Don’t Forget Your Host Country
Whether or not you can afford to travel every weekend, it is a good idea for you to plan to enjoy your host country. Not only can these trips be easier and more affordable, but they can help you embrace your host city and culture on a deeper level. Here are a few tips for traveling in Italy:
Museums are Free the First Sunday of Every Month
This isn’t true of all local museums, but it is true of national museums like the Colosseum. As you plan your weekends, it is a good idea to consider spending a few Sunday’s in Italy and getting an early start those days to get through local museums before locals crowd in.
Take Advantage of Day Trips
Italy is full of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, unique geographic landscapes, festivals (like Eurochocolate), art history, and music. Sometimes, some of the most unique locations are only a short distance from your host city. Many students over the years have found those brief excursions to yield not only some of the most affordable adventures, but also some of the most rewarding.
Try the Food
Every region of Italy has its own food focus. The biodiversity of Italy inspires its traditional cuisine. You’ll find pumpkin ravioli in Mantova in the fall while in Spoleto most dishes will be laced with freshly picked asparagus. Trapani will have the best seafood salad while small towns in Puglia will provide the best wild boar ragu. Things like pasta shapes, sauces, or cuts of meat are steeped in tradition and some cities will boast that they make the dish better than anyone else!
Travel with Locals
Italian university students, like many other Europeans, don’t always have the same desire for constant travel as American study abroad students do. A lot of them are used to low-cost airline tickets and taking buses and trains so they’re more reserved in planning their trips and will often look for the most budget-friendly options. Should you choose to travel with locals or other international friends, you may find that they’ve heard of unique destinations you wouldn’t have otherwise planned for. They might have friends or family who can show you around or they may have friends who’ve already visited your destination town/city and left them some tips. Not only can diversifying your travel group help you find new places to explore, but it can also give you deeper insight into the culture you’re approaching (especially if you travel with a local) or at least provide you with alternative viewpoints to the experience your group has.