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You Too Can Travel Europe!



Europe is a dream destination/continent for many travelers. It can seem a distant likelihood, however, as it’s fairly far away from both Japan and a good portion of North America. If you’ve been able to afford a visit to your home country, though, a European trip is not outside the realm of possibility!


Where to Go


Despite Europe occupying a relatively small area, there are a wealth of countries and cultures to explore. Eastern European nations tend to be less advanced than their western fellows, but still have much to offer. An added benefit is that they tend to be very budget-friendly destinations. If there isn’t a particular draw to any one place, you can also simply see what flights to which cities are affordable.


Naturally, when I went last year, I went to probably one of the least feasible options: Monaco.  If you’re in the Riviera anyway, it’s worth a look, but otherwise it’s rather expensive. In the vicinity are Nice, and two small Italian towns that I absolutely adore, Dolceacqua and Apricale. Keep in mind a rental car (and possibly an international driver’s license) is necessary to reach smaller towns.



Perhaps my favorite method for finding airfare is using Google Flights. Plug in your airports and dates, and voila! A list detailing fares and layovers will be presented. You are given the option to save the flight, but keep in mind that it won’t send you notifications about price increases (at least in my experience). Also, if something seems like a great deal, don’t hesitate to snatch it up. I regret not getting a Qatar Airlines itinerary for when I go to Vienna this month as it meant having to spend several hundred dollars more than necessary. One of the easiest airlines to purchase tickets through (as you can do so at convenience stores) is Asiana Airlines. They have service to Paris, Rome, and Frankfurt.


If you plan on hitting up more than one locale while you’re all the way over there anyway, there are several budget carriers. These include Ryanair, EasyJet, and Air Berlin. If you will be visiting more than one place, it’s worth looking into a multi-city flight plan to save yourself some time you could spend not at the airport (cuz, really, who wants that?).


Other Transportation


Public transportation in Europe varies in each country (which I do realize goes without saying), and it can be frustrating to navigate between them. However, by and large, it is vastly superior to what’s available in the U.S. Most countries have multiple day passes that may save you money, as well as websites that can help you plan out your routes. As always, Google maps is also extremely handy for this.


Where to Stay


My favorite method for finding hostels is as follows:

  1. Search on hostels.com and hostelworld.com.
  2. Compare price and reviews of well-located accommodations.
  3. Make reservations on either booking.com or from the hostel’s website (this is especially common for Japanese hostels).

Of course, if you happen to be visiting a friend, you can always ask to crash at their place.


Researching Things to Do


As this is a broad topic, I can’t possibly throw in suggestions for every place JETs are likely to travel through. What I can possibly throw in are ways to find this information. Trip Advisor, which I’m sure many of you are familiar with, is a good first step into seeing what other tourists like about your chosen city. Google will also list several of the top destinations in your queried city. Reddit sometimes has subreddits with interesting information and things to do you might not find otherwise.


Jet Lag


Ah, the dreaded downside of traveling so far, so quickly. Somehow, I’ve managed to not be completely wrecked by jet lag despite my many transcontinental (or, more often, transoceanic) trips. To be upfront, I’ve suffered from insomnia for a number of years, so perhaps that helps me adapt to what should be crazy times for my body. Regardless, I’ve used several methods to mitigate the grouch.


First, you’ll want to invest in a decent eye mask that will block out the cabin lights. For some godforsaken reason, few airlines seem to try dimming lights relative to the time in the destination. Try to force yourself to nap for as long as possible when it will be night time. Once it becomes equivalent to morning or early afternoon, wake up and stay awake until it’s evening again. You can use an alarm on your phone so long as it’s on airplane mode. The first day may be a little rough, but you should be more or less adjusted after that point.



If you have specific questions, feel free to email me anytime! If you have specific suggestions, consider emailing me an article! If you have time to get out to Europe, have a great time! (And share your pictures!)


Brittany Teodorski

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