Bonjour! My name is Sunny Bobnick, and I am interning abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, this summer for two months.
Over the next few weeks, I will be giving you some tips on traveling smart and what it's like to live abroad, as well as what it is like to do an internship abroad.
This post is going to focus on some tips for traveling in general and traveling outside of your host country. I have learned all of these tips from experience and mistakes that I have made in the past that I don’t want anyone else to make!
Travel tip #1: Track your travel prices
Flights can range from very cheap to ~very~ expensive. The prices change all the time (sometimes daily), so it is extremely important to not just book it right away without doing your research! When you decide where you would like to go (or even if you are open to multiple options), then search dates that you would like to fly on and click on the flights that interest you most. Google Flights gives an option to track the price, where it will send you an email every time the price goes up or down. It will even tell you when prices are average or lower/higher than usual.
Flying is also not the only easy way to get around. There are options such as trains and buses that may take a little longer but can save you hundreds of dollars. If you don’t have a problem sitting on a bus or train for a few hours, then you should definitely look into this form of travel as well.
|Venice is easily one of the coolest places in Europe
Travel tip #2: Pack smart, not hard
This applies for everyone, whether you are packing to study abroad for a semester or if you are just going away for the weekend. Here's how to pack smart…
- Pack outfits that can be mixed and matched. This way, you can pack less but still have options.
- Think about what you will REALLY need and not just what you think you might need. An example would be bringing one pair of shoes that go with everything for a three-day trip, instead of three pairs that you may not wear.
- Pack small. Use the smallest bag possible that will fit your things. This is important in case you have to carry it around with you after you check out of your hostel, hotel, Airbnb, etc. You won’t want to have to carry around a huge bag when you are still exploring. This way, if you are going on a weekend trip via plane, then you won’t need to check a bag if it can fit underneath the seat.
Travel tip #3: Make flexible plans
When I went to Venice, I booked tickets for a boat tour to the surrounding islands that was supposed to start at 11 a.m. I left my hostel at 10:30, not knowing that it was a 45-minute walk away and there was no other way to get there. After trying very hard to get there on time, I still ended up missing the boat so my plans had to change. Although it was sad at first, it ended up being great -- because I didn’t have any other set plans but just places and things that I wanted to see. So, I got to check all of those things off of my list on my own time.
|A beautiful view of Nice, France, from the overlook
Travel tip #4: Make all arrangements beforehand
When I say make all arrangements beforehand, I mean ALL arrangements. Usually, travelers will remember to book their flights, hotels, etc., but more times than not, people forget about airport transfers, tickets to go to museums, and anything else that you might want to do. These things are incredibly crucial to having a smooth travel experience. A pro tip is that most budget airlines like Ryanair, easyJet, and Volotea fly to airports that are actually pretty far from your destination, so make sure to look into how far the airport is from your destination. Having a set plan on how you are going to get from place to place will relieve a lot of stress when traveling and make your trip so much better.
Travel tip #5: Look at reviews
Look at the reviews for e v e r y t h i n g !! Reviews for hostels and activities are extremely important when traveling. Past travelers have taken time to rate these things, and it could be the difference between you having a five-star hostel that serves breakfast and staying in a loud, dirty hostel in a room with 10 other people. If you don’t look at reviews, then it can be easy to book something that you won’t be happy with. This way, you will avoid a possibly unpleasant experience that you may have paid a lot of money to do.
I hope these tips are helpful for your journeys!
Sunny Bobnick, a CEA Summer 2019 Content Contributor, is a study and internship abroad student with CEA in Aix-en-Provence, France. She is currently studying at Illinois State University.
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