Aside from teaching the kiddos, one of my biggest goals was to travel around Europe as much as possible. What better way to spend a Friday off of school than to fly to France? While it’s a little crazy to only spend 48 hours in a different city or country, it's totally doable (and worth it) with the right amount of planning, stamina and luck. Here are some tips and tricks to planning an awesome weekend getaway:
Timing is everything:
Try to plan at least two weeks in advance. Planes will be cheaper, you’ll have more hostel options and it’ll give you more time to make a loose itinerary. Since I live about three hours away from Madrid by bus, I also have to add in extra time getting to and from the airport-which can get tricky. There’s many times where I’ve taken an overnight bus and a 6 a.m. flight because it’s cheaper and then I get more time exploring. Who needs sleep anyway? Having all of your transportation and accommodations booked in advance makes everything way less stressful.
Skyscanner-the BEST site to compare flight prices across all of the cheap airlines.
GoEuro-like Skyscanner, but it also compares train and bus schedules so you can find the fastest and cheapest routes
Hostelworld- shows you a hostel’s rating, amenities and distance from the city centre. So far, most of the reviews have held true, so I really trust this site.
Research, research and research some more:
The key to a jam-packed weekend of site seeing and attractions is to find the right ones. Honestly, part of the fun is getting a sneak peek into the cool parts of a new city by doing a ton of research. Pinterest is a huge help! There are so many 48 hour city guides written by locals that give great suggestions on where to eat and what to see.
Be lazy and cheap if you can:
A week of teaching can fly by and sometimes it’s a challenge to find time to plan out your trip. So don’t! There are a ton of travel organizations specifically for young people. I used WSAEurope for my trip to Budapest and didn’t have to worry about anything. Our entire itinerary was planned and we had our own private guide. For my trip to Italy, I booked excursions to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast through TripAdvisor and Viator. These sites are super easy to use because you can compare the different organizations easily and read reviews before booking. For all of the other penny pinchers out there, use your international connections! Reach out to your foreign friends to see if you can crash at their place. Most likely, you’ll get a free place to say, a free meal, and your own personal tour guide.
Always do a free walking tour:
Since you’re on a time crunch, it can be overwhelming to decide where you should spend your time. Free walking tours are the perfect way to get the lay of the land, see the most important sites, learn some history and get a better idea of what’s worth going back to.
So take those red eye flights, drink a ton of coffee and explore the beautiful cities around you!