Welcome back! Today were leaving London behind! One of the best parts about studying abroad in London is its proximity to other European cities. Throughout my time abroad, I have been fortunate enough to travel to other cities in Europe rather affordably. During my Spring Break, I spent a week traveling around the Iberian Peninsula, beginning in Lisbon, moving to Madrid, and then ending in Barcelona. After spring break I took a weekend trip to Amsterdam and Bruges, and then spent another weekend in Paris. It is so interesting to compare how each city differs from each other, but also to see the similarities.
While it is relatively easy to travel across Europe, it does take a bit of planning. The first step I take when planning my travel is finding people to travel with. I know that personally I did not feel comfortable traveling to countries where I did not speak the language well alone. I was very fortunate to find friends who wanted to go to the places I wanted to, but if you cannot find people I would recommend using a tour company! They can be a good value for the money and help you meet new friends at other schools across London! The next step was to determine when I wanted to travel. I am really big into time management, so I made sure to check all of my syllabi before I booked weekend trips to ensure that I would not be cutting in to my academic time. Once you decide where and when, I think booking gets a lot easier! Google flights is really great in showing the most affordable flight options across time (tip: use incognito mode, as companies will track your cookies and raise prices!). If you have a small group, Airbnb can be an affordable option to get a nice and private accommodation, but don’t fear hostels! We stayed at many cute and safe hostels that offered free breakfast and opportunities to make friends with other travelers with activities!
I have been really fortunate to have not had any major challenges when traveling! What I have learned from the experiences of other students is to be aware of your surroundings when walking around crowded areas, try not to walk with your phone in your hand, and lock up your items when you leave the accommodation. Not every city has uber, so be prepared to walk or take the local metro. And while a lot of cities accept credit cards, make sure to keep cash for emergencies. And when visiting major sites such as the Anne Frank Museum or Pena Palace, tickets can sell out or lines can be very long, so I recommend buying tickets ahead of time. Also many museums have free tickets for students studying in the EU or just student discounts, so travel with your student ID.