How to Travel

Alicia Strader headshot
Alicia Strader
December 23, 2023

For my very first trip to Marseille, I had no idea what I was doing. By my last trip to Spain, I felt I knew exactly how to travel. Something that I learned about myself is that I prefer flying over taking trains. Depending on how late you book your travel, I have found that trains are usually more expensive than flights (if you are booking your travel later rather than sooner). Flights became easy for me because it seemed much more simple: arrive two hours before your flight, go through security, find your gate, show your passport, and fly. It is also much faster than a train. I recommend you travel by plane and train at least once to figure out which you like more. But now let's discuss how to pack for your trips. 

During my very first trip to Marseille, I completely overpacked. But, I recommend overpacking for your first trip just to see how much you don't actually need. I and three other friends stayed in Marseille for three days. We went out to dinner, we went to the beach, we went out, and we walked around the city. I packed enough outfits for absolutely each occasion, and I did not need to. Something that most people forget is that by the very last day of your trip, you can only stay in your Airbnb, hotel, or hostel until a certain time. After that, depending on when your flight or train back home is—you have to carry all your belongings. On the last day of the Marseille trip, I was absolutely miserable because I brought two extremely heavy bags filled with five days' worth of clothes, 3 pairs of shoes, and makeup. On your last day of a trip, you’re going to want to see anything you might have missed, but it will be miserable if you’re forced to carry such heavy bags. But, some people prefer carrying bags all day as opposed to wheeling around suitcases. I understand this completely, especially in regards to pickpocketing in Europe, because you may feel more comfortable having your passport and ID right underneath your shoulder as opposed to wheeling it behind your back in a suitcase. 

During my Spain trip in late November, I learned my lesson by then regarding packing for trips. I stayed in Spain for four days with one small suitcase that could be wheeled around as opposed to carrying a heavy bag on my shoulder. I also packed way lighter and planned all the activities ahead of time so that I knew exactly what I needed to bring instead of overpacking.

By the end of your study abroad, you will be a pro at traveling, even though it might seem scary at first—you will eventually learn to love the chaos at airports and train stations. Because even though your trips may be short weekend trips, this is what study abroad is all about. You are supposed to be experiencing different cultures and exploring other places including your designated country. This is why you chose to study abroad in the first place!

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Alicia Strader headshot

Alicia Strader

My name is Alicia Strader and I am currently a junior at Fordham University. I am an International Studies major and I have a minor in the French language. I enjoy reading, socializing with my friends, and trying new restaurants.

2023 Fall
Home University:
Fordham University
International Studies
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