One of the best things about living in London is how close it is to other famous cities and tourist destinations! I had the most incredible time exploring around the United Kingdom, visiting Bath and Stonehenge. I even had the chance to visit the beautiful countries of Ireland, Germany, France, The Czech Republic, Italy, The Netherlands, Greece, and Poland.
After visiting so many amazing cities, I learned how to best prepare for trips abroad. To anyone going abroad in the future, I urge you to plan your trips as soon as you can! While traveling around the world is undeniably incredible, it can quickly become stressful the planning process is delayed. Flights to neighboring countries are very affordable, so I advise you take advantage of this. Unfortunately, the longer you wait, the more flights’ prices increase. I made the mistake of planning many of my trips at the last minute; however, I quickly learned the best way to plan trips is to sit down with your roommates and roughly talk out a tentative travel calendar for the semester. Use a planner to outline which weeks will be best to leave the country and which will be best to stay in London to work on class assignments. It is ALL about balance!
Preparing for a trip is easier when you give yourself more time to schedule each day. After booking my flight, I would head over to Airbnb to find the most affordable living accommodations for the weekend. I found it helpful to reach out to my hosts to inform them what time I was arriving, which often gave me the chance to leave my bags in the Airbnb prior to the original check-in time. Also, make sure to check the weather before you travel to help you pack the right pieces, and always bring your favorite jacket along just in case. Having a list of everything you want to bring will help you stay organized and ensure you do not forget to bring your must-have items, such as a fanny pack, camera, charger, walking shoes, or passport!
Traveling around different countries can also be challenging. Uber, CityMapper, and Apple Maps were my saving grace. These apps helped my friends and I navigate with ease. However, we did find ourselves in situations where we needed help finding our way. Thankfully, we could rely on Google Translate to help us explain our situation to employees or community members nearby to point us in the right direction. My most stress free travels were those I had researched about ahead of time. It is helpful to know what forms of transportation are available, the currency used regularly, the dominant languages spoken, and how far your living accommodations are from the main tourist attractions.
There is nothing more exciting than stepping foot in a new country for the first time. Being able to explore so many wonderful places gave me a greater appreciation for the world around me, London, and my home in the states.