Study Abroad: A Travel Guide

Last semester I studied abroad in Rome, Italy, something I had always dreamt of doing but something I never thought would ACTUALLY occur.  During my time there I took five classes Monday-Thursday, and spent my weekends traveling the world!  Throughout my semester experience, I gained valuable travel tips that made traveling affordable and that may be helpful for those looking to do the same!

 

  • Travel light!  Most cheap airlines around Europe only allow a small carryon bag and one personal item.  They are VERY strict with their bag measurements and WILL charge you an extra 25 EURO if they find your bag is too big.  Since we are college students already traveling on a budget, you definitely do not want to get caught up with extra fees!  My friends and I would pack one pair of pajamas for the weekend, one comfortable flight outfit, and mix and match our “cute” outfits for the weekend to limit the amount of clothing we had to bring!  Don’t forget you have to save room in your bag for any cool souvenirs you may want, so don’t waste your time trying to pack extra clothes!!
  • Cheap airlines!  While abroad I learned of the many different cheap airline options in Europe.  Make sure to look for flights on Ryanair (used Ryanair 90% of the time), Vueling Airlines, Wizz Air, or Easy Jet.  These airlines do appear to be of less comfort and smaller seats much like Spirit Air in America, but most destinations around Europe are less than three hours by air, so it is totally worth the cheap price!  My first stop when seeking budget flights was Skyscanner.  Other helpful apps/websites I mainly used were Hopper, Kiwi, or Google Flights.  My suggestion is to check all the options and use the app with the best deal! (All are safe sources to search for flights!)
  • Where to stay!  Since traveling can be pricey, the smartest way to save money for a weekend trip to another country is a hostel.  Yes, hostels are not the most ideal place to stay, but if you are looking to save money, they are worth it!  The best way to find a hostel is through www.hostelworld.com.  You simply type in the desired location and hundred of hostels will come up!  Each hostel has a rating from 1-10, photos, reviews, and a location map that shows its distance to the city center!  Using the map was very effective as walking will be your main source of travel.  Distance from the airport and certain major sights you may want to see is important in relevance to where you will reside.  Uber and taxis can get pricey and if you want to save $$ staying somewhere close to a city center will make your weekend much less hectic.  Another popular option when looking for a place to stay is Airbnb.  I found price ranges differed depending on the country, but some were very affordable and made me feel more comfortable!  Hotels are another option however, I found they were the most expensive way to spend a weekend in another country!
  • Make a plan!!!  Before entering a new country you have never been to before, it is important to do your research.  Find sights you may want to see.  Make a list of all of the things you plan to do for the weekend.  Book activities ahead of time that you may need tickets for!  This will make your weekend much more enjoyable and less stressful.  Having a plan is a must to ensure your weekend goes smoothly.  Google is VERY helpful when looking for things to do, and Trip Advisor is a good way to search for yummy restaurants in the area, as well!!