Traveling on the weekends is one of the highlights of studying abroad. Studying in Bulgaria brought me so many new opportunities to see other European countries. After traveling somewhere new nearly every weekend, I’ve gotten to know some of the do’s and don’ts of weekend trips. Here are a few of the most important takeaways I learned:
1. Pack light, but prepared.
Traveling for a weekend means you don’t need a ton of stuff, and the more you bring, the heavier your bag will be. My advice is to pack enough clothes for how many days you will be gone, plus one extra just in case. Pack clothes you are comfortable in, and be sure to bring good walking shoes. Always bring something warm that you can layer over an outfit because evenings can get really cold while exploring cities.
2. Keep a travel budget.
Even though plane tickets in Europe may seem cheap compared to other fares (especially to those in the U.S.), be aware that you will most likely make up for it with lodging, food and public transport expenses. Taking a taxi everywhere can add up fast, and I tended to underestimate just how much I spend on food in one day.
3. Be prepared to improvise.
Even if you leave for a trip with an itinerary in mind, remember that your plans will likely change on the spot. Try to go with the flow and manage time so you can see all the places on your list without stressing.
4. Leave early.
Traffic and weather delays can interfere with train, plane and bus schedules. Be sure to leave early if you are trying to get somewhere by a certain time so you don’t miss your opportunity. It isn’t fun at all to be running through a bus station dragging luggage behind you. Try to start days early, too, so you are sure to have enough time to explore your city.
5. Get enough sleep.
There is nothing worse than being tired and cranky during a day of sightseeing. You won’t enjoy the trip, and neither will the people you’re with. Try not to sacrifice a good night’s sleep for a night out. If you have to catch a flight early in the morning, try to find time for a nap, if possible. It will make the trip a lot easier if you are freshly rested.
6. Do homework in advance.
Since you are STUDYING abroad, it is important to put your schoolwork first. The best thing to do is to get your homework done before a trip, because you will be tired afterward and not want to do it when you get home. Don’t expect to be doing homework during a weekend trip, because you will not have time. If you do have down time, you will most likely be resting. Getting your work done in advance will leave your mind at ease from the stress of classes and will leave more time for adventures.
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