Yes, it is that time of the program where I am half way done and have plenty of advice to give for future study abroad students. And yes, I absolutely learned these lessons the hard way with these ladies by my side.Today, I am going to focus on travel advice and what it has been like to travel around Europe from Dublin. One of the reasons I chose Dublin as a study abroad location was because I planned to travel Europe while I was here. So I knew from the beginning that I was planning to take weekend trips across Europe. I recommend seeing as much as you possibly can while you’re abroad and here are some tips to help you along the way.
Tip 1: Plan Ahead!
Planning ahead is the key to cheap travel. I unfortunately did not plan ahead until the second month of my study abroad program. Ryanair and Aer Lingus are great cheap airlines, but the more in advance you book, the cheaper they are. I went abroad thinking that when everyone said there was cheap travel across Europe they meant cheap last minute tickets the day before. What they actually meant is if you book a ticket at least a month in-advanced, preferable 2 or 3 months, then you can travel for as cheap as 25 Euro round trip. So figure out where you want to go and book early!
Tip 2: Don’t Go Everywhere.
As tempting as it is to travel all across Europe every single weekend, be aware that you should explore the place you are living in too! Don’t forget about your host city. Especially if you are staying in Ireland. Ireland has so much to see all across the island and you could spend at least two months traveling throughout Ireland every weekend without seeing everything. Since I did not plan my longer trips in advance, I ended up traveling around Ireland for the first month I was here and I am so grateful I did. The following month when I took several trips across Europe I then came back to Dublin and missed it terribly. So remember to give yourself a few breaks from traveling and just enjoy your host city.
Tip 3: Research Before you Book.
When looking for tour bus companies or day trips, make sure to look up reviews! My friends and I became obsessed with checking reviews of tours and Air BnB’s before booking. We did this because the reviews can be very funny, but also because some tours are a rip off and reviews are brutally honest. Make sure you look things up before booking, just to be sure your money is going toward a pleasant experience!
Tip 4: Budget for Taxis
I am a huge proponent of traveling on a budget, but also remember that safety is always your first priority so when you go out do not be frugal, just order a taxi home and get there safely. Also make sure to look up where your hotel or Air BnB is from the airport and from city centre. We found that it was better to pay more to stay in city centre so you took less taxis throughout the weekend. Don’t make the same mistake we did on our first weekend trip and have to pay over 100 Euros for a taxi to and from the airport because you didn’t look into how far away your accommodations were from the airport.
Tip 5: Relax and Have Fun
I am usually uptight about traveling and plan most of my trips out completely. This experience has showed me that sometimes it is okay to sit back and relax instead of seeing every tourist attraction on my list. I’ve found that the best places are often not broadcasted on the internet’s “To Do” list and you’ll never find them if you stick to a strict schedule. Make time to just wander around and explore where you are and figure it out as you go!
That’s all I have for now, but stay tuned. I’m sure I’ll have more tips that I learn over the next two months in Ireland!