For us Londoners, the entire European continent is at our fingertips. Amsterdam is a hop skip and a jump away from Gatwick Airport, it’s only a two hour train journey to Paris from King’s Cross Station, and you can end all the way up in Florence even after putting in a full day at the office. All of these options are amazing for study abroad students in the UK who want to jet off somewhere new every weekend.
However, as amazing as travel is, the nitty gritty details of it can be quite stressful at times, so I thought with all of our new students arriving for summer school and the fall term soon, I’d share a few handy tips for travelling around Europe. Hopefully you find them helpful! And don’t worry, I’m only aiming this at incoming students – I already know our spring students are bona fide travel professionals!
- Print your boarding pass in advance
The main difference between budget airlines in Europe like Ryanair, and airlines in California like Southwest, is that budget airlines in Europe are much stricter. One main example is that you must print your boarding pass before you get to the airport. If you forget? You could incur a £50 charge! So always make sure you print your boarding pass beforehand, and if you’re in a foreign country, make sure you can find an internet café where you will be able to print.
- Pack light
European budget airlines are also much stricter with luggage than ones in California or the greater US. You might be used to having a bag in the hold for free, but on budget airlines in Europe, you almost always have to pay for them, so it’s better to only travel with a small backpack and a carry on. Make sure you read the size dimensions that your specific airline allows for baggage, because you don’t want to be hit with any unnecessary fines!
- Upgrade when necessary
Ryanair or EasyJet flights are generally quite sparing with the leg room, so if you’ve got a couple hours on a flight, you might want to put down a couple quid to get a seat you’ll be comfortable in! No one wants to be cramped and stuck in the middle seat with a bunch of other tourists.
- Pack snacks!
Whereas most American airlines will chuck you a bag of peanuts or pretzels on even the shortest of flights, nothing is free on budget airlines! Buying a bag of crisps on a Ryanair flight might put you back 5 quid, so definitely pack some snacks in your rucksack. You don’t want to end up starving on a plane or doling out all your carefully saved travel money on expensive airplane food!
- Remember to book onward travel
You might think you’ve got everything planned with your boarding pass in hand and hostel booked, but don’t forget to book onward travel! By onward travel, I mean figuring out how to get to and from the airport at both your departure and arrival destinations. For instance, if you book a cheap flight to Barcelona but you’re flying into an airport far away from the city centre, you might end up paying a ton for a cab. Look into buses, public transport, and trains as well – sometimes it’s worth it to fly into the main airport and cut down on travel time than spend a day simply trying to get from the airport to your destination!
Hopefully you found these tips helpful! Do you have any other tips to add to the list? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy your travels!