After choosing your destination to study abroad, it’s important to finalize the decision on whether you want to travel throughout Europe, or stay in that specific country. With Madrid as my destination, this was a difficult decision considering how versatile the country of Spain is. Since I had other friends studying throughout Europe and Madrid has such a central airport, I decided exploring outside was the way to go. Here are a few tips if you choose this route:
- Plan a little ahead:
A common misconception is that it is super cheap to travel everywhere. Yeah, it is compared to traveling throughout America since you are going to a different country… but tickets can be up to $200 which can add up if you plan to travel 3 times a month. I would suggest to book tickets at least a month ahead.
I would suggest to do some thorough research on different modes of transportation. From country to country, use the budget airlines such as Vueling, Ryanair, easyJet, Wizzair, etc. Be careful with this though because they often charge more for big/extra bags. Just be sure to check the requirements. The Renfe train is great to use throughout Spain. Even busses are a safe option. I ended up taking a bus from Venice to Rome for just 20 euros!
Pack light!! While abroad, it’s best to learn the art of minimalism. You don’t want too many things because there might be times where you are sightseeing with your baggage on you. With you living situation, check out hostels.com. You can find hostels with the best reviews and best prices. I highly recommend this option because it’s a great way to meet people, especially if you are traveling alone. With that being said, make sure you lock up everything at all times (unfortunately my friend got her laptop stolen at a hostel). Hostels will also usually be extremely resourceful. They include information on all the popular sights in including tickets and transportation to and from as well as restaurant recommendations. They also have baggage storage options in case you leave the destination after check-out time.
Overall, it’s extremely important to do plenty of research to have an efficient, affordable and enjoyable experience in a different city/country, especially if you are there just for a weekend.