Previously, I wrote a post about travel tips and how to get to your destination. I had never been to Europe before studying abroad, and I had a lot to figure out. I knew traveling on weekends would not give me very much time in each place. After figuring out I needed to make travel arrangements in advance, I realized I needed to plan out my day to day activities in each place I went. Cities like London have so much to do, and a weekend there is not nearly long enough. This is where planning my time was most critical to being able to see most things.
Pinterest was the biggest thing that helped me plan my weekends. There are so many blogs out there from people who documented their trips. Most of the time you can find “self-guided walking tours” of any city you want to travel to. When doing research for each city I would Pin 3-5 posts, then make a list of which things I wanted to see and which to skip. Then, I would look at a map of the city and decide which things were close together. Below is my London itinerary for example:
- Paul’s Cathedral (we stayed in the Club Quarters Hotel at St. Paul’s)
- Houses of Parliament
- Westminster Abbey
- Tower Bridge
- Tower of London
- Leadenhall Market (for Harry Potter fans)
- Madam Tussauds Wax Museum
- London Eye
- Buckingham Palace
- Platform 9 ¾ (Harry Potter again)
As you can see, we did a lot in two days. For the London trip, I purchased a two-day London Pass. This allowed me to get into each attraction (except Madam Tussauds and the London Eye) and most of the tickets included fast passes. I would recommend getting the London Pass, but not for more than two days, because the price goes up at three days, but the amount of attractions included does not.
Pinterest was also helpful in places that are not as commonly known. When visiting Lisbon, I would not have known to visit Sintra, Portugal without seeing a pin about it. It turned out to be one of the coolest cities I visited. There was information on how to get to Sintra from Lisbon, what to see, and how to get around the city.
The one drawback of Pinterest for studying abroad is its advice on packing. I read so many blog posts about how to pack, and followed their advice, but ended up not having enough clothes. My advice on this would be to do research on what kinds of clothes are sold in the country you will be living in. Personally, I did not like the clothes sold in Spain and around Europe. This may not be the case for everyone, but some research would have gone a long way with me.
Overall, Pinterest can be a great resource for your time abroad and will help you plan your travels well. It will help you make the most of your time there and see as much as possible!