Traveling is a great opportunity to experience difference cultures and widen your world view. We learn about the world through the lens of television and films, but typically the reality of countries and their peoples are quite different to the media representation.
So, where are you going to go?
If you have never been overseas or travelled independently, consider traveling in Europe at the start of your tour so that you can get used to it. The benefits are that the cultures that you experience, although different to the USA, share many of the characteristics and so Europe is a great place to visit while you find your feet.
You have access to information about the far corners of the globe in the palm of your hand. Research your destinations before you get there so you can identify the best places to go and the best deals to have.
You won’t want a strict and rigid itinerary to dilute your spontaneity, but you should invest some time in understanding and prioritizing activities in the destinations that you are visiting.
Research will give you the information that you need to be able to set a realistic budget. Before you leave home, you should apply for an international student card so that you can take advantage of the savings and discounts that you can access when you are traveling in Europe.
Your budget will be the greatest influence on the experiences that you have. The amount of money that you take with you needs to be spent responsibly, every dollar counts.
- Exchange Rate: you need to consider the exchange rate of the US dollar against the euro and the sterling pound of the UK. You don’t want to pay excessive charges for exchanging your money. It can work out more cost effective to have a credit card.
- Which country? Some countries in Europe are still considered bargain destinations such as Bulgaria, Romania, and the Czech Republic. Here your money will stretch further than the pricier countries such as the UK.
- Wise decisions: the decisions you make need to be financially sound. For example, instead of staying in London, it can be more economical to hire large holiday houses in Sussex and travel into the capital via train – it can take just as long to get into central London from Sussex than from some of the closer suburbs. Similarly, in Europe, a rail ticket is an inexpensive way to travel through mainland Europe, but of course, it is slower than air.
While Europe remains comparatively expensive to other parts of the world, it is accessible to students if they undertake thorough research and budget accordingly. Traveling in Europe is a great opportunity to make some amazing memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life.