If you’re planning on studying abroad in Europe, chances are you’re going to want to travel the continent and take weekend trips as often as you can. This was something I really looked forward to going into my study abroad experience, especially since I don’t have classes on Fridays. Traveling between countries in Europe can be easy and even very affordable if you plan well and do some work ahead of time.
After going on a few weekend trips of my own abroad, I want to share some helpful tips to think about while planning your own.
1. How will you get there?
As college students, finding the most budget-friendly option for travel is extremely important when planning weekend trips. Flying is generally the quickest and most convenient way to travel, but sometimes other options such as trains and buses are a much cheaper option.
Traveling at certain times can also be cheaper or more expensive depending on the location. One of my favorite apps to use when looking at booking a trip is Skyscanner because I can plug in the dates I want to travel and it will show me the cheapest locations to visit during that time. I also use Google Flights and Omio to figure out how I want to travel.
2. Where will you stay?
Finding a place to stay that is affordable while also being clean and safe is important. When my friends and I travel, we prefer to stay in Airbnbs because they can be really affordable when split between people. However, hostels provide an even cheaper option and can be really cool to experience. I use hostelworld.com to research hostels and also recommend that whether you are looking at staying in a hostel, Airbnb, or hotel, you read some reviews of the place before booking.
3. How will you get around once you’re there?
This was something I forgot to look into on the first couple of weekend trips I took abroad, and it is something I would definitely recommend researching before leaving. Some places I visited did not have Uber, so we had to figure out public transportation or use taxis, which can be very expensive. Looking into this ahead of time can save some confusion once you arrive to your destination.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but not all countries in Europe use the same type of currency. Make sure you know how you are going to pay for things ahead of time and plan accordingly. Having different options of ways to pay is important because not all places take credit or debit cards!
5. Do some research!
Whether this means going online and Googling some things about where you are going or talking to a friend or classmate who has already been to the place you will be visiting, knowing some general knowledge about where you are traveling ahead of time can be useful and help to make your trip better. If the place you are going speaks a different language, try and learn some basic words or short phrases. This doesn’t mean you can’t be spontaneous on your trip, because sometimes that can lead to the best experiences. However, having some ideas in mind of things to do can be very helpful.