Hello prospective and returning ScholarTrip users looking for Europe travel tips. I (ScholarTrip blogpost extraordinaire) am a (recently former) college student. Having just returned from traveling around Europe, here’s what worked and didn’t work for me so that you might learn from my epic successes and unfortunate failures:
Hostels are very cheap, but you get what you pay for. Airbnbs are often a good “middle of the road” option where you can get something clean and relatively nice in a good area for a decent price. I’ve found that Airbnbs have more quality control from users compared to some hotels and hostels that can sweep complaints under the rug. Brand name hotels are certainly the most luxurious option, but seldom a viable option on a student budget. Regardless of where you stay, look up customer reviews to make sure you won’t get saddled with gross conditions or surly hotel managers (speaking from experience).
Spend money on good location. Even if it means staying near a touristy area, you are, in fact, a tourist, and you do not want to be walking around in a foreign country at night in a not-so-tourist-friendly area.
Leave room in your bags for souvenirs. Lots of room. You’re going to find cool stuff that you can’t find wherever you’re from, and you don’t want to be in the tough position the day before returning home where you have to decide what loot stays and what goes.
Don’t do this:
Don’t go to a country speaking none of their local languages. Even if you just spend an hour on DuoLingo and learn rudimentary greetings, I’ve found that the attempt is always appreciated. Except for in France. Every French person I encountered had a burning disdain that they had to speak English to a loathsome tourist such as myself, but many of them spoke it quite well.
Don’t under pack. If you’re in Europe, you’re probably not going to be there for just a few days. And if you’re like me, you probably don’t know exactly what you’re going to be doing until you’re doing it. Don’t feel the need to travel light. You’re not taking everything you have everywhere you go, only from sleeping arrangement to sleeping arrangement, so what’s a few extra pounds? Take what you need and don’t skimp for the sake of a lighter load.
Don’t let yourself get scammed. Don’t let anyone on the street tie a bracelet on you, hand you a CD, or give you any little chachki. They will demand money afterwards. Don’t stop on the street to talk to anyone who seems too eager to talk to you, don’t let anyone walk in your blind spot too close to you – be rude if you have to. Most of all, don’t ignore a feeling that something is off whether you’re in a crowded plaza or walking alone at night.
I hope those few do’s and don’ts prove helpful to any student travelers planning a trip. Talk to us @ScholarTrip on Twitter to share your own tips and experiences or argue mine if you feel so inclined. Finally, I say this not because I have to, but use ScholarTrip for booking flights. As a student, there’s simply no reason not to. From customer service to user experience to sheer value, ScholarTrip will make the air travel portion of your trip easy.