In 2015 I spent 6 months going to school at King’s College in London, England. While I was there I traveled to Belgium, Germany (three separate times), Switzerland, Spain, Croatia, and Ireland! I complied a short list of some of the most important things to know while you’re traveling abroad! Tips and tricks to help you have the best time without spending too much money

  1. Backpacks are important!

Before I traveled abroad I wanted to make sure I had a back pack that was big enough that I could fit everything into it but also small enough that it would be considered carry-on size for plan rides. I got mine at a Dick’s Sporting Goods, but you can also find them at Eastern Mountain Sports, Amazon.com, WalMart, etc! Here’s a great link that compares some of the best brands out there: http://bestreviews.com/best-backpacks

(Here’s a picture of me in Luzerne, Switzerland with my backpack!)

2. Cheapest Airlines

Two of the cheapest airlines in Europe are RyanAir and EasyJet. I got a flight from Croatia to London for 30 pounds! They both have amazing deals, the only downside is that the airports they fly out of are usually very small and farther away from the big hub locations, so make sure you find transportation to and from the airports!

(A picture of me at Plitvice Park in Croatia!)

3. BRING A CAMERA

Phones die quickly these days so make sure you bring a camera on your adventures! Even a small cheap camera is fine, it’s just good to capture those beautiful sights and moments so that you can reflect on them later! I have a canon T3, but many of my friends have waterproof GoPros which work beautifully for places where you might be swimming. Here’s a link to a good but cheap camera.

(Me in a London telephone booth!)

4. Hostels, Airbnb, and Couchsurfing

Hostels are great for making friends, Airbnbs are great if you need some alone time, and Couchsurfing is wonderful if you want to meet locals! My favorite experiences were with Couchsurfing, the site is Couchsurfing.com. The upside to couchsurfing is that it’s free! Sometimes the hosts will even show you around or make you a meal. The downside to couchsurfing is that the arrangements aren’t always the most comfortable, some people have beds but you might end up on a couch or sharing a single mattress on the floor with a friend (which unfortunately happened to me and my friend). Hostels can be great if you want to meet people and many hostels usually have a free breakfast of some sort, which can definitely help you save some money, but you can sometimes end up sleeping in a room with 20 other people, which means you might not get the best nights sleep. Airbnb is usually more private, you can book more specifics, like whether you want a private bathroom, private room etc. The downside to this is that they are usually on the more expensive side of things. Personally, I thought couchsurfing was worth it, even if I did have to sleep on couches, I got the most out of meeting people and having locals show us around!

(A picture of me and my two friends, and the guys on either end are the two couchsurfing hosts we stayed with in Ghent, Belgium!)

5. Pack light

Think about what the climate is going to be like, make sure to pack enough underwear for all the days of your trip, but don’t pack a different outfit for each day, otherwise you’ll be hauling way too much stuff around. Carrying a heavy backpack can get very tiring very quickly (trust me, I know from experience). Check the weather before you leave for your trip and pack clothes that you can mix and match for different days (so maybe don’t bring that bright orange pair of jeans that only matches that one shirt you own). Some essentials I would make sure you pack no matter where you go is Advil, a list of important phone numbers, a copy of your visa and passport (as well as your student letter if you’re studying in a particular country), and your insurance card. You should have a copy of your passport at all times when traveling. I kept mine in a folder in my backpack. If for some reason you lose your passport, it will be much easier to return to the country you’re studying in and get a new one if you have a copy of the one you lost.

(A picture of me standing in Germany and Switzerland at the same time)

Thanks for reading all the tips! Happy and safe travels to all!

See below for more pictures of my adventures!

(Posing like a statue in the British Museum in London)

(Posing like another statue, this time in Munich, Germany)

(In front of Stonehenge!)

(Me in a palace in Madrid, Spain)

(My friend and I in Berlin, Germany)

(Exploring an abandoned amusement park in Berlin)

(Overlooking the Cliffs of Mohr in Ireland)

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