If you had told me 2 years ago that I would be hopping around Europe, I would have called you mad. But here I am having enjoyed one of the best weeks of my short adult life. For the travel week, a group of friends from my Game Development course and I traveled to Madrid, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal. Here are some travel tips that I hope will help you with your travel week.
Make sure you have all your class work done before traveling
We had an assignment that was due on Sunday. However, we were traveling on Saturday afternoon. We weren’t able to finish it on time so we carried our work with us and spent Saturday night and Sunday morning in Madrid finishing up on our work. Talk about anticlimactic! The week before travel week is usually Midterm week. Try have all your work submitted before traveling and note the deadlines of all your upcoming work so that you stay abreast with your academics.
I need to take classes in packing because I literally cannot take my own advice lol. I traveled with a medium sized duffel bag that was annoying to lug around. In hindsight, I would have taken my rolling carry on bag or even better my backpack. Make sure to triple check the baggage policy of the airlines you will be using. You don’t want to pay an extra $50 because you carried too many bags. In case you are planning to go to Lisbon, I would recommend you take an Uber from the airport to your Airbnb or hostel because Lisbon is insanely hilly. In general, unless you are confident you will be able to navigate the train or metro system from the airport to your residence, I would recommend just taking an Uber so you can settle down faster.
Notify your bank you are traveling
I usually do this as a precaution so that my bank doesn’t freeze my transactions because they think it’s a case of fraud. If you have a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees then you are solid. I have a debit card that has a 3% transaction fee so I opted to withdraw money in chunks to cut down costs. Using cash also made me less inclined to spend frivolously because I could literally see myself becoming broke. If you choose to withdraw cash don’t withdraw a ton of money, just withdraw an adequate amount. If you would rather use your card then that also works. Also, remember the Euro is usually slightly higher than the dollar when factoring in your costs.
Take your time
You will not be able to go all the trip advisor recommended places during your week. I would rather linger in a few good places than rush through a ton of places. I would recommend scheduling 2-3 activities during the day and an activity at night. My friends and I usually skipped breakfast and had had brunch before heading out for sightseeing. We would then rest for about an hour in the evening before going out for dinner and that night’s activity. Be kind to your body. Don’t just go! go! go! Remember to rest. I would also recommend flying in a day or two before classed resume. This gives you the chance to rest and set your mind for classes next week. Plus do laundry 🙂
Soak all of it in. Yes, Flex for the gram. but also just take time to enjoy your friends’ company and the newness of your destination.