Summer break is around the corner and although you have been waiting for it impatiently, you might not have plans for that amazing time of the year. Looking for culture, food, adventure and beauty? Europe is your place. Worried about the visa? As a US citizen, you don’t need one to visit the old continent for less than 90 days. Traveling is the easiest and most affordable it has ever been. If you think that living with a student budget discards this possibility, you are wrong. Although it might not be known as the most affordable destination, here is some advice that will help you make your Euro-trip possible.
1. Travel with friends.
Although you might feel comfortable as a lone wolf, traveling with friends isn’t only much safer, but a hundred times more fun. The tedious process of planning an itinerary, packing and flying become less of a burden if you are with someone you enjoy spending time with. Plus, it becomes so much cheaper as you and your friends can split the cost of accommodation and food, which are the two most expensive things in Europe. You can even split who takes what to the trip to reduce the size of your luggage because you can always share toothpaste and sunscreen among everyone.
2. Look for travel allies at your destination.
Even if you think that you don’t know anyone at your destination, you would be impressed if you ask around. Try reaching out to that high school friend that is now living in Paris or that uncle in Italy that you haven’t seen in a long time. Since they know you are coming from far, there is a high chance that they will give you tours around the city, or let you stay with them. If you end up not finding anyone you know, don’t be shy and make some local friends there!
3. Get an International Student Identity Card (ISIC).
Just as you get student discounts in your city, you can get them around the world with ISIC! The card gives you access to over 150 000 student discounts around the world -hundreds in Europe in all sorts of categories such as food, accommodation, city tours, car rental and more. The card itself costs $20 but there are different plans to add travel insurance to it.
4. Fly with Ryanair.
The low-cost airline operates in 170 European cities, taking passengers around the continent for less than $100 in average. The leg room might be reduced and not food is included, you can definitely stand being a little bit uncomfortable for a couple of hours in order to know all Europe for cheap.
5. Go for street food and prepare your own meals.
Having breakfast at the street corner coffee shop can cost you around $10, so eventually eating may reduce the affordability of your trip. Instead, if you buy groceries for all your stay, a loaf of bread, cheese, ham or whatever you like, and start preparing your breakfasts and snacks you can avoid spending too much money on food. Street food is also a great option for lunch, not only because it is more affordable than restaurants, but also because you will taste the real taste of the country.
Traveling Europe can be affordable if you follow this advice and plan ahead. Now you have no excuses not to be that that smiling girl at the Roman Colosseum or that goofy boy at the Eiffel Tower that you see on travel blogs. Consider that spending your extra money on traveling is a great investment, not only because you will get life-lasting memories but also because it will enrich your knowledge. Whatever your major is, traveling and learning about different realities will make you bring new experiences to the table, contributing to better discussions in the classroom, at work and with your friends and family.
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