Andy Steves Travel Tips Series: Why & When to Go
Posted by Andy Steves in on June 2, 2016.
Millennial Tips That Work for Boomers, Too
PART 1: WHY & WHEN TO GO
Technology has upended the way young people travel today—it’s a double edged sword that has both the potential to make travel more efficient, but also place barriers between you and the culture visiting and the people you’re there to interact with. The multitudes of information available can be overwhelming, but with a well-honed perspective, you can cut through this jungle of information and long to-do lists.
Most importantly, you’ve got to have a general idea of your itinerary or purpose of travel. With Malia Obama now publicly taking a gap year before starting at Harvard, many of today’s Millennials are following suit by taking time off to explore the world. I anticipate this worthwhile practice of exploring the world, going on a journey of self-discovery to only get more and more popular. The Aussies have been doing it for years, and I know it’d be a great thing for more Americans to open their minds through Gap Year travel before starting university and careers. Other travelers are seeking volunteering, interning, studying, service opportunities or simply good old-fashioned tourism. Whatever your desire is, nail down the primary reason and goal of your trip to get started. Find more ideas and resources for programs and opportunities abroad here.
Your next step is to consider seasonality—when you go is just as important as where you go. Southern Europe is mostly shut down in August. October offers less crowds, ‘shoulder-season’ prices and still-acceptable weather. January and February are miserable to slog through the snow and ice in cities like Prague and Edinburgh. If you love visiting the beach, stick to the summer, and remember that swimsuit weather doesn’t roll around until June. Conversely, if you want to experience the slopes in the Swiss and Austrian Alps, February is your prime time to shred them.
Today’s "flashpacker" defines their trip by flight availability and price first rather than dates. Rather than pick arbitrary dates far off in the future, they jump on the cheapest flights they can find. Download ‘Hopper’ on your smart phone to set up price alerts that will give you notifications if your preferred destination has a more affordable option. Google Flight Search is also a great resource to search entire continents for flight prices. Flexibility in dates will reap financial rewards in your long haul flights. Snatch your flight then request your time off. Use these long haul flights to anchor your itinerary, and remember that search engines may get hung up on a final destination if you’re searching all the way to your desired starting point. Instead, focus on the main airline hubs of Europe (Amsterdam, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Copenhagen) and look for connections to your desired starting point (like Dublin, Krakow, Rome or Barcelona) from there. We’ll discuss city-hopping flights in a subsequent blog entry.
Next Up- Part 2: Packing & Preparation
Traveling with WSA to Rome, especially during Easter weekend was the best choice I ever made. The guides, Andy, Elena, and Rhianne, were nothing less than superior and they are excellent at what they do. They gave us a fun-filled weekend and showed us the best of Rome during one of the busiest times of the year! I HIGHLY recommend this company to any students that are considering traveling in EuropeLindsey Holland, Oklahoma State University ~ Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Spring 2016
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