Traveling While Abroad
Lauren, Spring 2024, Florence
April 11, 2024

Exploring while abroad can evoke a mix of excitement, apprehension, and challenges. Prior to my study abroad experience, I held the misconception that traveling would be inexpensive and effortless. However, I quickly learned that while it becomes more manageable with practice, it never truly becomes effortless. It often involves moments of overwhelm and fatigue, yet the rewards are always profound. Despite the potential for expenses, it’s vital to embrace the opportunity to explore the world. For me, the weekends spent traveling to various cities and countries were the pinnacle of my study abroad adventure.

One invaluable lesson I learned during my study abroad experience is the importance of booking trips as early as possible. It’s a tip I wish someone had shared with me before embarking on my journey. Booking early not only ensures you secure your desired itinerary but also helps save a significant amount of money in the process.

My biggest travel tip for anyone studying abroad is to consider booking your travel weekends through companies like Smart Trip or Bus2Alps. These organizations specialize in making traveling hassle-free, affordable, and stress-free for students. With their pre-planned itineraries, transportation, and accommodations, you can focus on enjoying your adventure without worrying about the logistics. Plus, their group discounts and insider knowledge often lead to unforgettable experiences at unbeatable prices. Trust me, opting for these companies will elevate your travel experiences and leave you wanting to go back.

Among the array of destinations I’ve explored, Switzerland, the Amalfi Coast, Paris, Croatia, and Amsterdam stand out as personal favorites. Each place offers a unique charm and experience. If you are wondering where you should go when abroad, here are a few of my recommendations, insights and tips!


Switzerland, with Smart Trip, has easily become my favorite destination. Switzerland has so much to offer including skiing and snowboarding in the mountains, exploring the beautiful lakes and towns, and enjoying the best chocolate you will ever have! We never lacked things to do while in Switzerland. Smart Trip offers several activities to experience such as sky diving, paragliding, hang gliding, and bungee jumping. On our first night, Smart Trip treated us to a local Swiss restaurant, where we were entertained with a captivating show and served a variety of Swiss specialties. One recommendation I have is to make dinner reservations in advance, as finding a place to eat can be challenging otherwise. For the best burgers and truffle fries, I highly recommend visiting Asllani’s corner. I still dream about this place!


Booking a trip to Amsterdam with my roommates turned out to be a memorable experience, despite waiting until just a month before to book. While it was a bit pricey, Amsterdam’s offerings made it worthwhile. From enchanting canal cruises to exploring diverse museums and indulging in culinary delights, the city had so much to offer. Springtime in Amsterdam was particularly magical, with vibrant tulip fields stealing the show. We also enjoyed renting bikes to explore the city and concluded our adventure with a charming canal cruise, immersing ourselves in the city’s culture and charm. If I could offer one piece of advice for visiting Amsterdam, it would be to book flights well in advance for more affordable prices.

Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast was a trip like no other! I had the opportunity to go there twice! The first time I went we planned the trip ourselves and stayed in an airbnb. Although it was amazing in so many ways, we went in March during the off-season, so everything was closed. And I mean everything! The second time I went, I went with Smart Trip in May. This time everything was open, the weather was warm, and the beaches were beautiful. A few must haves in Sorrento, in particular, is the lemon sorbet, lemon drops, and limoncello. The Path of the Gods is an absolutely breathtaking hike that is definitely worth doing one day!


Embarking on a trip to Paris with my friends was an exciting adventure we organized ourselves. Paris is a destination that is filled with night lights, iconic landmarks, world-class museums, and charming neighborhoods. There are so many experiences to be had in Paris such as the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and of course Disneyland! While most advice suggests staying within one of Paris’s arrondissements, we opted for accommodations outside the city center. Utilizing the metro, we found it convenient and cost-effective to explore the city from our location. I highly recommend experiencing the multitude of cafes around the city, immersing yourself in French culture and cuisine, and delving into its rich history while in Paris. A highlight of our trip was purchasing a 3-day metro pass, which allowed us to easily navigate the city without the need for extensive walking.


My trip to Croatia with Smart Trip was an absolute delight. Despite the lengthy bus journey, the weekend was filled with fun and relaxation. Smart Trip curated a variety of excursions, including canyoning, rafting, zip lining, kayaking, cliff jumping, and ATV tours, though we opted for a leisurely day on Split’s beautiful beaches instead. We did, however, join the all-day party boat excursion, which was a blast and highly recommended. On the return journey, Smart Trip took us to Krka National Park, where we marveled at stunning waterfalls and lush landscapes—a perfect ending to an amazing trip!

Written by: Lauren, Spring 2024 Florence student from the University of Arkansas

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