While studying abroad and traveling can seem stressful at first, there are resources out there for students and travelers alike to make it easier. The father-son duo of Rick and Andy Steves are travel professionals who used their amazing, wide-range of first-hand experiences to guide others who wanted to follow in their footsteps. Rick Steves put all his travel information in in-depth and detailed guidebooks called "Europe Through the Back Door," from which many editions were made, outlining the perfect and ideal vacations to many countries for people of all ages.
Andy Steves gained a lot of his travel knowledge first-hand from traveling all over Europe with his father, Rick as a young child. As he got older, he decided to embark on an adventure of his own. In 2005, he went on a tour of Europe with one of his best friends, from Amsterdam to Paris, the Swiss Alps, Madrid and more. Starting as an assistant tour guide for his father's company, he gained more professional travel experience and skills. When he went back to Europe in 2008 to study abroad in Rome, he realized that there was a real lack of student travel ideas. When he returned home, he started the birth of his travel company, as well as one that you may have even taken a tour with; WSA Europe. Using his own trips as a guide, he developed over 20 detailed travel itineraries to top European cities. In 2010, his concept for a weekend tour-focused travel business won first place at Notre Dame's annual business plan competition. What started as a plan in a college dorm room became a real business.
WSA, known as Weekend Student Adventures, provides in-depth cultural experiences in multiple popular European destinations for study abroad students. These include Amsterdam, London, Paris, Prague, Dublin, Rome and more. WSA offers both group and independent tours, so you can wander Europe with just your close friends while not having to plan the trip on your own. Group tours are led by locals of the country, who know all the ins and outs and will take you to places you would never have heard of otherwise. The local tour guides provide an authentic experience that immerses you in the culture. While also providing additional valuable information, such as how to find cheap flights and how to pack the best suitcase for studying abroad, WSA has become an invaluable resource for young college students studying abroad all over the world. Top rated on sites like TripAdvisor, the reviews only serve to show how many people have had life-changing tours with them. You just pick the flights and meet your tour guide who will lead you on an unforgettable journey.
As an intern for them this semester while I study abroad in Florence, Italy, WSA is an amazing resource to me; helping me plan trips and decide when and where to go. The mission statement of the company is "to foster fun, respectful, in-depth and unforgettable travel experiences for budget backpackers and students. We empower travelers to become immersed in the cities they visit by experiencing cultures as a local, rather than merely observing them." What could be better than that?