Tips For Travel While Studying Abroad: Plan Ahead

Transportation can be tricky. In order to get from place to place in a different country, most of the time a person will use public transportation. That includes buses, taxis, Uber’s, trains, Amtrak’s, airplanes, etc. It can be especially difficult for individuals who have never relied on public transportation before. Their situation might feel entirely out of their control after “hopping into” public transportation.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to head over to Ireland for random leisure activities. My ISA group and I found cheap tickets through Ryanair and said, “why not?”. After booking our Airbnb, all that was left was to find transportation from our dorm in Stirling to the Glasgow airport, and then from the Dublin airport to our Airbnb. At first, it went smoothly.

Unfortunately, a strike was occurring in Glasgow Friday morning and one of my friends received an email Thursday evening saying her flight would be taking off from an airport an hour farther away, which she could not go to by train. Instead, she had to pay a fee of 145 pounds to get to that airport. The rest of us left Friday evening when the strike was over. We hopped onto the UL bus into Stirling, took a train from Stirling to Glasgow City Centre, and took another bus – the Airport Express – to the Glasgow airport. In total, it took us over an hour from point A to B. But our troubles were not over yet. Our flight was delayed in Glasgow for an hour, which put us in an hour later. We had to wait longer for the Dublin bus to arrive at the airport and shuttle us closer to a bus stop near our Airbnb.

‘Dublin, Ireland’ This street was popular tourist street, so many individuals could be seen walking on it from place to place. Towards the right of the photo, a green bus can be seen called a Hop On Hop Off Bus – one of the many modes of public transportation in Dublin.

Thankfully, our problems were over for a few days. While in Ireland, we maneuvered easily through the city by walking, hailing a cab, and buying tickets for their Dart. It didn’t seem stressful with their transportation. Eventually, we had to return to Scotland early Monday morning. After waking up at 4:00 AM, we were ready to hop onto the bus back to the Dublin airport. The night before, one of the boys checked the bus schedule and said it ran every ten minutes – but not until after 5:00 AM. Frantically, we searched for different options. We ended up taking two Uber’s and had a small wait time for a few to pop-up in our location. In the end it wasn’t a big deal because we eventually arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare before our flight took off – after a 45-minute delay on the tarmac. Upon arriving in Scotland, we took the same route home by finding the Airport Express bus to the Glasgow train station where we bought a ticket to Stirling. Then getting off in Stirling, we caught the 54 Bus back to the university and made it back in time for our classes. We planned ahead but even then, not everything went as well as expected. That’s the importance of having a back-up plan.

‘Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, Ireland’ Part of our group took the Dart from our AirB&B to a stop near this prison because in this case, it was too far to walk.

Bethany Gillet is a student at Concordia University Nebraska. She is an ISA Featured Blogger and studied abroad with Veritas Christian Study Abroad in Stirling, Scotland.

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