Traveling in Europe: Planes, Trains, and Automobili

Written by Adam October 17, 2016

Brussels Welcome Sign

Formal dinner


Canal Cruise


Before I touch on traveling so far during the semester, just a few things to talk about. 

Firstly, you know those formal dinners that CIMBA tells you about? Bring an appetite! I made a little mistake of grazing my way through the hors d’oeuvres and by graze, I mean I treated it like my last meal. But a glass of some great champagne and some conversations later, I was ready for the latter 4 courses or so. It’s a great opportunity to talk with your professors in a different setting, and get to know more about each other (A lot of talk starts at the hors d’oeuvres table when you’re both trying to figure out what exactly that fried ball is filled with). It was fun seeing everyone all dressed up, which made it great for the pictures which we were taking most of the night. 

Now, to the carne of the blog: that first extended travel weekend where you’re able to get out of the small town setting and see the world! It all starts with who and where. Not all 50 of us wanted to go to the same place, so you find the people who have similar desires and get planning. I, along with seven others, went to Brussels and Amsterdam, both for two days each. We immediately pulled up Skyscanner, Travelocity, Thrillist, etc. to see how expensive it was going to be to go. It’s really controlled chaos from there to make sure everyone is on the same flight, finding a hostel for eight people, etc. It’s not only a cool, 4-day break from classes, but a time to share unforgettable experiences with some great people. 

My recommendations for travel: Definitely use a BACKPACK. The roads in most downtown European cities is mainly cobblestone, so rolling luggage around is not ideal. Next, are some plans for what you’re going to do with your phone. A lot of us have Italy-only data SIM cards, so a lot of people prayed for free city WiFi. I was the only one on our trip with data (s/0 to Verizon for the $10 a day extension plan!) so I kind of played tour guide basically because I had the power of Google Maps. Another thing to take are earplugs if you’re a light sleeper; I didn’t have an issue with anyone I was with, but people snore and you can’t throw people out the third story window of your hostel, so you have to have a backup plan. Next, some travel/trial sized meds like Tums, Sudafed, etc. in case you need it. You don’t want to be miserable the whole weekend, so do the American thing and prepare for anything. 

Looking back, it was my second time in Amsterdam…in a month. Sure I have some great stories from when I went alone, but now, I have some shared memories with some people which we’ll look back on and laugh at forever. What an incredible extended weekend. 


‘Til next time,