Being abroad for a semester provides you with the ultimate opportunity to travel each weekend around the country or continent you’re in. Since planning is not quite as easy as when you’re at home, VALLEY has created the ultimate guide to having the most amazing experiences while abroad.
Grab your calendar or handy planner and begin by marking down all your required dates of your program so you know exactly how much time you will have to travel while there. Then move to Pinterest, Instagram, Google or your favorite search engine and start your hunt for your dream destination weekend spots.
Start a list and bookmark all the locations and some minor details of the cities or countries in order to later evaluate which ones will be worth both your time and money. VALLEY suggests looking up holiday celebrations, traditions or large festivals that may be happening while you’re there, giving you the perfect reason to travel a certain weekend.
Planes, Trains and Hotels
You and possibly whoever you are traveling with should try and book your transportation and accommodations as early as possible. Looking into sites such as Ryanair for flights to your top destinations will save you a lot of money and also provide you with information on the cheapest weekends to travel.
Booking your accommodation ahead will also avoid a lot of high last minute expenses and will also provide you a much safer area to stay in. While hostels can be very popular among weekend travelers, VALLEY suggests you look into Airbnb or cheaper hotels that can be found with StudentRate in order for you to avoid damage or theft that often occurs in many hostels.
Know your Way
After booking your accomodations you should also bookmark and know the relative way to and from the airport or train station. Many forms of public transportation will be offered where you travel and by knowing which mode of transportation to take, you will avoid overpriced taxi rides.
VALLEY also strongly suggests arriving extra early for your flights or train rides because departure times may change last minute or something could happen on your way to your departure. Make sure to always have a backup plan!
Sights and Experiences
While going with the flow and wandering a new city seems like a great way to explore, you may miss out on some of the best sights or experiences. Have a rough idea or list for your days of travel so you don’t waste any time while there searching for what to do. Some sights or tours may also require you to purchase tickets ahead of time so doing some pre-departure planning can be a great way to avoid the hassles of waiting in lines or having an experience be completely booked.
Extra Tip: Check for student discounts or present your student ID at the ticket office in order to save some extra money or even get in for free!
For the Non-Planner: Pre-Planned Trips
Not much of a planning person? Don’t fret — pre-made trips are your solution! Pre-made trips are an alternate form of travel for students where companies such as WSA or Bus2Alps create itineraries and accommodations for you and your group as well as other students in order for you to still have fun and see all the main sites in various cities without you having to do anything but pay. Cliff jumping, cooking classes and camel rides are some of the many things you can expect on these trips.
“My roommates and I loved using WSA to book a lot of our favorite weekend trips since we barely had to plan and we met some of the most amazing people on our trips,” says Shelby Vinicke, a senior who interned abroad for a summer in Milan, Italy.
Have the Time of Your Life
While planning out all your trips and knowing what you want to do are important, don’t forget to have fun and take it easy. Don’t let a strict schedule ruin your time enjoying one of the most amazing experiences you will have in your life. Enjoy this experience, make new friends, immerse yourself in the culture and be grateful for this opportunity.
Tag us on Instagram, @VALLEYmag, with pics of your favorite sights abroad.