I’ve been back home in Hawaii for a few weeks now and I must say, it really does feel good to be back. I missed the Pacific Ocean, the warm air and, of course, the food. However, a large part of me really misses being able to travel around Europe and living in France. The longer I lived in France, the more it felt like home. Every time I would return to Nice after a trip to a different country, it always felt like I was coming home, not like I was just going back to France. The scenery is definitely different from Hawaii, but just as beautiful. But the thing about living in the South of France and in Europe in general is the ease of travel to different countries and cities.
|Cote d'Azur, France|
In the four months I studied abroad in France, I was able to travel to 17 different countries. There were three main reasons as to why traveling was so easy in Europe. First, probably the most obvious, is the fact that European countries are so close to each other. Second, are the price of airline and train tickets and the availability of low-cost airlines. And third, is the Schengen zone, which I will explain later.
|Disneyland Paris, France|
With all the traveling my boyfriend and I did throughout Europe, you’d think we were millionaires or something. However, that is definitely not the case. We once had a flight from Athens to Rome that cost a whopping 8 euros, roughly $8.50. Crazy, right?! Yeah, we thought so too. That is the beauty of the low-cost airline market in Europe. Airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet offer super-low fares throughout all of Europe. However, these low fares do come with a catch. These airlines have very strict baggage guidelines and may even charge for things like printing your boarding pass for you. Their planes are also not the most comfy or
luxurious, but they’ll get you from Point A to Point B. I was on a 25
euro Wizz Air flight to Budapest where you were only allowed to bring a small
backpack for free, anything else would be an extra fee. As we were boarding, I
saw a man who got stopped because his backpack was just a little bigger than
the dimensions that were allowed. The ticket agents demanded he pay a 50 euro
fee or else he would not be allowed on the plane. So ridiculous. But that’s the
price you have to pay for a cheap ticket. So no, you don’t have to be rich to
travel through Europe, it can definitely be done on a college budget as long as
you’re willing to give up a little comfort.
|Danube River, Budapest, Hungary|
|London, England, United Kingdom|
All in all, I believe all the traveling, exploring and experiences were totally worth it. Every country brought new experiences and a new place to grow fond of. I’m so glad studying abroad gave me the opportunity to travel throughout such a beautiful continent, I don’t think I can ever mimic the experience I had otherwise. Lastly, here are some photos from some of my favorite places I visited throughout this semester. Enjoy!
|Cliffs of Moher, Clare, Ireland|
|Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino, Monte Carlo, Monaco|