If you’re going to study in Europe you may already be planning a list of excursions to some of the continent’s historic and exciting sites. Because your main mission is to study, you might not have time for long vacations and will need to make the most of day and weekend trips. Finding the most efficient ways to travel during both short and long jaunts is essential.
The passenger-train system in Europe will take you almost anywhere on the continent. Whether you want to travel from Paris to Munich or Rome to Venice, a Eurail pass is the most flexible and least costly way to travel on the train. There are several options for purchasing a Eurail pass so it’s best to have a general plan for your excursions to get the best deal. With a Global Pass you can travel through 24 European countries, you can choose a Select Pass if you only plan to cross a few different borders or you can choose a One Country Pass if you’re limiting your excursions to your host country.
Once upon a time only first-class travelers flew point-to-point within Europe but today, a number of basic, no-frills airlines offer affordable flights. Expert traveler Rick Steves suggests finding cheap flights on the Internet at sites like Skyscanner, Dohop and Kayak. The downside of flying cheap is that tickets are usually nontransferable and nonrefundable. If your plans change you’re out the cost of the flight.
Because Europeans and tourists depend heavily on public transportation of all kinds, the standards for bus travel are typically higher than Americans may expect. Euroline reaches 29 different countries and boasts modern, comfortable coaches. Each country has its own bus line which allows you to reach small towns and locations Euroline may not frequent. Bus travel may not have all the romance of train travel, but you do get to enjoy the countryside at a moderate price. One disadvantages of bus travel is that it can be slow when time is limited.
For those times when your destination is too far to walk but too close to buy a ticket you can do as many Europeans do and ride a bike. Long-and short-term bike rentals are available throughout Europe. Some European cities have bike-rental stations available street side where the method for renting is much like renting a locker at an amusement park.
Taxis are available almost everywhere in Europe, and just like in the U.S. they can be expensive. Agree to a price up front and ask if there are any additional fees before getting in the car. If you don’t feel you know enough about the area’s taxi regulations or money conversion opt for a city bus instead.
Since you don’t plan on spending every moment of your time abroad locked safely in a dorm room slathering yourself with hand sanitizer you’ll want to purchase international student insurance before leaving home. Accidents and illnesses can happen anywhere, but you certainly don’t want to use your extra money to pay for healthcare costs instead of visiting those European sites you’ve always dreamed of seeing.