Category Archives: Travel

Enhancing Your Study Abroad Experience

By: Victoria Driver

Crazy, fast, overwhelming are probably all words you will use to describe the first few weeks in the new city you call home when you choose to study abroad, but it is worth every second of the madness. You probably weren’t sure what to expect when coming to a new country with a new language and culture. I experienced this culture shock myself, but within a month, I’ve already begun to learn the “ins and outs” of surviving abroad and have organized my tips and tricks down to the essentials

Hydration is key With so much going on around you, it’s easy to forget about what your body needs to stay healthy. In most of Europe, water at restaurants and eateries comes at an extra price.  If you aren’t a fan of tap water, buy a large bottle of water from your local grocery store and make sure you stay hydrated. Your mood will improve, and your body will thank you.drink-water-stay-hydrated-abroad-student-travel-tips

We can all use a bit of beauty sleep Europe has a bustling nightlife for Study Abroad students. If you go out too often and begin functioning on limited amounts of sleep you will run the risk of getting sick. The key to fueling your love for nightlife and being at your best to explore Europe is to find balance. Planning is key to every aspect of life abroad, so try to map out the nights you spend out on the town by planning your week and nightlife events beforehand. This way, you will be sure to elevate your social experience.

how to stay well rested abroad, getting enough sleep when traveling, study abroad tips, student travel health

Exercise is good for the soul Homesickness and culture shock are two of the most common reasons that students struggle with their Study Abroad experience. Therefore, try exercising at least once a week to produce natural endorphins. Join the local gym (If you’re also studying abroad in Florence, the Swan Gymnastic Center is great). You can also jog around your city – there is so much to see in your city and only so much time to see it – you may even start to enjoy your weekly exercises just for the sights.

how to stay healthy when abroad, exercise when traveling, student travel tips

With just these few simple tips and reminders, you can enhance your time in your host city and your study abroad experience!

The 5 Best Restaurants in Rome Center

By: Peter Gerolamo

Rome has an endless supply of bars, restaurants, and cafes to choose from. From quick stop-and-go cafes to formal dining, you can find basically everything under the sun in the Eternal City. As a student living in Prati, I did most of my shopping and eating near my residence. As a college graduate working in Rome, I’m fortunate enough to live right by Ponte Sisto. Here is a list of my 5 go-to food establishments within reasonable walking distance from Ponte Sisto.

  • Baffetto: A pizzeria with two locations, one near Abbey Theatre and one in Campo, Baffetto is my go to take-away pizza. It is different than normal Italian pizza in that the crust is much thinner. An entire margherita is only 6 euro and you wait no more than 5 minutes for it to be to eat in rome, restaurant recommendations in ponte sisto area in rome, restaurants for study abroad students, travel food tips
  • Dar Poeta: My favorite sit-down pizzeria, Dar Poeta is located right behind Piazza Trilussa in Trastevere. My two favorites to order here are the linguna de foco (spicy salami) and the Superformaggi. Dar Poeta is a usually crowded at nights, and there is a reason for that. You’ll see why once you’ve tried it out for to eat in rome, restaurant recommendations in ponte sisto area in rome, restaurants for study abroad students, travel food tips
  • Il Duca: Located right next to the popular abroad student trattoria “Tonys”, Il Duca is where I had my final meal as an abroad student. They have a wide array of pasta dishes to choose from and I highly recommend getting the fried veggies as an appetizer. Overall, Il Duca provides a great atmosphere to dine with a larger group. food to eat in rome, restaurant recommendations in ponte sisto area in rome, restaurants for study abroad students, travel food tips
  • Fast Food Eat Street Food: When I am looking for something that reminds me of food back in the States, I get the Esquilino burger from “Eat”. With cheddar and bacon, the burgers at Eat are delicious and normally between 5 and 6 euro. The French fries are a nice compliment to any to eat in rome, restaurant recommendations in ponte sisto area in rome, restaurants for study abroad students, travel food tips
  • Giolitti: A gem in terms of Gelato shops, Giolitti is located near the Pantheon. I recommend all the flavors, however my go-to flavors are banana and nutella. Giolitti is a great place to go after dinner to enjoy amazing gelato while walking to eat in rome, restaurant recommendations in ponte sisto area in rome, restaurants for study abroad students, travel food tips

8 Ways to Eat Potatoes in 8 European Countries

By: Austin Davis

It was my first trip to Conad living in Italy. (Newbie mistake number one – I didn’t even bring my own bag). I wandered into the vegetable section and scanned the colorful bins in search of the one food I ate on a daily basis back in the States: sweet potatoes. Not a single orange potato was found amongst the rows of various varieties of white ones. In a panic, I ran to Carrefour… Still nothing. I found a few at a small vegetable stand a few weeks later, but in the meantime, I made peace with the fact that I would have to settle for the sweet potato’s bland relative, the potato. Since my grocery store panic, I’m beginning to understand why the potato is such a staple in Europe. In my travels, I’ve encountered tons of unique uses for the fiber-packed wonder food. If you’re a picky eater, chances are you can find a potato dish in any city you visit that you will enjoy. Here are 7 ways to eat potatoes in 7 of Europe’s most popular cities!

  1. Brussels: French Fries

Contrary to popular belief, French fries are neither French nor American. The original and tastiest fries can be found in the beautiful country of Belgium! Served in a paper cone and slathered with the sauce of your choice, fries make a great snack at any point of the day or night. Try them with mayo instead of ketchup for a more authentic experience!

 food recommendations, europe, best potato dishes in Amsterdam, Paris, Interlaken, Florence, Barcelona, Brussels, Krakow, London

  1. Amsterdam: Stamppot

Stamppot is a traditional Dutch meal consisting of mashed potatoes, kale, and sausage. You can find it at traditional dutch restaurants like Moeder’s, or pre-made at the Albert Heijn to grab and go.

best potato dishes in europe, recommendations for potato dishes in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Krakow, Interlaken, Florence, Barcelona

  1. Florence: Potato Gnocchi

So maybe Italy isn’t known for potatoes, but make no mistake, you can find them here too! The best way to enjoy potatoes in Italy is baked inside another Italian delicacy: pasta. Potato gnocchi is heavenly, particularly when drowned in cheese. You can find some delicious cheesy potato gnocchi at Osteria Gatto e la Volpe in Via Ghibellina

 food recommendations, europe, best potato dishes in Amsterdam, Paris, Interlaken, Florence, Barcelona, Brussels, Krakow, London

  1. Barcelona: Patatas Bravas

You can’t go to Barcelona without eating tapas, and no tapas meal is complete without a plate of patatas bravas. These roasted potatoes are covered with mayonnaise or aioli and a smoky hot tomato sauce. Try them at any tapas bar in Barcelona, you can’t go wrong.

 food recommendations, europe, best potato dishes in Amsterdam, Paris, Interlaken, Florence, Barcelona, Brussels, Krakow, London

  1. Interlaken: Potato Rösti

Every time I order rösti, I tell myself there is no way I can possibly finish it. Twenty minutes later, there I am again, staring at an empty plate within my ski pants had an elastic waistband. I never fail to instantly forget that regret and do it again the next day because it’s that good (it’s worth the calories every time). During a long day on the mountain, a mound of hash browns with cheese and meat just feels – and tastes – so right.

 food recommendations, europe, best potato dishes in Amsterdam, Paris, Interlaken, Florence, Barcelona, Brussels, Krakow, London

  1. Krakow: Perogies

Perogies are like dumplings, except they’re commonly filled with potato and pan fried. Sign me up.

 food recommendations, europe, best potato dishes in Amsterdam, Paris, Interlaken, Florence, Barcelona, Brussels, Krakow, London

  1. Crisps

Not only do the British drive on the opposite side of the road – they also like to confuse us with the naming of their potato dishes. In Britain, potato “chips” are called crisps. In Britain, to order french fries, you’ll really be asking for chips (a little weird to get used to, right?). Remember that the next time you order a plate of fish and chips.

 food recommendations, europe, best potato dishes in Amsterdam, Paris, Interlaken, Florence, Barcelona, Brussels, Krakow, London

  1. Paris: Whipped and Mashed

No one knows how to cook with cream and butter quite like the French. Which helps to explain why the mashed potatoes that come out of Parisian kitchens are some of the lightest, silkiest, and richest you’ll find.

 food recommendations, europe, best potato dishes in Amsterdam, Paris, Interlaken, Florence, Barcelona, Brussels, Krakow, London

The next time you are wandering around a new city, unsure of what to eat and struggling with all the choices, remember that your friend “the potato” will have your back no matter what part of Europe you’re exploring.


How to Get Ready for a Music Festival Abroad

For all the music lovers and festival enthusiasts studying abroad this semester, the time has finally come to forget your inhibitions and immerse yourselves in the good vibes of Barcelona’s Abroadfest. Whether this is your first experience with a music festival or whether you’re a pro at this kind of stuff back in the States, you’ll want to check out this list of tips for attending a festival abroad:

  1. Know the Line Up: The key component to a music festival is, of course, the music. Abroadfest will be held in  Razzmatazz and Shôko, so make sure you’re ahead of the game and know where to be at what times by looking up the Abroadfest Line Up now. In order to ensure that you are up front for your favorite bands, plan out your strategy ahead of time and know which stages you want to post up at and which times you’ll need to be there. While you’re checking out the lineup, if you find some bands you haven’t heard of, take the time to make a dope playlist and learn some new music. You’ll be glad you did when you get to experience these bands live.cell phones at music festivals, external battery, portable charger, iphone, android, cell phones abroad, music festival tips, abroadfest, europe
  2. Bring the Right Equipment: The last thing you want is to be at a music festival without the essentials. The second to last thing you want is to be overwhelmed with stuff while you’re trying to rage to your favorite bands. The happy-medium here is to bring the essentials and pack lightly. Make sure you are packing everything in a secure, light bag; a bag that zips is preferable for security reasons – fanny packs are your friends. My recommendations for must-have items are: an external battery for your phone, an extra protein bar for energy, a hard copy of notes you’ve made regarding which stages to be at which times in case your phone does die, whatever form of money you decide is best for you (make sure you check out our safety tips blog post when planning this out), and a water bottle. Anything else is just extra – except good vibes, of course.
  3. Stay Hydrated and Nourished: As mentioned above, I always recommend bringing a protein bar and water bottle. Some festivals restrict liquids and foods being brought in, so make sure you keep this in mind. Staying hydrated is key, especially when surrounded by hundreds of people jumping around in a tightly-packed setting. You’re going to sweat – a lot. Your body will thank you for focusing on getting enough water in your system.drinking water at music festivals, stay hydrated at abroadfest, study abroad tips, barcelona, abroadfest
  4. Prioritize Safety: Safety abroad is always a priority, and this becomes even more important at a music festival. For a full list of ways to protect yourself (and your bank account), check out our blog on How to Stay Safe While Abroad.
  5. Live in the Moment: The best part of a music festival is the positive and contagious vibes. Focusing on living in the moment while abroad is always something I’ve found to be important, but this is even more of a necessity at a music festival. You’re surrounded by great music, creative visuals, and interesting people. Focus less on capturing the perfect Snapchat Mystory and more on engraving every detail you can into your memory. Send out good vibes and you’ll find that even more come your way. Soak in every moment, because you’ll never encounter as much kindness as you will at a music festival.

abroadfest in barcelona, study abroad tips for music festivals, razzmatazz, shoko, music festivals, student tips

10 Ways to Stay Safe While Studying Abroad

You’ve been lectured, re-lectured, then lectured again for good measure endlessly by parents, professors, and loved ones about safety while abroad, but how much does this wisdom really sink in when your thoughts stray to all the fun you have to look forward to? But take it from someone who has witnessed at least some of the things mentioned below first-hand – it’s better to be a little over-prepared and cautious than to wind up in a scary or inconvenient situation. Take a minute to read some tips the team at Bus2alps have put together from experience, and learn from our stories and advice rather than your own misfortune.

  1. Know Your Emergency Numbers: My first piece of advice is, once you’ve gotten through this article, pull out your phone and download the Echo 112 App. This is an emergency app that allows dispatchers to be able to track your location through your phone in the case of an emergency. Also, make sure you look into local emergency numbers – this is general knowledge that is important to know.echo app, smartphone tracker, safety abroad, student travel tips, emergency number, europe emergency app
  1. Don’t Put all of Your Eggs in One Basket–eh, Cards in one Wallet: So, imagine the worst: Your wallet gets lost or stolen. Well, actually, this is not the worst–imagine that your wallet gets stolen with every single credit/debit card you own, your insurance cards from the US, your driver’s license with the picture when you had a really good hair day, every single rewards card you’ve been racking up points on, and – if you’ve really hit the jackpot of misfortune – your passport. This is not one of those stories your mom tells you to scare you (trust me, this happened to my friend two weeks ago). Be smart. Bring just enough of what you need with you. Always make a copy of your passport, and keep it back at the place you’re temporarily calling home, along with all of those cards and documents you really only need back in America. The goal is that after reading this article and committing these tips to memory, you won’t have an issue with parting ways with your wallet, but if it does happen, having a backup card handy will get you by until you can figure out a way to replace your card.student travel tips, study abroad in europe, tips of packing, how to keep your wallet safe when abroad
  1. Always Make Sure Your Bag is Secure: This advice may help you avoid losing a wallet altogether. Whether you carry a purse, satchel, or backpack, make sure that you’re always aware of how accessible it is to others. Carry purses and satchels in front of you, and aim to only carry bags that have a zipper. Be aware of your bags in tight crowds; this is an easy chance for someone to “bump” into you and snatch some valuables. Always make sure your bags are in your line of vision if they aren’t on you – train stations, airports, and bus stops to a thief are like casinos to gamblers. They thrive in these spots and are skilled at what they do, so be one step ahead and watch your belongings.
  1. Only Use Registered Taxis: Even if you thought it was a good idea to wear your favorite most painful pair of heels down cobbly streets or if you stayed out way too late to watch the game and are desperate to get home, always make sure you’re being aware that the ride you’re accepting is actually a registered taxi service. This is especially necessary when leaving a train station or airport – just because a car is just waiting there in your time of need does not mean its a knight-in-shining-armour ready to rescue you. You’ll see a taxi station outside of most airports and train stations in Europe which shows you where to wait for registered taxis. Going off of this, if you are traveling to a new city, plan ahead and have some taxi service numbers ready for you. Familiarize yourself with their hours of operation so you aren’t stranded in the early hours of the morning in a new city.registered cab services in europe, student travel tips, european taxi services, safe rides for students abroad
  1. Only use a trusted ATM: I’ve found that bank ATMs are the best anyways conversion-rate-wise, but I’ve always found comfort knowing that my card information will be protected by using these machines over the sketchy ones conveniently hidden right next to the spot you buy your favorite cheap beer. ATMs can be a way for others to steal your card information, so always make sure you’re using a trusted machine. To protect your information, also avoid using cards on public wifi.
  1. Don’t Accept a Drink You Haven’t Seen Poured: This is advice that my parent’s repeatedly beat into my brains throughout my college years, and wisdom that is even more important to carry overseas. Advice to go along with this is to never leave your drink unattended – even for a second. If you have set your drink down and wandered away, spend the extra cash on a new one to be safe. A last note on the topic of alcohol, please be able to handle whatever amount you decide to consume. Being able to be a functioning human is a socially acceptable behavior anywhere, but it is an absolute necessity abroad. Don’t drink too much and always be in control of yourself and your actions.student travel tips, study abroad in europe, tips of packing, how to be safe at a bar scene abroad
  1. Always Let Someone Know Where You Are: If you’re traveling alone, or honestly, at all, it’s important to let at least one person know where you’re going to be. Checking in with someone may be hard for the independent spirits like myself, but it is the smartest way for someone to be able to know where you are in case of an emergency.
  1. Be Smart About Traveling Alone at Night: If you’re going to be walking home at night alone, avoid back alleys. They might make your trek shorter, but dark alleyways can be an opportunity for someone lurking in the shadows to caught you off guard and vulnerable. If you can, always walk in a group at night.student travel tips, study abroad in europe, tips of packing, how to keep your wallet safe when abroad
  1. Always have a Backup: A backup plan goes along with everything in life. For me, my back up battery has been a saving grace for my travels abroad. If you haven’t already, invest in an external battery for your phone. Go one step ahead and always have the address to where you’re staying along with any important phone numbers written somewhere and secured in a safe place; if your phone dies, you will be able to have a way to reach others or make your way back home.  
  1. Be Aware, Not Paranoid: Pay attention to your surroundings. Check exits when entering a crowded building. Dip into a restaurant or business if you feel like you’re being followed at night. Double check that cab that gives you a sketchy feeling. Carry your purse like it’s glued to you. Be smart and trust your instincts, but don’t let this turn into paranoia.

Enjoy your time abroad and trust that as much darkness there is in the world, there’s twice as much goodness that exists. Allow people to surprise you and show you kindness and you’ll find that there is more of this than you could imagine. Be smart, be safe, and travel on.