One of the best parts of studying abroad, especially in Europe, are the amazing weekend trips so accessible to your host city. With more reasonably priced airlines, traveling to another country for just a few days is generally pretty easy and makes for some of the best memories during your time abroad! After learning what to do and what not to do during weekend trips, here are a few of my favorite tips:
- Plan out a few activities before arriving
Since traveling weekends usually consists of just one or two full days in each city, it is important to plan out each day prior to the trip. After the first few trips I took, I saw that my friends and I were spending hours each day trying to figure out what to do with our time, which ended up wasting a lot of time! We all wanted to do different things in certain places, too, which is totally okay! Sticking together in a big group can be really fun, but also overwhelming at times. Splitting up to ensure everyone is seeing what he or she wants is usually the way to go.
|Visiting the Louvre Museum in Paris, France|
2. Research your accommodations
One of the most important parts of a weekend trip is your hostel, hotel or any other sort of accommodation you stay in. Although you usually are out all day exploring, something that I really valued in a hostel was its location within a city. Having to take a taxi half an hour to get to the city center was never fun (unfortunately that happened to me while visiting Amsterdam)! It is also important to make sure that wherever you are staying is clean, which can usually be found in reviews online.
|The famous Park Güell in Barceolona, Spain.|
3. Stay organized!
Organization is key in order to make the most of weekends! Having your boarding passes printed and ready to go before hand, as well as copies of your passport, and credit card information. Arriving at the airport or train station early also ensures a smooth trip because missing a flight or train is never a good way to kick off the weekend!
|Took a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher while staying in Dublin, Ireland for the weekend.|
4. Choose your trips wisely
Although it seems like the semester is long, it goes by extremely fast and weekends eventually get away from you. Make a list of what places interest you most, then narrow it down to a top few and begin looking at what time of year is best to visit as well as what time of year is cheapest. Also, it is okay to want to travel to different places than friends… not everyone has the same interest in every place!
|Our last weekend trip to the Amalfi Coast... just in time for the warm weather!|
Traveling abroad has taught me to many valuable lessons and has made me a more independent person. Having to book my own flights and accommodations as well as doing it on a budget has prepared me for traveling for many years to come.
Katherine Mahder is the Spring 2015 CEA MOJO in Rome, Italy. She is currently a Junior at Providence College.
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