With the pesky “study” part of my study abroad program, most of my trips were limited to the weekends. However, after spending many weekends abroad, I like think I had it down to an art, and here is how I did it:
How to get there: With such limited time to spend on holiday, it’s best to weigh your options on timeliness of different modes of transport and cost. For all my weekends away, I flew, and with budget airlines such as easyJet and RyanAir, it can be quite affordable. If you’re taking a weekend away based in mainland Europe to another country in the mainland, I would suggest looking into buses or trains if it’s 300 miles away or less (that will take about 3-5 hours). However, if you’re traveling from the British Isles to the mainland (or vice versa), flying is your only timely and budget option.
What to pack: I usually travel with just carry-ons because budget flights usually charge quite a bit for checked bags (that’s where they get you). Be sure the check baggage size restrictions for carry-on luggage. I find it really useful to make a list so you can pack quickly, not forget anything and use it for future trips. Here is a list of my travel essentials.
Where to stay: If you’re hoping to travel while you study abroad, you’re more than likely going to want to travel on a budget. With that, I highly suggest you stay at a hostel. I use HostelWorld to find my accommodation, I wrote a bit about staying in hostels here (I have also written about every hostel I’ve stayed in here, as well). As a quick recap: I (personally) search for the city, filter by rating and price, then use the map to choose hostels close to public transit and then, finally, compare pictures and facilities of the remaining hostels. Your own search method will differ by your priorities, however, I highly suggest you stay somewhere close to public transit routes. I can’t tell you how great it was to live near local train lines in big cities like Berlin and Paris.