My first few weeks that I spent studying abroad I was very focused on planning my weekend and day trips. My friends and I were so excited to hit the ground running with our travel plans, and so we began! We also had a pretty steep learning curve along the way-usually learning these tips the hard way. Travel of course has many opportunities for error, some in your control and many out of your control. My goal is to share some of the mistakes I made, as well as some things I wish I knew to consider!

  1. Double triple and quadruple check times and dates when booking tickets.
    • When buying tickets for transportation, hotels, museums, make sure you are booking for the right time and days. I liked to get a roommate or friend to double check my work (especially when making reservations for a group). 
    • Make sure you know the refund options available in case you need to cancel.
    • If it's a more pricey ticket, probably worth the extra few dollars to get refundable options. Better safe than sorry. 
  2.   Remember that hours are most likely 0-24 when making reservations or bookings.  
    • A train ticket for 0:30 vs 12:30 will be the difference in missing a Monday class or just having a late night returning home.
  3.   Make sure you are booking train/bus tickets at the right station. (Or airport if flying). 
    • One time my friends and I assumed we were leaving out of the main train station in Florence, only to find out our train ticket was for another station. We missed our train and had to rebuy the tickets. 
  4. Map distance from train/bus station you're arriving at to your final destination
    • You will most likely be walking so make sure it's doable.
    • Check major intersections/highways you'll have to cross. 
  5. Research transportation apps/numbers
    • Have taxi numbers on standby for whatever city you are in
      • Remember that on many Islands, cars are sparse and it may not be easy to taxi without pre-scheduling it
    • Know if you need to buy bus/train tickets at a station or if you can do it online
  6. Don't forget to validate your bus tickets
    • You may face hefty fines if you forget to validate your transportation tickets!
  7. Last but certainly not least: Don't forget that public transportation is not always reliable- build in time for delays if it is time sensitive travel

A beach on the Island of Elba- my favorite weekend trip!