: a quick excursion to Dundee on the bus (most likely for McDonalds, but no one’s judging), a day trip to Edinburgh (the train is actually quite cheap if you invest in a rail card – and if not the bus is only £6), or even going to see a concert in Glasgow (if you’re feeling adventurous).
If you really need a break, taking the train down to London (again, relatively inexpensive with a rail card) can do wonders for the soul. I’m not saying that St Andrews isn’t a great place, but let’s be honest there is not much to do but study, drink and lark about. While I enjoy all of these activities, prolonged periods of time without another diversion can make even the homiest person go a little insane.
So, what I would recommend: next time you and a few friends have a weekend without any impending deadlines take the opportunity and get out of the bubble.
Step one: Go onto a private browser (so that airline companies can’t track your searches and websites can’t automatically up prices when you search flights multiple times).
Step two: If you search ‘Google Flights’, you can put in the dates that you want to travel and then all available flights (from either Edinburgh or Glasgow, usually) will pop up.
Note: I’ve found flights to Ireland are usually cheapest, but it depends when you are traveling. For under £100 you can usually find flights to at least a few different cities outside of the UK.
Step three: Once you and your friends have decided on flights (they are cheaper the earlier you book them so try to do it as far in advance as possible), you need to decide on a place to stay. In my experience, the best deal is Airbnb because if you are traveling with four or more people it can be cheaper than staying in a hostel and believe me a lot nicer. Depending on the city, some low budget hotels provide a better deal than Airbnb or hostels, but this usually isn’t the case. Make sure to check all of your options, especially if you are traveling with limited funds.
We all need to get out of the Bubble a few times a semester, even if it’s just for two or three nights (or just a few hours and a Big Mac). It’s easier and cheaper than you might think, and whatever time and money you spend, in the long run it’s so worth it. Getting out of St Andrews allows you to blow off some steam, meet someone who doesn’t own a Barbour (the horror), and once you’re back you will appreciate and enjoy our little town so much more.