One of the first things you’ll discover in Europe is how easy it is to get to your dream destination. But as fun, as it is to be impulsive, travel in Europe can be sticky without a little bit of planning. So, make sure you follow these steps to avoid rookie mistakes and have the best weekend getaway of your life.
Evaluate Your Priorities
Let’s say you want to plan a trip to Barcelona. What would you like to do there? A weekend of non-stop clubbing, lazy days on the beach sipping sangria, or are you more into the amazing sites like La Sagrada Familia? It’s a good idea to have at least a rough outline of your trip so you don’t waste time or money on things that don’t pique your interest. If clubbing is what you’re after, do some research into places offering specials on the days you’re going. Want to skip the line at the sights and museums? Book your tickets before you go!
Choose Your Transportation
This is probably the most tragically overlooked part of any weekend trip, and it can cause all kinds of problems if you aren’t careful. Excited for your dirt-cheap Ryanair flight from Pisa to Barcelona? Well, no, not exactly. See, a lot of cheap airlines advertise flights to big cities like Barcelona and Paris, but actually fly to small airports sort of close to them. Flights to Paris often go to Beauvais, which is actually over an hour away from anything you’ll want to see, and similarly, flights to Barcelona actually go to Girona. Not that there’s anything wrong with this; it’s usually not worth flying right into a big city anyway. Just be realistic about how much time and money it’ll actually cost you to get where you want to go, and plan your travel days accordingly!
Choose Where You Will Stay
Do your research. If you decide to stay in a hostel make sure you know what you’re getting into. Every hostel is different. Some are nice, while others can look like a crime scene. Any hostel with a rating under 80% should raise a question. Hotels are a great option but can be quite pricey. We recommend Airbnb as a cheaper alternative to hotels. Wherever you’re staying though, make sure it’s close to what you want to see and do! Nothing is worse than discovering you’re a forty-minute walk from anything fun.
Plan Some Activities
Nooo! We are not saying to plan everything you are going to do beforehand. Being spontaneous and adventurous is part of traveling while abroad. Having some sort of plan of what you want to do when you get to your destination will make your stay less stressful. Some activities such as skydiving or wine tours do require reservations. Be aware of what your destination has to offer and if the prior commitment is necessary.
Finally, Use Your Discounts
The biggest challenge by far when traveling abroad is trying to save money. If you are a student, BE AWARE OF STUDENT DISCOUNTS. Ask the hotels, businesses, and transportation methods if they have a student discount. The majority of the time they will have something to offer. Use websites like Sky Scanner or Kayak to find deals on flights and hotels.