10 Travel Tips for Studying Abroad
10 Pieces of Advice when Studying and Traveling in Europe
1. Get a ‘Pay as You Go’ International Phone
You’re going to need an international phone while studying abroad to stay in touch with people on your program. Instead of picking a phone from your school’s phone plan, make a trip into town, in Spain there was a cell phone store called Orange, it was the equivalent of Verizon. My roommate and I went the first week and got a 20 dollar limit on our phones so that we couldn’t go over. I was always happy we did this instead of being set up with a phone plan, this way we couldn’t go over 20 dollars of talk and text!
2. Don’t Take the Cheap Flight to Paris (Or do?)
My roommate and I were pretty money conscious when we were abroad. We, like many Americans fell for the cheap Paris flight, not realizing that the cheap flight gets you into an airport that is a half hour drive away from Paris. Which means…what we didn’t pay in flight, we paid for a shuttle into Paris. This was a hassle, but on the upside, there was a five person minimum for these shuttles and my roommate and I happened to meet two professional Cardinals players who were backpacking around Europe, “wanna split a shuttle?” “Yes please!”
3. Hostels Aren’t Your Only Option
Yes, hostels are very cheap and the bunk beds with several strangers may be an experience but don’t be fooled that this is your only option while abroad. For just a little more you can split a room in a cheap hotel that has an actual lock for you and all the stuff you want to keep safe while you’re out enjoy the sights.
4. Wine is Cheaper than Water
So….take advantage of that. Don’t become a drunkard or anything, but do buy the cheap grocery wine, because it’ll still be better than the stuff at home.
5. Be Nice to Promoters
While studying abroad it is still all about connections. Being nice to promoters got my group of friends and I seated at tables, balconies reserved for birthdays, and on stage at clubs dancing next to the actual stage dancers. Being nice always benefits you, but it will especially do so in the interest of your nightly plans!
6. You Might Actually Learn Something In Your Classes, So Listen Up!
Yes, take “fun” sounding classes or classes you’re interested in that don’t apply to your major not just so you can have an “easier” semester, but so you can take some interesting classes! Don’t forget you are studying abroad. I learned a lot of valuable information from classes I was interested in such as Hemingway in Spain and Arts of Spain. And these are classes I never would have gotten the chance to take while back at school!
7. Forget Wifi Exists
Whether you have a boyfriend who’s at home or not, you should not be that person at the bar asking for the wifi password…that’s embarrassing…this is a snapchat from my cat by the way.
8. Don’t Think You’ll Rally For That Plane Ride
Yes, it happened to me. If you have a flight out at 6 am, go to sleep at at least 1 am. Don’t think you’ll go out and stay awake to make your plane. When your friends are going to sleep, you’ll want to too, and you’ll miss that flight. Or you’ll take an expensive taxi rushing as soon as you wake up to try and make your plane and the flight attendant won’t let you on…maybe I’m still bitter, just don’t do this, (yes, I had to buy 2 extra tickets this way)
9. Don’t Always Depend on the Locals to Find Your Way Around
…But when you do, be very gracious. During my weekend stay in Copenhagen I relied on two men in a 7-11 and a group of adult women all dressed as cats (it was Halloween weekend) to find my way back to my friend’s apartment at 2 am. Although they did help, it was not the most vigilant way to get back.
10. Don’t Buy Clothes
You might think that Zara, Mango, & Sfera are the most extravagant and amazing places that you should indulge in while you’re in Europe, but these stores are all around major cities in the United States. Not only will these pieces take up space you don’t have, it will cost you even more money in weight when you fly home. Store them and chances are you’ll never wear them again, hello GoodWill.