Hayley is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Communication and Media major at Merrimack College, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.
In this week's post, Hayley lists 5 essential tips for a great weekend travel experience and shares where she's visited so far on her study abroad in Florence.
One of my favorite parts about studying abroad is traveling, and it’s safe to say that I’ve already done a lot of it in the short time I’ve been in Florence. The best thing about living in Europe is the proximity between countries, making weekend travel extremely easy!
All across Europe, there is a variety of languages and cultures, and what better way to spend your time abroad than to get the full European experience! Traveling can sometimes be considered stressful… But don’t stress! Here are some tips that I’ve put together to help you get the most out of your weekend travel experience.
1. Try to learn the language
Before you travel out of Italy, look up some of the essential phrases of the country you’re visiting such as greetings and thank-yous. You’ll be surprised at how much the locals will appreciate you trying to speak the language!
2. Travel with programs based out of Florence
Travel agencies such as EuroAdventures, Bus2Alps, Florence for Fun, and Smart Trip are great resources for your weekend travel. Booking through these agencies will help eliminate the stress of planning the activities on your trip, because they will plan them for you! This is also a great way to meet new people living in Florence and make new friends. These agencies also have great deals for students!
3. Talk to people
There is no better way to meet the locals and other travelers than striking up a conversation! You’re bound to meet some interesting people who may just become lifelong friends.
4. Put your phone on airplane mode
Forget 4G or WiFi. Traveling out of your host country often means that your local carrier will not work. International rates can be extremely high, so I suggest putting your phone on airplane mode for a large majority of your trip. However, being WiFi and data deprived can actually be refreshing while traveling. Trust me, you’ll enjoy your time much more by not being distracted by social media.
5. Do as the locals do
Be observant. See where the locals like to eat and hangout. This will help you meet more of the locals and not look like a typical tourist. Also, know and use proper etiquette. Before you take your trip educate yourself on how to use proper etiquette when doing such things as eating, tipping, and appearance. If you can’t find the answers online, don’t be afraid to ask a local!
Blue Lagoon, Croatia
So far this semester, I have traveled to the Amalfi Coast, Croatia, and Germany. During these weekends I’ve made so many memories I will never forget and have met so many interesting people. In my opinion, traveling during your semester abroad is one of the best ways to spend your time on the weekends.
But, I do recommend staying in Florence and exploring as much of the city as possible. Being able to travel and explore Europe may be a once in a lifetime opportunity. So buy a ticket, catch a flight, and safe travels!
Hayley's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned.