Expert advice for travelers

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By: Amanda Reid, Columnist 

I’ve talked about safety and how to be a tourist while abroad, but these are only some of the things I have learned throughout my trip to Spain. If you’re thinking about studying abroad, here are some tips.

1. Keep a journal and use it religiously. I had always tried to keep diaries and journals as a kid but I never succeeded. When I arrived here, I forced myself to begin journaling every day. I try to write about what I do every day down to the food that I’ve eaten.  I’ve written this journal for me and no one else, so that later in life I can look back and relive all of the adventures as many times as I want.

2. Keep tickets from all of the touristy places you go. I have a drawer full of what looks like meaningless scraps of paper, but each one is a memory. I’m not an arts and crafts type person, but I do hope to make something out of all of the tickets and information pamphlets I’ve collected from places all over the world.

3. Note one thing that you want to get in each place you travel to. Whether it’s a snow globe, a ceramic plate or a shot glass, collect something small and inexpensive instead of blowing all of your money on souvenirs.

4. If you eat somewhere delicious, drop a pin. Study abroad is a group effort of friends tag teaming to find out where the inexpensive, delicious food is. The notepad on my iPhone is full of foods I have tried that I wrote down because I thought my friends would enjoy them. You are also going to be returning to the United States a walking guidebook, and having the names of places and exact addresses will make you look credible.

5. If you don’t think you are going to make it on time to a bus station, train station, or the airport, take a taxi.  The metro-gods are pretty incredible, but it is much safer to shell out the extra cash than then end up paying to reschedule the ticket.

6. In light of everything that happened in France, when things happen, whether in the country you are studying in or a country close by, always get in contact with your family and tell them you are safe. Keep your family informed of your travel plans and always text your parents and loved ones when you land and take off when travelling. I try to make sure that I communicate with at least one person in my family every day.

7. Most importantly, cherish every moment. All of my friends except one only have a semester left until graduation. Thinking about them leaving is heartbreaking, but we are all doing our best to spend as much time together as we can. Seize every day and then write everything you did in your journal so you can remember the jokes and memories forever.

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