TL; DR: It was good. I chose an all-day event, so I can’t give good suggestions on what to do. If you’re attending IFSA, then go, because it’s better than a weekend in the dorms.
Sorry for the late posting, I got a cold and a ton of homework right after it finished, so I’ve been near out of commission for the last few weeks.
The event was in the Snowdonia region, and we were based out of a little resort town called Llanberis. The hotel was nice, but the influx of college kids basically broke the wifi. I know, because my group got there about an hour before everyone else; Cardiff is approx. a five hour drive, London, six.
One of the interesting things about catching a coach (van), or bus (think greyhound), is that drivers are required to take rest breaks, and those usually last 30-50 minutes, so remember to add that to the google maps estimate.
I only needed a backpack. I brought no homework with me, having done most of it during the week leading up, so getting that mental rest was nice as well. I slept early too; after going to bed near 12am, a 9-10pm bedtime was a nice change.
On arriving, the hotel was pretty nice; it was probably built during the Victorian period, and it shows in the lobby and dining rooms. The bedrooms were modernized, and there was a bathtub, which made the trip worth it in my opinion.
I choose to do the all day hike up Mount Snowdon, the bath felt very good after it.
As I did an all day event, I didn’t get to try some of the other cool stuff like gorge scrambling, or trampolining in a cave. The hike was a good hike, if you’re used to going to national parks. I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who’s never really left a city before, but I’m nowhere near in shape, and I did it, so if you own a good pair of hiking boots, you’re probably good for it.
The group recommended both a jacket for warmth, and one for rain, so make sure that you have those. If the group follows those rules, you should be able to get back to the hotel approx. an hour before any of the other groups (we left near 9am, and were back by around 4.) One thing I’d suggest to any of the more eco-conscious is to bring a sturdy plastic bag to do some trail clean up on the way down. It helps you notice different things on the way down. My group decided to do it on a whim using the paper lunch bags we had been given. Some ripped, so I’d suggest a more durable plastic.
Food was OK, and I didn’t go to their bar, so I don’t know about that. There is a town, but I did not explore it. You need relatively little money on the trip, so there’s no need to bring much, unless you intend to buy souvenirs from North Wales.
On Sunday, we did a detour up to a seaside resort town of Llandudno before returning to Cardiff. It being October, the town was pretty empty comparatively. Walking around it was nice; the town had its WWI/military remembrance service, so it was probably busier in town than what I’d guess it usually was. We didn’t get too long there.
After that was a five-ish hour return drive, so don’t try keeping any plans for Sunday. You probably won’t be back in time, unless it’s a night event.