Ciao! It’s Savannah from Rome again. This is my final week abroad and I am so excited to come home but also so sad to leave. Since this is the end, I have finally been on all my bonus weekend trips: Madrid, Paris, Florence, and London! All of that travel was exhausting, but I saw so much beauty and learned lots of knowledge. So here are my four tips for traveling on weekends while abroad:
1) Book in advance: The earlier you book, the better you will be. This goes for not just availability but also price. When I booked my Madrid trip, we waited until the Monday before to book anything. As soon as the clock changed from 11:59 to noon, our original morning flight doubled in price! We had to change to fly out awkwardly in the middle of the afternoon to save money, so we lost a half day. You will also make sure you get on the flight or in the hotel you want. Book as soon as you decide to go and don’t wait!
2) Plan to be delayed: Disclaimer: I am not condoning getting to the airport late. PLEASE always get to the airport in enough time to check your bag and get through security. However, once on the other side of security, plan to see you flight delayed once you look at a departures board. I flew on six flights while abroad (not including my flights here and back home), and only one of them was not delayed. My flights To Madrid were delayed 30 minutes there and two hours back, my Paris flight was delayed an hour there and 30 minutes back, and my London flight was delayed 45 minutes there. My only on time flight was my flight home from London. The main thing to take away from this: do not plan any timed events the day you arrive, because you may miss them.
*** Small bonus tip: print your boarding pass at home. You will have to wait in the checked bag line to print you boarding pass and it could cost you over 40 euros! Just print your pass at home and have it on your phone, because it will save you time and money.
3) Prepare for different standards: Europe and America are two completely different places, with two completely different set of normal happenings and standards. Since you won’t need a full checked bag for a weekend away (trust me, you won’t), you can go straight to security. Security (in Rome at least) requires you to take out your liquid bag and laptops, but that’s it. The longest I ever waited for security from beginning to end was four minutes. So that’s security, but now onto the reason you’r at the airport: flying. Your planes will be smaller in all aspects. Your food and drink (including water) will not be free. You will probably experience more turbulence. Your ticket is much cheaper than home, so you get what you pay for.
4) Sleep is for the weak: I want to preface this with I always plan to sleep at least eight hours a night. Sometimes, however, you have to make sacrifices for the greater good of yourself. You can sleep when you get back to America. Plan that early flight there and late flight back, and wake up early to sight-see and get back late to enjoy your dinner. You may be exhausted on that flight home, but those memories will last a lifetime. We’re young, we can survive on four hours of sleep. THAT BEING SAID: Sleep and rest up before your class, because the main goal of study abroad is to learn and study.
*** Bonus tip #2: Always drink water when you can! You will be walking a lot, and being dehydrated is the easiest and fastest way to slow yourself down. I got so dehydrated in London we had to skip our after-dinner plans because I was so sick. Drink water and it will save you physically and mentally.
Thanks for reading!