Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (Katie Baumgartner)

A huge part of studying abroad is actually having the ability to travel during your semester away. Since I have been in London, I have been able to travel to Ireland twice, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and will be traveling to France tomorrow. Needless to say, I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel all over Europe during my time here. Planning a trip is not always as easy as it looks. It takes a lot of researching if you want to find the best deals and methods of travel. For example, it is always made known that Ryanair has the best deals and you can find flights for 10 euro. This is definitely not the case most of the time. Although you can get flights for around 100 USD there is often a catch with Ryanair. They will fly you in and out of smaller airports that tend to be further from your actual destination. For example, my friends and I flew Ryanair when we went to Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest. We flew out of an airport in “London” that took us an hour and a half to get to by bus from our flat. When arriving in “Munich West”, as Ryanair said, we actually flew into Memmingen West, which was close to 2 hours from the main train station in Munich and was 40 Euro round trip extra to take the bus where we needed to be. This then made our “cheaper” Ryanair flight much pricier than we originally thought. After trial and error, a few of us have learned and figured out that it is often times the same place and more convenient to fly airlines such as Aerlingus or British Airways. The key to this is that you must do your research and book things with enough time to get the cheaper price. Time is also money, so although it may seem cheaper to take a train or a bus which are common to take throughout Europe, make sure you add in the time you will spend just sitting on a bus into your trip. My friend and I were planning our trip to Amsterdam and were considering taking a bus there for much cheaper than the flight we booked. Although we would have saved money we would have spent much of our weekend sitting on a bus commuting rather than enjoying the city and our vacation. The most important thing when planning trips is to do you research. Know what airport you are flying in and out to and how much it will cost you to get there. From what we have learned in London, Ryanair is not always the way to go. There are so many options out there when it comes to traveling around Europe. As long as you take your time to figure out what is the best deal for your budget and time you won’t be dissatisfied and who knows maybe paying that extra 30 bucks will give you a few drinks on the plane as well! Cheers!

Katie Baumgartner is studying abroad in London, England, with the Foundation for International Education (FIE).

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