During my time abroad, my attitude towards traveling outside of Italy has been to avoid squeezing in the big places on my bucket list into short weekend trips, and instead I could cover the “smaller” cities/countries of Europe that I may not necessarily make the flight from the US to visit alone, but are reasonable to see in my time here. I had the opportunity to spend a whole week traveling during our spring break, but again, I chose to visit four more condensed cities during that time.
I spent my week hopping from Vienna to Salzburg and from Budapest to Prague.
As a student on a budget, I was in search of finding the most affordable ways to travel.
When planning a trip, the first search is obviously, transportation. To find the cheapest and most convenient means of transportation, I used GoEuro, Google Flights, and Student Universe. My friends and I took an overnight train to Vienna from Florence which was not only cheap, but also time-savvy. And, because Vienna and Budapest are so close to each other, the train was again, the most convenient and affordable choice. Prague, on the other hand, was too far from Budapest to squeeze a train ride into our schedule, so we bought a flight with RyanAir. Whether you plan on travelling by plane, train, or bus, I highly suggest booking one to two months in advance to find the best prices. Also, keep in mind that search engines can use your information to raise prices of flights for the days that are being searched- so as soon as you have come to a decision, book your trip!!
As for accommodation, since I traveled with a large group of friends, we were able to get entire hostel rooms all to ourselves, which all came with our own bathroom to share. Every hostel we stayed in was extremely affordable and central, as well as very spacious and clean. When booking a hostels I used hostelworld.com and I made sure to read the reviews!! I cannot stress this enough, the reviews people leave are so helpful when choosing the right place for you. Many people use hostels as a way to meet people of similar interests, so hostels often promote socialization between guests. Most hostels also offer free activities such as daily tours, or weekly dinners. Always take advantage of hotel resources!
Food is a huge part of your budget equation- especially when travelling because no home base means no time to cook, no time to cook means lots of eating out, right? Well, no one said you have to have to cook to shop at the grocery store. My breakfasts and lunches during my spring break consisted of picking up a baguette, fruit, nuts, or premade meals at the grocery store. This was an easy way to stay on budget, and also feel like a local for a minute. I do think it is important to try the typical cuisine of any new country, so I often chose one or two meals during my time in each place to indulge in a classic dish.
(Disclaimer: most hostels do provide a kitchen if you do find the time cook!)
As for the rest of your trip, remember that these are most likely once-in-a-lifetime trips, you can always make your money back, but the memories you make are unique! If you plan according to your personal needs, trust that it’ll take you far.