Just an hour plane ride or a few hours train ride is the only thing between you and multiple countries. Take advantage of it.
Six countries in ten days may seem a little extreme. But when you spend the first 5 of fifteen weekends in your study abroad city, you realize you should make up for some time. The next 8 weekends after spring break aren’t enough to go everywhere you want so I decided to utilize my time.
I went to Barcelona for my first weekend trip, to Florence for my next, and then came spring break. From a Friday to a Monday, ten days. Thankfully I had roommates as crazy as me and we booked 7 flights. Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Dublin, and finally Edinburg. Seven flights rounded up to only around $400 total.
To save money we stayed in hostels, did what touristy things we could for free, and had a day or two in each place. My two roommates packed only backpacks while I had a small suitcase and miraculously managed to not repeat an outfit.
Traveling is one of the most fun things about being abroad. Personally, being in Europe, it’s easy to get to other countries. Though 24 to 48 hours isn’t much to spend somewhere, you can still have the most amazing experiences.
A €10 ticket to a ballet performance at the Vienna State Opera or renting a bike and riding around Amsterdam, visiting the Mozart Museum and Van Gogh Museum, or my personal favorite, a €6 train ticket to Howth, Ireland to experience the cliff walk.
I’ve experienced so many cultures, accents, and languages. I hope to visit each country again someday, but it was the perfect, hectic spring break.
That being said, travel is exhausting, especially if you take the hectic approach. I got almost no sleep the weekend in Barcelona. The day we came back I slept from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and then went back to bed at 9 p.m. and was sick for the next few days. My body was completely run down. After spring break I’m not feeling much different. We missed our last flight to Scotland and decided to come home early because we were exhausted despite the good amount of sleep, we had gotten the past few nights.
Traveling has taught me some other lessons besides “don’t overdo it”: Go with the flow and always be ready for anything.
Missed your flight and too exhausted to make it to the last country? Be ready to book that fight home. Have a loose itinerary, you might find something you didn’t know of beforehand. Don’t overpay for things that are overrated. For example, the famous Cliffs of Moher take up the entire day, cost 50 euros to get to, and have a barrier in most places. The cliffs in Howth however are just as stunning, take only a couple of hours to really explore, you can climb/explore everywhere, and it only cost a €6 train ride.
Enjoy the cheap short travel but know your physical and mental limits. Traveling is tiring but worth it. See as much as you can. But I have a pretty good idea that I’ll be spending the next weekend in: five countries in 9 days was pushing it!
Lily Richard is a college student at Masachusettes College of Liberal Arts. She is an ISA Featured Blogger and is studying abroad with ISA in Rome, Italy.