Written by Katelyn Murhammer June 4, 2018
One of my favorite parts of CIMBA is the long weekends that we get to travel around Italy or other countries in Europe. I have used my travel weekends to visit Venice, Rome, Florence, Pisa, and Elba Island – all beautiful and amazing places. After spending three weekends traveling around Italy, I have learned some useful information that I would recommend to students traveling on the weekends:
1. Book and Plan Ahead
It is very important to have a travel plan as soon as possible so that you can book a place to stay and transportation to get there. Having a general idea of the places you want to visit and who you want to travel with will help you get things booked far enough in advance. Most students choose to travel via train from the Castelfranco Veneto station, take a flight from the Venice Marco Polo Airport, or take an overnight bus ride. All these modes of transportation have their own benefits, but train is the primary mode of transportation within Italy.
When planning your transportation, make sure you allow enough time between trains or flights to get to the next one. Trains and flights are oftentimes delayed, and you don’t want to miss a connection. Also, make sure you know how you will be getting to the train station or airport, like a bus or taxi, and contact them a few days ahead to reserve a ride. Also, CIMBA has a bus to and from the train station and airport based on how many people show interest in taking advantage of them which was very convenient for the students.
2. Do Your Research
Before traveling to a new city or staying in a stranger’s home, look online for reviews or ask other CIMBA students about their experience visiting that specific location. You don’t want to be stuck in an unsafe situation or left without a place to stay, so make sure you have a plan before you go. It is very easy to tell when a place is sketchy by other people’s comments about them, so be sure to check those before traveling.
3. Download Apps
There are so many applications that you can download on your phone to help you get around in a new location. I think it is a really good idea to have both Google Maps and Google Translate downloaded on your phone. I used offline maps from Google Maps in Florence, and it was very helpful – just make sure you download the location on the map before you travel there. Google Translate came in helpful when asking for directions from local Italians or ordering food at a restaurant. Beware that there are a lot of foods in Italy sound similar to American dishes, but turn out to be something completely different than what you expected!
Having the opportunity to travel around Europe is a once in a lifetime experience. I am so glad that I got the chance to travel to so many interesting and historical places around Italy. Overall, it is helpful to plan as much as you can ahead of time so that you can enjoy the time you spend traveling. I hope these tips are helpful for you as you journey around Europe!