Throughout my study abroad experience, I’ve taken a lot of weekend trips to other cities and/or countries. Keep reading if you want to hear about my tips and tricks for booking trips and packing for them!
Exploring Europe is a huge part of studying abroad that may look different for different people. I know some people who have only traveled a couple times, while I know others who have traveled every single weekend. It’s really up to you, there is no right or wrong way to study abroad!
Personally, before coming abroad, people were raving to me about how cheap it is to travel in Europe. I was unpleasantly surprised when I started booking trips and realized that this was not always the case! It really depends on where you are traveling to/from and when you are going, so don’t be discouraged if your trips don’t look the same as some of your other friends' trips who are studying in other places! There are some ways to cut down on travel costs. One of the most classic study abroad “tricks” is to take a night train/bus that arrives early the next morning so that you can save money on travel and also pay for one less night of housing. I find that sometimes this is convenient since you are sleeping at night anyways, but sometimes the trip gets far too long and it's easier to just fly.
As far as housing goes, I knew that hostels existed based on what I’ve heard from my friends who have studied abroad in the past, but I had a really negative preconceived notion of them. I thought that they were dirty and unsafe, and I never planned on relying on hostels for cheap and convenient housing, but here I am a couple months and multiple hostel stays later! Hostels are usually the cheapest housing option, however you pay per bed, so it is also important to look into hotels if you are going with a group, because sometimes it ends up being the same exact price for a nicer and more private room! Traveling while studying abroad is all about making sure you know all your options.
Like any other 21 year old girl, I like to pack lots of different outfit options for when I go away. Once I started traveling around Europe, I quickly realized that this was not realistic. I have learned the importance of packing specific outfits for each day, even repeating pants to save room in my bag. If you do want to be able to bring a couple more clothing options, packing cubes are your best friend. I didn’t think that they would do much for me as far as packing a lot more, but they saved my life when I first traveled to Amsterdam and continue to help me every time I go on a new trip. If you get really good at packing light, you can even avoid paying for an overhead carry-on item on a plane and just having a personal item.
Once you have figured out the packing and the travel plans, it's time for the fun part: the activity planning! Once again, traveling looks different for everyone, so if you are someone who just likes to travel and go with the flow, go for gold! Personally, I am someone who likes to have activities planned in advance so that I can learn more about the place I am traveling to, so Trip Advisor has been my best friend. It’s super fun to have things planned out to look forward to!
I hope this blog post gets you excited for your own study abroad experience, and I hope you learned some useful tips and tricks for when you start to plan trips!
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Hi, I'm Kim! I truly feel that traveling is important in order to gain new experiences that can be used to ensure a successful professional life and personal life. Amsterdam is somewhere that I have never traveled before, so I was really excited when I saw that it was an option for me! Being able to travel around Europe while I am there seems super fun to me and this experience will definitely be one that I cherish forever! In my future, I hope to eventually work as a criminal psychologist. A fun fact about me is that I have been dancing since I was 2 years old and I am currently a part of a club dance team at Penn State University!