It’s mid semester, and while you’re having the time of your life, you can’t help but realize your wallet has gotten incredibly thin and your diet consists mainly of Nutella and my favorite food group – carbs. Thank God there are reinforcements on their way! That’s right, your loving parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, etc. are flying transatlantic to see just how cultured you have become. You’re so excited to see them that you may have actually forgotten that you are going to be their European vacation host for a week or so. Below is a list of things to see & do while your family is in town that will keep everyone entertained.
- Take them on a walking tour. You’re practically an expert on your study abroad city at this point, which means having your family pay for a tour guide is completely unnecessary. If you do it right, this could take up the better part of day and your family will be impressed at how much you have already learned.
- Do a wine tasting. Arranging a wine tasting with your parents is an awesome way to spend time together when they visit. There are sure to be plenty of wine shops in the city that offer private tastings, but if you are close enough to a region like Tuscany, take the day and visit a nearby vineyard. Oftentimes these vineyards will offer tours followed by tastings and lunch. No matter what you choose, this is an awesome event for everyone – after all, the family that drinks vino together stays together, right?
- Rent Bikes! Depending on your city, results may vary. Some cities are much easier to bike in than others (the Florentines make it look like a cakewalk….but don’t be fooled). However, if you can manage it, renting bikes is another fun way to see the sights together. Alternatively, there are many companies that operate bike tours throughout the countryside, which offer a different way to get out of the city for the day and see a different part of the area.
- Visit all the museums & critical tourist locations. Chances are that no matter where you’re studying in Europe, There are “must see” places to hit before you leave. For example, you absolutely cannot visit Florence without climbing the Duomo or touring the Uffizi, and you know this will be on the family’s to-do list as well. Unless you’re a huge art history buff, one trip through may be enough for you. Why not wait it out until your family visits and hit those locations with them?
- Try every restaurant humanly possible. If you are anything like me, by the time your parents arrive you have already made a mental glossary of all the great (not to mention nowhere near within your budget) restaurants you want to try while you’re abroad. Now is the time to capitalize on your parents visit because once they’re gone, you go back to picking up the tab (sigh).
- Travel! If you happen to be studying in a city that your parents have already visited before, arrange day trips or weekend trips with them, and head to somewhere new. If you’re in Rome, check out Tivoli, Orvieto or Pompeii. If you’re in Florence, head to Pisa, Siena or Cinque Terre. Wherever you are, do some research and plan the perfect getaway.
Having your family visit you while you’re studying abroad is such a unique experience but sometimes, proves stressful when there’s pressure to entertain. As long as you plan a few key events around your grueling class schedule that most likely consists of courses titled like “Wine Appreciation” and “Food & Culture” you can be reassured that they are going to have a memorable trip.