One of the things I was most looking forward to during my semester in Barcelona was the ability to travel so freely. In the United States, going somewhere for the weekend is difficult. I usually have class until Friday afternoons, and flights are expensive. But here, I have class until noon on Thursdays and the flights are insanely cheap. I once paid $15 for a flight to Seville. This ease of travel is nearly impossible to pass up while abroad, so I’ve put together some tips for getting the most out of this experience.
- Plan in advance
This may be the most important piece of advice I have. Make sure to look at flights for your destination at least a few weeks prior in order to secure the best prices. Also—the internet will recognize if you search for the same tickets more than once, and subsequently raise the prices (what a rip off)! When searching for flights, try to use the “incognito” browser on Chrome, Safari or whatever you use. That way prices won’t rise.
- Pack Efficiently
Definitely check the weather before you head out for the weekend. I went to Lisbon at the beginning of the semester, expecting the perfect Portugal weather. I was completely caught off guard when storms started rolling in on my first day, and I immediately had to run out and buy an umbrella to remain decently dry throughout my visit. Pack warmly for those colder places, too, even if you’re afraid it will ruin your cute outfit, it will be worth it.
- Bring entertainment
I underestimated how much time I’d be spending in airports and on planes this semester. While I’m not usually a reader during the school year at home, this has given me the chance to catch up on the books I’ve been dying to read. I just finished my new favorite, “Gone Girl”—I couldn’t put it down on my flight home from Prague. I highly recommend indulging in a Netflix show or book to entertain you during these seemingly endless waiting times.
- Don’t overdo it!
When I first arrived in Barcelona, I wanted to make sure I went as many places as possible on the weekends. The thought of staying in Barcelona for a weekend seemed absurd—I should be using that time to explore somewhere new. But looking back on my semester, some of my favorite moments were from the three weeks where I didn’t travel anywhere, I simply stayed and got to know Barcelona a little better. It’s easy to get caught up in traveling and exhaust yourself. Some people feel that they don’t really know their own host city at the end of the semester. If anything, take some breaks here and there and take advantage of where you are (and save some money, too).
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<p>Julia is a junior at Miami University triple-majoring in journalism, media & culture, and Spanish. She loves to read, write and spend time with friends in her free time. This past summer, she worked on a dude ranch in Colorado for three months. It was a life-changing experience that motivated her to study abroad.</p>