Bon Voyage: Spring Break!

Eleanor Desing headshot
Eleanor Desing
March 3, 2023
A picture of the port in Nice with boats and buildings in the background

Time for vacation! A break from classes and time to take advantage of all the amazing travel destinations! Our program had a week of spring break in the middle of February. My travel plans included Nice, a day trip to Monaco, and Rome. Overall, we had such a fun and successful trip that I will never forget. Since traveling seems to be a goal of many who are studying abroad, I’ve compiled a list of tips that I’m very grateful we followed and some that I wish we knew.


  • Book your flights as soon as possible
    • Before booking this trip, I had the idea that all flights in Europe would be dirt cheap. But I ended up waiting until about two and a half weeks to book my flights because we needed to get everyone on board with every destination, and, although flights were still significantly cheaper than the US, they were more than I expected. The sooner you plan and book (lodging included!), the less stressed you will be.
  • Take advantage of your student discount
    • Don’t forget that you’re a student! Many places—from transportation to museums—offer discounts for European students ages 18-26. We were able to get $2 tickets to the Colosseum. Just don’t forget to bring your Nantes University student ID with you.
  • Pack light
    • If you opt to use many of the budget airlines in Europe (like EasyJet or RyanAir), the only baggage included with your flight is a personal under-the-seat item. An overhead carry-on will cost you an additional $30-$50 per flight. Both myself and the friends that I traveled with brought only a backpack and felt that it was sufficient (tip: if renting an Airbnb, look for one with a washer/dryer). Additionally, having only a backpack made it much easier to take advantage of the time on travel days before check-in or after check-out because we didn’t need to haul around huge bags.
  • Watch out for scams
    • When traveling to major European cities, it is almost inevitable that you will encounter groups of people trying to target tourists with scams. We saw this especially when we were in Rome. In addition to typical safety tips like having your phone and wallet in front of you and not in your pocket, watch out for common tricks like people trying to give you bracelets and then demanding money or drivers leading you to a taxi. We found that if we spoke French amongst each other and to people who tried to talk to us, we were less likely to be bothered. Always be aware and travel in groups.
  • Take time for rest       
    • When traveling with a new group of people, you are bound to want a little alone time. Don’t be afraid to schedule this. Everyone will be better able to enjoy themselves if they are well-rested and fed. Additionally, don’t try to do too much. We ended up taking Venice and Florence off of our initial itinerary and opted instead to stay an additional day in Rome. I’m so glad that we did this because I felt like I got to more fully experience the city.
  • Pick your highlights & book ahead of time if needed
    • If there’s something you really want to see, be vocal and plan the time to see it! Make sure to look and see if tickets will sell out in advance. In Nice, we bought our tickets for the Carnival parade at the same time as our flights. In Rome, you have to buy Colosseum and Vatican Museum tickets in advance (you can buy Vatican Museum tickets day-off from third parties they will just be a lot more expensive).


I hope that these tips help with your vacation planning. Feel free to look at just some of the amazing sites I saw in the photo gallery!

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Eleanor Desing headshot

Eleanor Desing

Hi, my name is Eleanor! I am majoring in French and Psychology, and I am so excited to be participating in the Nantes immersion program in order to improve my language skills and immerse myself in French culture. I love to read, cook/bake, and spend time outdoors. I can't wait to share my experience with all of you!

2023 Spring
Home University:
Loyola University Chicago
French Language
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