Category Archives: Recommendations

5 Reasons Why Halloween in Dublin Should Be On Your Bucket List

By Molly Dunn

In the spirit of creepy masks, candy corn and pumpkins, Halloween has developed into one of America’s favorite holidays.  Maybe it’s the sea of sugar skulls, and all of the Disney Channel references to Dia de los Muertos that we grew up with, but, we all seem convinced that Halloween began just across the United States border in Mexico.

I have something really spooky to tell you, something shocking, and even maybe a bit terrifying…the real origin lies in a place where not a soul would think to look…Ireland. We all know that the Irish like to party, and we dress up in green every St. Patty’s day to celebrate with the charmingly accented crew, but who knew they also founded Halloween! 

What started as the pagan festival of Samhain, Halloween as know it now, was a Celtic festival of fire meant to ward off evil spirits as summer changed into winter. In time, October 31st developed from the festival of Samhain, to ‘All Hallows Eve’, to Halloween.

So, now that we all know that Halloween originated in Ireland, it’s becoming clear why going to Ireland for Halloween weekend is a must. There are tons of festivals, parties and celebrations on this spooky day. Who could imagine a better place to be than the country’s capital on the spookiest day of the year? Here is a list of 5 things to do in Dublin, this Halloween.

  1. Monsters! Season at Light House Cinema. This year the Bram Stoker Festival has partnered with Light house Cinema, located just across from The Generator Hostel, in Smithfield square, to offer a series of showings of horror classics. Offering €6.50 matinees and €8.00 nighttime showings. Celebrate the monsters of the 30s by means of watching The Mummy, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein, and of course, Dracula. Get your tickets in advance here

  1. Bleedin’ Deadly Referred to as ‘Ireland’s freakiest Halloween Event’, experience what is left of the dying street performing art that was once Freak shows. With two shows per night, one at 6:45pm followed by a 9:45pm showing, don’t miss the madness! Buy your tickets online at for €25. For the post show hit up the pub Church for two for one drinks!

  1. Nightmare Plants For €10 visit Dublin’s Botanical Gardens for an ‘immersive performance, told by an ensemble of actors’. Each show is about 30 minutes and brings you face to face with mother natures deadliest creations.  Check out all the details here.

  1. Werewolves Participate in this high energy, high stakes parlor game, any evening of Halloweekend. The concept of this game is simple. There are werewolves among you, a villager was stolen away by them. Now the villagers meet to discuss their strategy, electing a leader. You must be careful as there are werewolves among you, waiting to out number the scared humans. The werewolves aim to subsume the village and it’s survival of the fittest for the villagers. Admission is free but you must get a ticket to participate. Play Friday night at Generator Hostel starting at 7:30pm. Arrive early, grab a drink and get ready to play! Book your tickets here.

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  1. Stokerland Visit this ‘pop-up Victorian fun park’ on Saturday or Sunday, for a ‘gothic gathering of fun and cames’ in St. Patricks Park. Admission is free, get dressed up and feel like a kid again at this family friendly halloween event! Halloween in Dublin should be on everyone’s bucket list, and you have the chance to cross it off early! Visit bramstokerfestival.com to find out more information and events for this Halloween! Whether you attend this ghoulish festival, or parade around Dublin’s incredibly fun Pubs, you can’t go wrong spending Halloween in it’s birthplace, Dublin.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, here’s another reason!  Bus2alps just dropped the Ireland Coast 2 Coast trip to €135 for Halloween weekend…. I can’t think of a better time to go!  

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To Fall Break or Not to Fall Break

To fall break or not to fall break? That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer, planning a ten day trip alone, or to take arms against a sea of planning troubles, and by opposing, end them.

This excerpt from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, truly raises a question of deep thought. Leaves are falling, sweaters and booties are creeping their way to the front of your growing European wardrobe, and you can finally start wearing that jacket you impulsively bought your first week abroad. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’re a few weeks away from a fall break, aka the peak of your travels this semester. You have ten days to fill, so what are you going to do?

Picture yourself at your computer as that question lingers in the air above you. You search the internet in a wild terror, knowing at any moment, your wifi can crap out and you’ll be lost in a disconnected limbo. You google flights and hostels, trains, buses and more as you sit there with your hands on your face in frustrated defeat. Who knew trip planning could be so hard? This is the point when you send your Mom a text, commending her for so seamlessly executing those family trips to Disney World. Seriously! How did she pack for the whole family, remember your little brother’s baby formula, keep up with work emails, all while mastering the perfect blow-out? As you sit at the computer, twirling the hair you haven’t washed in days, you don’t know if you can pull it off. You’re about to give up but then your computer starts glowing blue, you see Bus2alps flash upon the screen. And begin to explore all the fall break opportunities waiting for you.

First on the list you see the words  “Northern Loop”, a trip that covers Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Paris. You begin to picture yourself running your fingers along the John Lennon Wall in Prague. Sipping wine under the Eiffel tower, as your silk scarf blows in the  Parisian wind. You visualize, your minds version of the Berlin Wall and Amsterdam’s Red Light District, and wonder if they’re as you picture it. Then you do something we all do and, see if you can save money by planning it on your own. The Northern Loop costs 660. That’s 66 a day to stay, explore and shuttle between four of Europe’s coolest cities. You stop doing your research when you realize a train from Prague to Berlin would cost you over  90 alone.

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Just when you think you’re hooked you see,  “Western Loop”. This trip replaces Prague for Barcelona. No longer hindered by the complications of planning your own travels, you struggle to decide between Gaudi and Lennon. You know Barcelona’s nightlife is unparalleled, that the Sagrada Familia is over 200 years in the making, and you wonder, what to do.

You think you have it figured out,  you know where you want to spend your fall break and you’re happy with your decision. But then you see Greece Island Hopping flash across your screen, and you’re back to decision making square one. Athens, Corfu, Santorini and more, your head spins as you imagine the Instagram’s you could snag in Greece’s most beautiful places.

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Ugh now you’re totally confused, and to make matters worse, just as your new copy of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child falls to the floor, you stumble upon the UK Celtic Loop. Ireland, Scotland, and England all wave happily from behind the screen. You picture yourself clinking glasses in a Scottish pub, bursting through the wall at Platform 9 ¾ and, admiring on the epic Cliffs of Moher.

So where you  going. North, West, East or Greece? Oh yea, did scroll down? There’s also the Best of Italy trip. Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan, with a little stop-over in the city of love Verona. The history of this trip is enough to really push you over the decision making edge. Feel Shakespeare’s influence in Florence, and visit the birthplace of Romeo and Juliet in Verona.
The possibilities are endless, the stress is minimal and the good times to be had are plenty. No matter what you choose, Bus2alps will be there with you every step of the way to make this fall break the most epic move of your life. Bon voyage!

A Message For Vegetarians Abroad

By: Molly Dunn

You’re about to start your semester abroad, and you’ve finally gotten everything figured out. You’ve picked your city, you’ve chosen between a homestay and an apartment, and you’ve packed your bags. Nothing can go wrong! Oh wait… there’s just this one little issue… You’re a vegetarian and have no idea what you’re going to do about eating. Whether you’re gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or just really picky, studying abroad can open up a pandora’s box of problems if you don’t prepare. I’ve been a vegetarian for two years and a pescetarian for one, going abroad definitely has its challenges. Here are some ways to survive abroad as an herbivore:  

  1. Tell your host.

    A lot of schools will ask you to fill out a questionnaire based on your dietary preferences before arriving abroad. This is intended to help prevent that awkward “oh I don’t eat that” exchange on your first night at the dinner table. Sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way. When I arrived abroad my host mom had no idea that I was a vegetarian and quickly scrambled to make enough for me to eat on my first night. Somehow the information from the questionnaire I filled out months prior, never made it to my host mom. After that, she was extremely accommodating to my dietary preferences.
  1. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions.

    My host mom had no idea what to do with a vegetarian. I studied in Spain where Jamón is the ultimate king. One day we sat down together and discussed all of the possible proteins I liked eat. Lentils, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, etc. My host mom was very interested in learning new recipes, I even taught her how to make guacamole. Tofu and tomate frito became my favorite meal and was easy for my host mom to make alongside the carnivorous family meal. You’ll be there for 4 months, don’t be scared to tell your host what you do and do not like. This will save you a lot of painful meals. My first night abroad, we were served octopus that had been put in a microwave. Yeah, she never made that one again.
  1. Be open to trying something new.

    Before I studied in Spain, I had absolutely zero interest in eating fish. I became a vegetarian for health reasons, and I was just really never interested in eating my ocean friends. One day my host mom made an elaborate meal of cod and potatoes. She offered it to me, and I couldn’t say no. Ever since then, I have been a pescetarian. That being said, it’s okay if you are adamant about not eating certain things. I’m going to have to pass on that canned tuna.
  1. Watch your protein intake and take your vitamins.

    Traveling is the perfect time to lose track of your nutritional intake. Those of us who don’t eat meat are prone to iron and protein deficiencies. Protect yourself and make sure you’re taking B12 and Iron, you can find these vitamins at pharmacies all over the world. Coming from someone who has almost been hospitalized for low iron, take your vitamins, you’ll thank me later! For protein make sure you’re eating plenty of eggs and beans daily. Cheese alone does not provide sufficient protein. Carbs rule in countries like Spain and Italy so make sure you’re not getting lost in the sauce.
  1. Bring your favorites with you.

    When I studied abroad I packed tons of peanut butter and protein bars. These staples really helped me stay on track while I was traveling the weekends without my host mom’s maternal eye making sure I was getting the nutrition I needed. My actual mom ended up mailing me my favorite chocolate protein powder from back in the States, just to be sure I was getting all the nutrition I needed.
  1. Do your research.

    Google vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the area of your study abroad city and all of the cities you plan to visit. Websites like Trip Advisor provide tons of info for cities as small as mine, Salamanca. Star them on your google map and see which ones are near where you.  Many of these places have tons of options for every eater. Sometimes it might take a little begging, but your friends will be glad they tried something new, and you’ll be excited to order something other than pasta.

9 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Went Abroad

By Allie Filmanowicz

1. Do not over pack.

It will be easy to fall into the “well, what if I need this?” mentality, causing you to be tempted to pack everything you own! Don’t go down that path. Instead, stick to the essentials. If it ends up you forgot something dire, you will be able to pick it up when you arrive. You don’t want to end up over packing and only wearing your favorite pair of black jeans every day anyway!

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2. Take a few minutes every day to write in a journal or in a note on your phone.

You know the saying “time flies when you’re having fun?” That could not be truer than during your time abroad! Before you know it, a month will have gone by, and if you don’t take the time to jot down a couple things a night, you might end up forgetting about some of the wonderful things you saw or experienced.

3. Take the time to meet and bond with your study abroad group right away. 

These are the people you will be spending a majority of your time exploring and getting to know your new home with. Dive into making friendships right away and don’t worry about being awkward! Everyone will be a little apprehensive about being so far from home that any friendliness will be welcomed with open arms.

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4. Keep a list of every restaurant you go to.

Everyone has had that experience of racking your brain for your favorite restaurant in a city you spent time visiting, thinking “oh… it was kind of Italian and was next to that really cool bar.” You never know when you will be visiting these cities again, or when you will have the opportunity to sound like the most knowledgeable world traveler to people who ask for suggestions on where to go. Keeping a list will not only be a great keepsake for you, but also an easy reference for friends or yourself when you return to that city.

5. Tell your bank everywhere you are going.

Banks are always watching your back to make sure your money isn’t getting stolen (thanks for having our backs, banks!) In efforts to do this, if they see charges that seem unusual (cue your trip to Amsterdam, then London, then back to Barcelona)… that will get flagged as suspicious behavior! To avoid having them freeze your card, leaving you stranded with no money, keep them updated on where you will be!

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6. Bring back souvenirs from the city you are living in.

A lot of people worry about getting souvenirs from all the places they visit and completely space on bringing home keepsakes from the city they actually lived in. The city you call home for your time abroad will be the most near and dear to your heart, so make sure you bring home a coaster from your favorite bar, or a t-shirt from the souvenir shop you always passed on the way to class. Those things will mean the most when you get back and are going through abroad withdrawals.

7. Make a plan of which places you want to see and book those trips early. 

It’s super easy to assume you are going to be able to see everything, and you absolutely can, but planning is key! If you plan out everywhere you want to see and book the trips right away, you are committing to doing it! Also, don’t be afraid to book a trip through a travel company alone if there is a place you really want to see. Even if your friends don’t want to join you, it’s a great way to meet new people and get the most out of your abroad experience.

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8. Bring an extra duffel for the things you accumulated while abroad. 

You will absolutely be buying things you forgot, didn’t know you needed, or just want while you are abroad. To avoid the extra cost of buying a bag while you are there, pack an extra duffel bag that you can fill with all the goodies you pick up during your time abroad.

9. This experience will be life changing.

Going abroad will, without a doubt, be a life changing experience. You will make friends from around the world, see places some only ever dream of, try exotic foods, and experience every emotion imaginable. Remember to soak in every moment and make the most of it! Also don’t worry about America and everything you miss about it… it will be right where you left it when you get back. 

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Hidden Treasures of the Eternal City

By Scott Heptonstall

So you’ve made it! You’ve arrived in Roma with only minor incidents occurring on your travels and may have (probably) already bumped into multiple beautiful Italian men or lady friends who will no doubt be the perfect specimens of the human form. That will happen a lot now that you are here.

Aside from these perfect humans, the Eternal City has endless other treasures to offer. Like an ambitious shepherd, I want to lead you away from the rest of the sheep and towards all of these undiscovered gems. So turn your sense of adventure up to 11 and pack a picnic because there is a whole city out there to discover…

Alrighty roo!

  1. Ponte Sisto

This bad-boy-bridge is about to get a lot more famous when the next James Bond movie hits the box offices; it’s going to be the bit where JB parachutes onto the bridge (JB stands for James Bond, not Jack Black, but I haven’t seen the movie yet so cannot be 100% sure). But this bridge is my favourite in Rome and possibly in the world. It’s always filled with musicians and street artists and leads onto Piazza Trilussa in which everyone hangs out with a supermarket beverage of choice and just chats. The vibe changes depending on the time and on the day but can range from the chill afternoon jazz vibes of that bloke with the red Fender stratocaster to a small Asian magician who comes along every odd day and does the same tricks but always dazzles. Oh and ‘dem views ‘doe. #isweardownnofilter

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  1. The River Bars

Still connected to the Ponte Sisto (you can see them in the above picture) are the summer river bars. Only there for a few months of the year, they are mostly riverside representatives of bars within the city. Yes, it is cheaper to go to the bars in town and if you are going down that route then head for Conad for brewskis. But this is an experience beyond beer. Italians are known for their social nature; they will chat with anyone. In fact, they will argue with anyone as well. They love a good argument but always in good humor, so if you are looking for the best place to indulge in that contest then head down over here. Oh and eh … good luck.

  1. The view point at Gianicolo Hill

Alright, so you can climb the Vittoriano and see some stuff and there are some pretty cool views from the tall buildings in the centre of Rome. But for the most part, you can’t actually see the cool stuff because, well, you’re standing on it. So move your fine ass selves up to the top of the hill behind Trastevere. You can see all of Rome from up there and if you are there at sunrise / sunset, well your body clock is all off and you are nowhere near anything, but you will get THE best view of the city without a doubt. Check shirts and Nike shoes optional.

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  1. Giolitti

While this is in no way a hidden gem for Romans, you haven’t heard about it so I need to tell you about it. It’s the best gelateria in Rome. There, I’ve said it. It is also the oldest one and to describe it properly, I would use some sort of clouds in solid form analogy which is then laced with such flavour that it is almost insulting that my taste buds haven’t ventured this far before. Imagine that fruit and happiness had a baby and they decided to raise it in your mouth—that’s what you get.

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  1. That bar opposite Bir & Fud in Trastevere

So it doesn’t actually have a name (like all good places) and Bir & Fud is great for Beer & Food despite their clear lack of comprehension of the English language. But if you are looking for good craft beers then this is going to tickle your fancy like nothing else. I’m talking a spread of blond to red and constantly changing local beers. What’s more, these guys know what they are talking about and can help you out with what you want. If you are going for a night out on the town with tequila shots and loose morals then this is what you want to visit the day after. It’s cosy and non judgmental. It’s a safe haven for beer fans and hungover-ites.

  1. The Abbey

I know, I know, it’s an Irish bar. And I would normally avoid Irish bars like the plague in any European city because it would be filled to the brim with sleazy expats and broken dreams. But this place has a charm about it. There are as many Italian as there are English speakers and the real reason everyone goes is the staff. They are all heroes in disguise. They will look after you and you can make the best of friends here. It honestly feels like a local pub despite the amount of people that are in there. While you are not going for the Italian experience, you are going for a great time with a lot of lovely locals.

  1. The ancient art of aperitivo

This isn’t just a Roman thing but it is present throughout Italy. In layman’s terms, you buy one drink and get an unlimited amount of buffet food. I don’t get exactly how it works in terms of profit but take advantage of this while they haven’t caught on. I can recommend you hundreds of them in Rome—Freni e Frizioni, Fluid, T-bar, but honestly most bars around the city will do aperitivo for those who are worthy.

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  1. Bus2alps

I know I am biased but we do live here and we know about all the best events in the city probably well before you do. Whether it’s turning the Colosseum green for St Patrick’s Day or getting involved in a trip to a Roma game / concert, it’s our job to help you make the most out of your time abroad. So just let us know when you need the experts 😉

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This post originally appeared on Go Global Blog