Lindsay Kearns is a junior studying Spanish with a business minor. She is also planning on receiving her Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate before graduating next Spring. During Winter Quarter, she is studying abroad in Toledo, Spain.
Here are some tips for weekend travels that I learned while studying abroad:
- Pack your own towel. Although most hostels will have towels, you often have to pay for them. One weekend our hostel ran out of towels so it is always a great idea to pack your own.
- Bring a journal to write in. Weekend travels are often the times when most inside jokes start. Journals are also useful to give ratings to hostels/museums/restaurants and to write down little things you are likely to forget.
- Always have enough Euros for transportation BEFORE you travel. It is possible that you will not have the chance to withdrawal money when you are traveling. It is essential that you have enough money to pay for housing, meals, and transportation. It is also smart to bring either your debit or credit card with you while traveling in case something happens to your Euros.
- Bring medicines with you on weekend trips. You are probably going to sleep less on the weekends than you do during the week, thus weakening your immune system. A majority of students were the most sick while traveling. Ibuprofen, emergen-c, Sudafed, and Pepto bismol proved to be huge helps while adjusting to weekend travels.
- Don’t over pack. Several times students, especially girls, had to end up checking their bags because they were over the limit for carry-on luggage. You can always swap clothes with other people who are traveling.
- Remember the 3 oz limit while flying. You can also only have 1 quart size bag of liquids. It is also helpful to put anything that can leak, such as nail polish, make up, and toothpaste, in their own small bags so they do not ruin other products.
- Purchase luggage locks before you travel. If you stay in a hostel, the cheapest route is usually sharing a room between many people. It is a good idea to lock up your valuables in the room in the hostel. Although your “dormmates” usually appear friendly, it is better to take the extra precaution and protect your valuables.
- Check to make sure you have your passport, wallet, camera, and ticket before leaving, and before getting on and off the bus/train/plane. Several times students almost forgot to bring their passport or almost left their camera on the bus. It is well worth it to take a few extra seconds to check your seats and the floor to make sure you have everything rather than spending several hundred Euros to replace a lost item.
- Be aware of your surroundings. When arriving in a new city, it is easy to get caught up in the moment. However, make sure to keep an eye on your belongings and the people around you.
- When purchasing tickets for flights, buses or trains, triple check the dates. You may feel certain that you purchased the correct ticket, however the dates can change when the ticket is being processed. This happened in our group, which resulted in a 145 Euro fee for the correct flight home.
- Use Google or map quest to search directions to your hostel before arriving. It will save you the time of wandering around trying to figure out which way to go.
- To make the most of your weekend, make a list of the things you would most enjoy doing before you leave. That way, you can figure out the best times to visit each site.