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Polytechnics call friends for a journey. University students launched an unusual tourist project.

XXI century with the spread of IT not only poses challenges for us, but also provides interesting opportunities. Realizing this, the students of Lviv Polytechnic established unusual tourist project Friends' Travel. Its main "office" is located in social networks, all customers are students, but the journeys are still real. Even more, they are low-cost!

It all started in early January 2014 when small close-knit group of young people passionate about traveling tried, for convenience, to plan and coordinate their travels in a closed group in social network "Vkontakte". Shortly their friends began to join them in network, and then "friends of friends" also. As the number of follower sincre ased, the page founders realized that there is nosense to consider the group closed. Noweveryone cansubscribeto thenews.But no one expected that in nine months more than 2200 people from all over Ukraine will become fans of informal Tourist Club.

— Our team consists of six Polytechnic Students and IHSN graduate of 2011 Andrew Kusiy. He completed special courses and now is a certified guide with work experience in the field. Five of us are the third year students of Vacheslav Chornovil Institute of Ecology, Nature Protection and Tourism and one of us is the first year Institute of Engineering Mechanics and Transport student specialist Maxym Vorontsov. At first we just got together and went to Chernivtsi. But follower s read about our journey, saw photos posted in social network and want to joinour next trips.So we started to plan trips for others. We study theory at the university, and the group Friends'. Travel is our way to get good practice among lectures >. — says Natalia Stetsyuk who is in charge of public relations in the project.

On the whole, we have a clear division of aut hotities in team. For example, Maxim Vorontsov specializes on mountain routes, Alexander Yatskiv develops routes logistics...

— The group Friends' Travel offers students to travel by trains or buses, hitchhiking. They organize hikinginthe mountains and city tours. Once we hadhitchhik ingquest.5 teams of 2 people — boy and girl — took part in it. Each couple had to hitchhike to get to the "Tunnel of Love" (Klevan, Rivne region) and the Lubartcastle (Lutsk), take some photos there and come back to the city. The fastest couple became the winners. We determined the winners due to the photo with the clock of Lviv Railway station on background. It also indicated date. Perhaps we are the first to come up with this quest, as I have never heard about such competitions before,— said Alexander Yatskiv.

In early September polytechnics organized tour for those who had just enter the university and were looking for new friends in the big city. The freshmen of this year from National University Lviv Polytechnic, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv and National Forestry University of Ukraine who came to Lviv from various regions took part in Carpathian journey called “Introducing freshmen”. The most extreme trip, as Oleksandr thinks, was the trek of 14 students among Chornohirsky chain. That time they conquered all six two thousand meters high mountains of Carpathians, including Hoverla.

Journeys with Friends' Travel are low-budget as they are oriented on students. Almost all funds collected as travel feego for organization (insurance, accommodation, meals, sometimes additional equipment, etc.). The money is needed also for prizes in the quests and competitions. For example, on the 27th of September, the Tourism day, organizers played among the members of the group Friends' Travel symbolic gifts — mats, compass and notebook. Due to the lack of funds project does not have its website and now extends only to various social networks.

During autumn and winter, between lectures, modules and examinations, diligent students do not have a lot of time forlong-term journeys. So soon Friends' Travel prepare for them original short-term trips around the city called "free tours". The idea is that all interested can take part in the thematic tours but there will be no official fee. The reward of a guide is up to the audience. It can be money, sweets or small gifts.

Apart from a small spring trip to Belarus, the creators of Friends' Travel offer journeys only among the western regions. But when military actions in the East cease, they are ready to explore the whole Ukraine. Today Friends' Travel are considering the opportunities of low budget travels abroad and emphasize that everyone who wants to travel with them is always welcomed.