Hello Beautiful Souls,
It’s hard to believe it’s almost been a year since I left for study abroad and spent about two months in France. It feels like only a few months ago that I was hopping on a plane out of here. I think about my trip everyday; it’s no joke when people say traveling changes your life. This study abroad trip was not the first time I had been to Europe, but it was definitely the most memorable and longest I have ever been overseas.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have had a bunch of friends jet setting and reaching out to me for some tips and tricks about overseas travel. I love answering and giving them any advice that I have because I am so passionate about traveling and I want everyone to know how to fully experience life abroad. So, since I have been thinking a lot about my trip lately and offering advice to my friends, I thought I should construct a post to give you a list of my favorite tips for traveling to Europe.
My Top 10 Tips for you:
- Utilize cash: Exchange rates differ all the time and the value of the currency can change often too. Banks can sometimes charge you when you use your card overseas, this can also differ too. When you withdraw cash there is usually a fee but if you withdraw large amounts it makes it more worth your money, rather than getting charged each time you use your card. This also allows you to split restaurant bills with friends and avoid being in an emergency situation with no money.
- Take videos: Pictures are wonderful and I took over 1,000 on my trip, but videos really capture the moments. The sounds can bring back lots of feelings and memories. I took so many random videos abroad and I love them all. They help me relive some moments and it helps me share the vibes with others. It’s also lots of fun to make a cool video after your trip.
- Collect little things: When you’re traveling, you will probably stop at a lot of different places. Throughout my trip I collected business cards, coffee cup wraps and other little things. I kept these things in my journal and now when I look back I am able to remember the names of the places I visited and it retains the memories associated with it.
- Enjoy the moment: It’s easy to want to post constant snap chats and Instagram stories, but don’t forget to be present. Don’t get wrapped up watching what people are doing at home. You do not want to miss a moment during your travels. Take a little time each night to update social media and check in with home, but don’t waste time on it when you are out and about. Enjoy where you are, fully!
- Say yes!: Okay, so you are taking an adventure of a lifetime, now is not the time to be hesitant to new things. Obviously don’t do anything that will put your life in danger or get you into legal trouble; but, take this magical opportunity to live a little. Say yes to adventures and new things. Crush your comfort zone and live to the fullest.
- Talk to strangers: Your parents have probably always told you the opposite of this but talking to strangers abroad can teach you a lot and enlighten you on other cultures. There are few things to be aware of when doing this though; be aware of the situations you are in, what your surroundings are and who the stranger may be. Avoid chatting with people on public transportation, it’s best to keep to yourself then. But, if you see other students out and about, try to strike up a conversation with them. If you are taking classes abroad, meet people in your classes and around your school.
- Don’t over pack shoes: This one may seem a bit random, but for the ladies, it’s easy to think you need 100 pairs of shoes for every occasion abroad. Honestly, three pairs is probably enough. Take shoes for everyday wear and that are comfortable. Take a pair for going out and looking super cute, and throw in a pair of tennis shoes or flats.
- Don’t buy too much for others: I may sound a little harsh with this one, but don’t over buy gifts for people at home. They didn’t take the trip you did, therefore they won’t cherish the gifts as much. Of course you should get your family something small and get your closest friends something too! Just don’t spend too much time or money worrying about what to get everyone and their mother back home. Get things that will help you remember the trip.
- Shop locally: It may seem comfortable to stick to what you know, but try to expand your horizons abroad and try locally made things. I know when I stayed in Nice, there were a couple clothing stores that we had back home (H&M, Zara, etc.) and those can be fun to check out, but make sure you hit up some new places and explore what the country has to offer. You will find so many unique styles. Why would you want to buy something you can buy in your native country?!
- Eat native foods: This relates to the last one, but try local favorites. When traveling abroad, food can be tricky because flavors and cooking techniques may be different. This makes stepping outside of the usual a little more difficult. Do what is best and healthy for you, but don’t forget to experiment and try what’s out there. I recommend French wine and Escargo (snails), if you are traveling to France.
These are just a few of my favorite tips to share with those who ask. Traveling to new places is fun and exciting. If you are about to take a trip, near or far, I wish you the best in your travels. Seeing new cultures and being in a sea of strangers is life changing, in my opinion. You will become so open-minded and life will become much more valuable.
If you have a tip for traveling, share it in the comments below! I’d love some advice for my next adventure.
Thank you for checking out PYM today! I am working on another post for this week too, so stick around for more from me.