When my best friend and I were creating our respective study abroad plans for Fall ’22, we joked about going early. I would always say we should just head to Europe immediately, although I knew that wasn’t possible. We were just so excited to study abroad. After joking about it a few dozen times, we began to consider the possibility. After some preliminary research, it actually seemed possible. We began planning in late May for a trip in late August, right before our respective classes began. Here’s how we did it:
First, we had to select destinations. Have you ever stopped to think about how many possible locations in Europe you could fit in an 8 day trip? I have. I promise you we considered every single option. We wanted to see everything, but with finite time, we had to narrow it down. When deciding on our locations we considered the following:
How much of our time do we want to spend traveling?
We decided to minimize our time traveling in order to maximize the number of locations we could visit. We found this was not at all difficult because of the relatively short distances between intriguing cities and countries.
How many locations can we see in this time frame? Which locations? How will we travel?
Because of the above, we decided three locations would be best. We chose Budapest, Vienna, and Prague because travel between these locations is inexpensive and quick. Additionally, we had large pieces of luggage and didn’t want to get stuck with outrageous fees! The train prices vary, much like flights, but were less than $30 each. Budapest to Vienna only took two and half hours, and Vienna to Prague was a little longer at roughly 4 hours. Looking back, this was definitely the best decision! They were comfortable and so easy! Much better than constantly trying to get to the airport.
How much money do we need to save for this?
Hotels ended up being around $40 / person/ night (that’s right… HOTELS!) through great deals we got. We ended up spending $40-50 per day (but significantly less in Budapest).
How are we going to book accommodation and travel?
Accomodation Priceline is fantastic. Nothing else was nearly as transparent and easy to use. I cannot recommend it enough, and we got great deals.
Trains Trainline is fantastic for booking train tickets, and is very easy to understand.
Planes Google Flights was great. I advise booking directly on the airlines’ website
What are we going to do?
To be honest, we kind of left this for last, but I don’t regret it. We did some googling and read some articles. Since we weren’t in any one place for very long, it wasn’t an issue. We knew enough going in that we didn’t miss any highlights we really wanted to see
What are we forgetting about?
Jetlag. Jetlag Jetlag JETLAG! Thankfully, we accidentally built in a day to rest when we first arrived.
Currency. Czechia and Hungary are both EU member states, but still use other currencies. The euro is also currently about equal to the dollar, so overall we ended up spending less than expected! Definitely worked out in our favor.
It ended up being the experience of a lifetime. I wanted to share my process with you so that you might be able to do something like it. I simply cannot recommend it enough! My time in Rome after this trip has only increased my desire to travel exponentially.
Rome2Rio – get a basic idea of how to get anywhere
Priceline – book accomodation cheaply, all fees listed upfront
Trainline – book train tickets in any country. Compare prices and times
Google Flights – find the best deal for your flight, or find the cheapest destination for a set time
SkyScanner – find the cheapest destination for a set time