One of the many great attributes of studying abroad in Europe is the multitude of options available for a weekend getaway. Whether you prefer to sunbathe along the coast of the Mediterranean or hike to the best look-out point of the city, traveling to a new place can be an easy and affordable excursion to plan.
My record of places I’ve visited outside of Barcelona so far consist of Costa Brava, Munich, Paris, and Cadaqués. What was most notable about my Costa Brava trip was that it was one I planned alone. I was inspired to look into solo-traveling after hearing about a few trips other classmates have taken, but wanted to make sure I took a safe and cost-effective approach. I decided on Costa Brava for the both relaxing and venturesome atmosphere of the region.
It was only about an hour away by bus, and navigating the expedition was relatively easy, even after initially getting off at the wrong stop. I browsed available accommodations on AirBnB for a place to stay and found a single occupancy hotel room which was less than a 10 minute walk from both the city and the beach. My weekend consisted of relaxing in a hidden cove, eating at local restaurants, and exploring the coastal trail.
For those wanting to become more familiar with a language during their time abroad, a solo trip also gives you the opportunity to practice your language skills. Through conversations with different people, whether it was asking for directions, ordering at a restaurant, or just a social conversation, I spoke mostly in Spanish the entire weekend. It was a great way to get practical experience in a different language.
I felt very safe during my experience traveling alone, making sure to employ specific practices to keep me feeling secure. I would advise anyone planning on making a solo trip to always lock their door to their room whenever arriving or leaving. In addition, I kept at least one contact informed of when I was going out and when I returned back to my room so that my location was always known. Sharing your location with this designated person and informing them where you are staying is a great tip as well. For me, this person was my mother. It is important to research about the city you want to visit and what the area will be like around where you are staying as well.
Overall, this experience was a great opportunity to have some time to myself and reflect on my experience abroad so far, as well as setting personal goals for the following two months. At times, it can be hectic being in a new environment, constantly meeting new people, so giving yourself time to explore on your own can help you recharge.
Kailyn is a Fall 2022 student in Barcelona, from University of South Carolina.