Today’s blog post comes to us from Saint Anselm College student & API blogger Leah Harris! She’s studying abroad with us in Florence, Italy. It’s never too soon to get started on that application for fall! Many of our fall 2019 Florence programs have applications due June 1st!
One of the best, but also one of the most exhausting parts of studying abroad is the opportunity to travel to a new place every single weekend.
Immersing yourself in a completely different culture every weekend is one my favorite parts about my study abroad experience, but let’s be real, traveling is stressful. Especially if you’re more of a go-with-the-flow type of person like me, all the planning and stress that goes into to it can be daunting at times. Here’s some advice to keep in mind while planning, that I’ve learned from my travel experiences so far.
1. Be an informed traveler
Research the areas and landmarks you are visiting beforehand. This way, you can be appreciative of new cultures and traditions when visiting a different country. For my very first trip I traveled to Budapest, Hungary. Too many times I found myself saying, “Well it’s pretty, but I don’t know what it is.” This is not the kind of traveler you want to be! Since that trip I have researched the countries I am traveling before arrival so I can be informed as possible on their heritage, culture, and food! This has greatly improved my trips.
2. If you are feeling lost on what to do or where to go in a new city, remember you are surrounded by so many resources!
Not only are those resources around you, they’re in the palm of your hand. In the age of technology, all of your answers are usually only a quick Google search away. For each city I traveled too, I’ve found countless blogs of the do’s and don’ts, places to eat, and the best attractions. Social media is also a great platform to reach out to people who have traveled to that city and ask them what they did there. You also have so many resources in your host city! Shoot the API staff a quick email for their recommendations. Ask your local barista. Chances are, someone you know has traveled there and is eager to share their favorite spots with you.
3. When planning your trip, don’t forget to factor in the transportation necessary to get you to and from the airport!
Sometimes traveling to a far-away airport for a cheaper flight is worth it. Sometimes it’s not. It just depends! But it is something to be mindful of when booking. Make sure you research the best transportation of getting to and from the airport. Most have cheap trains and buses that drop you off directly in front of the airport, but if not you may be looking at an expensive taxi charge. For me, sometimes it was worth it to spend some extra money to reduce my travel time on Sundays.
4. Remember that each journey is a learning experience!
With every weekend travel trip you take, you will be learning something new about a new place, but also you will be learning a lot about yourself. You will make mistakes. You will probably get lost. You may even book the wrong train once or twice (I did)! Planning is a necessary part of traveling, but it will not always perfect, and that’s ok. Life is about the journey anyways, not the destination.