During my time studying abroad, I do my best to travel every single weekend, because I never know when I will get the chance to do so ever again. So I am making the most of my time in Europe, and discovering all that I can. Traveling on the weekend, however, takes a lot of planning and can be a little hectic. Here are some tips and tricks that can make the process a little easier.
Travel Light: It took me a while to realize that it is very important to pack as little as possible! You don’t need a full suitcase if you are just going somewhere for 2 or 3 days. Just take a backpack. First of all, it is so much easier to deal with. Yes, it can get heavy. But usually in train station and airports, you will be in a hurry. With a suitcase, you will get slowed down significantly (going up and down stairs mostly.)
*Go with friends: I found out that it is important to travel with people you are comfortable with. Maybe don’t travel with the same people EVERY weekend, but definitely go with friends that you can be yourself with. The reason for this is: people are going to do what they want when traveling. If you are with people that you can’t speak up to, there is a good chance you won’t have fun. Of course, it is a great thing to branch out and meet new people, but that always works out best when you combine groups!
Make a budget: This is my biggest struggle. I am NOT good at budgeting. When I first started traveling I had an idea of how much was necessary to spend on the weekends, but I didn’t keep up with it. Sure enough, after the first month I realized that I had surpassed my monthly budget plan! If you are traveling a lot, pay close attention to how much you are spending. Keep your receipts! Make notes in your phone about how much you are spending! It will help you keep your money in order and hopefully keep you from spending too much.
Cheap eats: Food can be one of the things that will hit your pocketbook the hardest. This makes perfect sense too because you’re in new places and want to experience the cultures! But the trick that will make eating soooo much cheaper would be to buy groceries with your travel group and split the costs! You can still find new, interesting food in the grocery stores of foreign companies.
Lodging: If there is one things I would stress and encourage more than anything else, it would be to stay in an air b&b instead of a hostile or hotel! First of all, hotels are expensive, so those are usually out of the question anyway. Second, hostels are usually a little sketchy. Staying in an air b&b is a lot more fun because it’s like you have your own house of apartment in the area you are staying! Usually it works out to have a large group stay there too and you can just split the cost between your groups members. I have found it is the cheapest and easiest way to stay.
Research: Last, but not least, be sure to do a lot of research before booking anything. Check the location of where you’re staying in regards of how close it is to the airport, or how close it is to the best sites in the city. Check to see if you can get cheaper flights with different airlines! (The best are Easy Jet and Ryanair.) Don’t just go with the first thing you see!