I Want to Travel: But Where? Written by Richelle Holnick
So you’re studying abroad. That’s great! You know you want to travel, but how do you pick from all of the amazing places you can go?
My first suggestion would be to write down all of the places you are interested in before you leave. I actually made this list when I was in the airport waiting for my flight. You will not necessarily get to all of these places, but it is a great idea to write down and start researching a little bit about all of your possibilities.
Things to consider:
- How close or far is it to your host city?
- How safe is the city?
- Price of transportation
- Can you take a bus or train there, or do you need a flight?
- Is it cheaper to visit one month verus another?
- Who else is interested
- Would your study abroad friends be interested in going?
- Do they want to go when you are going?
- Do you know anyone else who is already planning a trip there?
I had a group of friends in Milan that I traveled with. I liked having companions and felt safer being with other people. This played a part in where I visited each weekend. We would talk about what seemed interesting, or one person would declare that there was a good deal on a plane/train/bus to destination x and they were going, and most of us would end up joining.
- What is going on in that city throughout the semester?
- Look into that city or country’s holidays, events, and religious days.
I went to Venice during Carnivale because I wanted to get that experience, as well as see the city. I did not go to Amsterdam during King’s Day, specifically because I wanted to avoid traveling there during that holiday. It’s all about personal preference! Figure out what type of experience you want to have in the city you are visiting.
After considering these things, I would try and make a list of “must go” places. For me, this list was London, Paris, and Prague outside of Italy, and then Rome, Positano, and Bologna within Italy. I went many more places than this, but having this list helped ensure that I planned the trips that mattered to me the most.
- Don’t be rigid with your big list! I had never considered going to Brussels, Belgium until my friends wanted to go, but it was a wonderful trip! The city was super cool, and Belgium was actually known for more things than I had ever realized.
- With that said, I am super glad I made a “must go” list. This helped me prevent me from feeling that I missed out on a location or experience. I ended up using my spring break to do part of this list since that is a good time to travel to multiple cities at once.
Don’t forget about seeing your host country! I wanted to see lots of different countries (and I did-nine to be exact) but I also had to make sure that I did not miss out on the beauty of Italy. It’s easy to get “used” to where you are living and concentrate on seeing some place super new, but you picked your host country for a reason! Take the time to go explore.
Plan ahead: or don’t. I planned most of my trips the week of, sometimes two weeks before, but that was rare. We would get back from one location and decide where we wanted to go the next weekend. I often ended up scrolling Pinterest in between classes to see what was cool or interesting to see in each place, but that was the extent of my planning besides booking transportation and an Airbnb to stay in. It was nice to get to just travel and explore a city. For certain places, such as London, there were a few tourist places that my friends and I wanted to go, see, or do, so we made sure that we had a plan for those. Otherwise, we just wandered around, seeing the beauty of each city and getting a better feel for their culture than if we were stuck in tourist traps and museums all day. With that said, there is no “right way” to travel! Plan whatever trip sounds the best to you! My brother spent most of his abroad semester inside of museums-and he had a blast!
“The ‘traveler’s rush’ that hits you upon arrival to a new place is like a drug. And like a drug, the more you expose yourself to it the more you want it.”- Clayton B. Cornell
I hope you enjoy the traveler’s rush! Here are all of the places that I travelled during my semester abroad.
Milan, Italy (where I lived)
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Lake Garda, Italy
La Spezia, Italy
Cinque Terre (Specifically, Vernazza, Manarola, and Corniglia)
Prague, Czech Republic
Lake Lugano, Switzerland