Chaney Scott M.

Vienna, Austria

            Whether solo traveling or with a group, it’s important to be safe while traveling. Prior preparation and budget sites can make a trip much easier.

          After arriving January 2 to the University of Glasgow, I made it a goal to travel as much as possible. Austria, Portugal, Spain, England, Germany are all countries I’ve visited this semester with more upcoming journeys hopefully on the horizon.

            Cell service cannot always be counted upon, so screenshot the map of the subway of the city you are staying in, if there is one…or just visit Glasgow where the subway is a circle! Screenshotting maps in general is always a good idea.

            To cut costs, I’ve utilized several flights scanning apps, including Kiwi, Expedia, Google and Skyscanner. Of everything, Skyscanner has the most options with the best prices. Ryanair and EasyJet are the two cheapest airlines, ideal for students on a budget. EasyJet offers holiday package deals that some of my friends have had great success with.

            I recently went to Lisbon and Porto, Portugal with four other girls. We found cheap flights via EasyJet and used Airbnb for housing. I highly recommend Airbnb if you have a large group because it can come out cheaper than a hostel and is typically nicer. One of the girls in our group was vegan, so we planned meals ahead of time per her dietary restrictions by researching vegan cafés and deciding most meals we would cook at our Airbnb with groceries. Airbnb’s are also nice because you can wash your clothes at some of them. This was quite helpful since I had a small backpack for a long trip.          

            Less people speak English in Portugal than more traditionally tourist places, especially in smaller towns, from my personal experience. I recommend learning a few key phrases before going. I set my lock screen on my phone to a screenshot of my Notes app with some of the following phrases so that I could look down in a glance and ask questions!

  • Ola – Hello
  • Por favor – Please
  • Desculpa/Desculpe – Sorry
  • Obrigada/Obrigado – Thank you.
  • Onde fica a casa de banho? – Where is the bathroom?
  • A conta, por favor. – The bill, please.
  • Quanto custa? – How much is it?
  • Sim – Yes
  • Nao – No
  • Fala ingles- Do you speak English?
  • Desculpe, não falo português. – Sorry, I don’t speak Portuguese.

When traveling solo, avoid telling strangers you are traveling alone. Say you are meeting a group of friends for safety reasons. If staying in a hostel by yourself, find a hostel with curtains on the beds for a little bit more privacy. Packing a copy of your passport in case of an emergency is probably a good idea. Packing a padlock for hostels is always a must. A handy dandy portable charger will be your best friend on long trips.

Traveling is one of life’s greatest joys. I have been incredibly grateful for the experiences and new friends this semester has given me. Go in with an open mind. People may recommend places you would not have previously considered visiting, but suggestions from a local can be some of the best advice. While you study abroad, make the most of your time and see as much of the world as you can!