Since we’ve all done quite a bit of traveling over the course of the semester, we’ve learned a few lessons the hard way. Here are our best tips for when you travel for weekend adventures across Europe! 🙂
- ALWAYS bring your ISIC card. You never know when this little piece of plastic will get you a discount–whether it’s on coffee at a coffee shop (super randomly), bus tickets, or anything in between, your ISIC will be your best friend.
- Exchange currency before you leave Lithuania. Yes, you can get it once you get there, but unless you’re super organized and know where the banks are (and speak the language), it’s easier to get it in Klaipėda before you leave. And, whatever you do, don’t exchange it in an airport because I guarantee you’ll lose money in the process!
- NEVER hand over your passports to ANYONE. Even if it’s a police officer, if you can help it, hang on to your passport when they check it. I’m not saying get physical about it, but when given the chance, keep your hands on it. It’s your most valuable possession for these four months.
- Don’t turn your backs on your things in a public place for a second. I come from a small Christian college at home where you can leave your laptop in the library unattended for an hour to go grab dinner and find it right where you left it when you come back. Americans can be seen as targets for theft in Europe, so don’t let your phone, wallet, or any other valuables out of your sight!
- Be aware of your surroundings. We are all heart broken to hear of tragedies all over the world, but living Europe makes ones like Paris and Brussels feel closer to home. You’re not in danger everywhere you go! But, with many of us traveling to the UK this weekend for Easter, we’re learning to be very attuned to our surroundings so we can be prepared for anything.
- Plan to spend more than you think you will. No matter where you go or how much self control you think you have, when you see that one perfect souvenir or really good looking pastry in the window, it’s all down hill from there. Budget these things in and plan for unexpected surprises. This is a once in a lifetime semester–live it up and buy that donut!
- Fully immerse yourself in the culture of the place you visit. Your time in Lithuania is about more than seeing everything and leaving–it’s about developing a new understanding of the world and its people. Even the small things make a difference when traveling. For example, avoid familiar places like McDonald’s and Starbucks and hit up a local cafe for lunch. People watch out the window as you enjoy traditional Spanish food and fall in love with the beauty around you for that short time. Believe it or not, even a weekend trip to Poland can steal your heart if you let it. 🙂
Lithuanian word of the week: bulvės — potato (the classic Lithuanian food product; if you see it on the menu, it will always be the best potato you’ve ever eaten!)