Traveling to nearby places while you are studying abroad is a great way to learn about new cultures and enhance your study abroad experience. I chose to do some traveling around Europe before my semester in Barcelona began and I also took a few weekend trips during the semester. Just last weekend, I went with a few friends to Seville and Granada in the south part of Spain. From my experiences, I've put together a few pieces of advice that I hope will help other fellow travelers!
Take public transportation to the airport whenever possible
Taxis can be very expensive, especially when you're traveling alone, and the costs will add up. Most cities have various forms of public transportation that take you to the airport and they usually aren't too hard to figure out. In Barcelona, I use the Aerobús to get to and from the airport because it is easy and fairly inexpensive!
|Taking the Aerobús to the airport in Barcelona|
Be careful when booking early morning flights
This is one of the important lessons I've learned during my travels from the last few months. Although airlines like Ryanair may offer great deals for flights at 6:30 in the morning, keep in mind that you will have to leave enough time to get to the airport, through security and to your gate. This may mean waking up at 3:30 or 4 a.m. (I have done this several times and can assure you that it is not ideal). Another thing to watch out for is that in many cities, public transportation often does not start until 5:00 a.m. or later. If you must leave earlier than this in order to be at the airport on time, you may get stuck with expensive taxi costs. So sometimes paying the extra 10 euro for a later flight is worth it in the long run!
|Watching the sunrise for an early morning flight|
Trust me, it's much easier to travel when carrying only a backpack as opposed to a heavy suitcase. And if you're only traveling for the weekend, you should try to bring the minimal amount of stuff possible. For all of my trips during the semester, I have gotten by with just my school backpack and it has worked out great!
|Traveling with our backpacks is much easier than bringing luggage!|
Stay in a hostel
Not only are hostels a much cheaper option for accommodations, they can also be a wonderful experience to enhance your trip! I've loved most of the hostels that I've stayed at and my favorite part is getting to meet people from all over the world! I have made a ton of new friends this way. I recommend checking ratings and reviews on hostel websites before you book. A great hostel definitely turns the trip into a better experience and an adventure!
|Our hostel in Seville - I absolutely loved it!|
Embrace the culture
The best part of travelling is learning about new places and cultures, meeting new people, and of course trying new foods! You can do research about the place you're going ahead of time but I also recommend learning by talking to local people. If you stay at a hostel, this is easy to do because the employees often have great advice and recommendations for travelers. Another great way to learn more is by taking a free walking tour, which you can find in most cities. I love learning about the history and culture of whatever place I visit because it helps me appreciate the city much more! Try doing as the locals do!
|My friends buying olives in Seville, which are a popular snack in Spain|
This is obviously the most important of all. I had an incredible time exploring both Seville and Granada last weekend. Sometimes the best parts of travelling is just ditching the plan and wandering around to see what new places you can find. However you choose to spend your trip, do something you enjoy and make some great memories!
|Exploring the Alhambra palace in Granada|
Hope you have great adventures wherever you travel!
Sarah H. is the Fall 2017 MOJO Photographer in Barcelona, Spain. She is currently a Junior studying Graphic Design at Champlain College.
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