How To Travel In Europe For Cheap

How To Travel In Europe For Cheap

I've spent the last semester abroad in Italy and I've picked up a few tips for traveling around Europe on a budget.

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I've spent the past few months studying abroad in Italy, and almost every weekend I hop on a plane or train to travel. I've visited roughly fifteen new cities in eight new countries, and I think I've picked up a few tips along the way.

Cross check as many websites as possible for the best deals on flights, trains, buses, and lodging.

There are a plethora of websites that help you search the web for cheap flights and trains. It is best to search all of them and cross check to make sure you're getting the best deal. The same goes for lodging. Make sure you check multiple types of lodging options before booking what you assume would be cheapest. Also, be sure to search in an incognito tab so prices don't go up as you continue to browse!

Favorite transportation websites: GoEuro (now called Omio), Skyscanner, Google Flights, Expedia

Favorite lodging websites: Airbnb, Hostelworld, Expedia (sometimes a hotel can be cheaper!)

Be flexible with travel times

You will not find a flight that's cheap at a convenient time. The cheapest flights leave at the most inconvenient times and there is really no way to avoid it. Be more than prepared and accept the fact that your flight will probably leave at six a.m. or 11 p.m. But in those times of waking and sleeping at weird times, remember that the flight was $20. Also, sleeping in airports is 100% the move.

Learn to pack light

I'm no stranger to overpacking, but I've learned to travel with only the essentials. The budget airlines only allow a small bag, which is usually the size of a backpack. Pack outfits you know are tried and true, and be prepared to wear things more than once. Try bringing three shirts that match one pair of pants; anything you can do to de-bulk your bag helps.

Make a rough itinerary of what you want to do

Once you arrive, have a rough itinerary of what you want to do in your destination. If you go in blind, you'll probably miss out on some cool stuff. Prioritize what you want to spend money on; if you're a big art person, spend money on the art museum tickets, not the history museum. Know what you want to accomplish within a day, but leave time for meandering around the city. I'm a firm believer that the best way to get to know a culture is just by being present in it; you can't do this if you're constantly hussling from place to place.

Google itineraries are your new best friend. If you Google "Berlin in a day", or whatever city, Google generates an itinerary of the highlights of that city that can be accomplished in a day or two. It also gives you the most efficient route between the highlights and how to get there. This is a LIFE SAVER.

Pro Tip: Always ask if the place you're visiting has a student discount. A lot of the museums in the EU can be entered for free with a student visa in the EU. If not, places usually have at least a few dollars off!

Food (the wallet's biggest downfall if you're not careful)

A pretzel from a street market... was around a euro.

Food is oftentimes the culprit when I'm suddenly down $20 in what felt like 20 seconds. My biggest tip is to only eat out one meal a day. Eating out can add up very fast, especially when you're doing it three times a day. For the meals that you're not eating out, check out grocery stores or markets for cheaper eating options that are still within the local cuisine (I lived off of croissants, baguettes, and cheese in Paris).

When you do eat out, make sure it's a good meal. Don't settle for the restaurants with the English menus outside in the most touristy areas. Yelp and Google are your new best friends. Even Googling "authentic Hungarian cuisine cheap" has resulted in the best meals my friends and I have had. Use the internet to your advantage.

Getting around within cities

It really depends on the city whether you need public transportation or if its walkable. Smaller cities like Prague and Budapest? Definitely walkable. Bigger cities like Paris and Berlin? You definitely need public transportation. Just because its a big city doesn't mean it has good public transportation, though (*cough* I'm looking at you, Paris *cough*).

It's helpful to pick accommodations that are close to the main things you want to see in a city, but sometimes it just isn't possible. Public transportation can be unreliable, confusing, expensive, or inconvenient. What do you do then? Ubering is expensive.

Try ridesharing apps that allow you to rent bikes or scooters. We got around Paris almost exclusively by scooter and it was incredibly cheap and easy. Almost all European cities are incredibly bike lane friendly, so navigating on a bike or scooter isn't too daunting.

If you're not on board for the bikes or scooters, don't be above an hour-long walk. If it's nice out, this can actually be really pleasant and a great way to see more of the city.

Give yourself time to chill

Travelling is exhausting. Especially when you're doing it in such a short amount of time with so much to do. Give yourself breathers to take in your surroundings and appreciate where you are. Don't feel like you have to be go go go the entire time. Some of my favorite memories from my travels have been sitting in parks and people watching. Give yourself a chance to take it all in.

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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9 Things To Do In Nashville If You Have No Idea What To Do

Trust me, I was just as lost as you are.

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Nashville is a great place packed full of lots of really cool smaller great places that all offer their own unique take on the city. If you're like me, though, and have a hard time ~planning ahead~, then this list is exactly what you need. I went around and got lost and tried all the coolest hidden gems in Nashville so you don't have to. Here are some of my faves.

1. Milk & Honey Nashville

Located in the Gulch, Milk & Honey is the coffee shop/cafe from my dreams. It's decorated perfectly for any cute insta story and y'all when I say their coffee is amazing I mean it. Try it. It's so worth it, and pretty easy to find, too! You can browse their menus here.

2. Frothy Monkey Coffee Shop

While we're on the topic of coffee shops, Frothy Monkey is a MUST try. Trust me, I've drunk A LOT of coffee in my lifetime, and theirs is up in the top 10 of the best. They have other good things too, but if you're a coffee person like me, this place is heaven, I promise. It's right off 12th Avenue and within walking distance of lots of other funky little shops.

3. Two Old Hippies

This is the coolest little shop you will ever go into. Tucked away in the Gulch, it's within walking distance of Milk & Honey, so stop by after you grab a coffee and browse. They have everything from handmade clothes to cool books to refrigerator magnets. This is one of my all time favorites and I know you'll love it too.

4. Baked on 8th

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I fell in love the second I saw the cute sign. Baked on 8th has a great atmosphere and even better little pastries, cookies, and cakes. Their cookies were so good it took every ounce of self-control I had to not go back and order 2 dozen. 12/10 would recommend if you're into Instagrammable locations and bomb sugar-filled desserts.

5. Burger Republic

I get it, you've gotta eat more than just cookies and coffee. As far as restaurants go, this place is home to the best burger I've ever eaten, plus the atmosphere is pretty laid back and great, and it's an awesome place to go and watch pretty much any sporting event happening anywhere relatively close to Nashville. Browse the menu so you can know exactly what to order before you even get there here.

6. Fido

In case you haven't noticed yet, I'm a HUGE fan of coffee shops and cafes. Fido was the most perfect little spot. It boasts about its gourmet coffee and great food, and rightfully so. It's also got the coolest funky vibe that makes you just want to sit and stay all day, and it's in a great location and decently close to Vanderbilt.

7. Go see some murals

Nashville is FULL of these bad boys. I know y'all have all seen the countless pictures of those people with big butterfly wings. Well, there's more and they're all around the city and on the side of pretty much every building. It's cliche, but tbh it's also kind of a must do while you're there.

8. Walk around Centennial Park and the Parthenon

This is a really nice place to visit if you're looking to spend a couple of hours away from the concrete of the city, and the Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the one in Greece.

9. Ride one of those little scooters around and explore

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I'm not gonna lie to y'all. I did not ride the scooters. They seem kind of dangerous and I know without a doubt that if I tried to get on one it would not end well for me, the scooter, or anyone within a 3-mile radius. With that being said, though, I did see a lot of people riding them and it looked pretty fun, plus it's a great way to see the city without walking too much. So if you just want to explore, hop on one of these bad boys and pray.

Nashville is a great city full of tons of tourist attractions and amazing musical history, but if you find yourself stuck with nothing to do for a couple of hours before your next walking tour, you're sure to find something on this list that you'll love. So, you're welcome.

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