Hej London….och Vienna
Having only been in Sweden, travel week 1 was approaching rapidly and the possibilities were endless. However, after long hours of research to find the greatest deals, I was finally able to settle on two places: London and Vienna….
A lot of times when studying abroad, we get so wrapped up in traveling and trying to make the most of our experience that we forget we are here to study as well. Being so, given the opportunity to have two travel weeks really helps! In the DIS program, one travel week is based on your core course in which you go with your class and learn more concepts in another country. Meanwhile, the other travel week is an independent one where you can choose to go wherever you’d like or even stay in Sweden to take a little break! My first travel week just happened to be the latter 🙂
But before I dive into that, I wanted to share some tips and tricks to scoring some inexpensive and affordable plane tickets to help you save money and get the most out of your future trips!
1.) Search Google Flights
If you have no idea where to go, google flights has the option of putting Destination rather than a specific location. Not only that, you can explore possible travels dates by setting the calendar from “specific dates” to “flexible dates”! As you can see in the example above, there’s possibilities of being able to score a week long round trip to Paris for LITERALLY 494 kr (which is about 50 dollars?!?). What a steal!
2.) Search Ryan Air
Ryan Air is probably one of the cheapest airlines out there! However, as it is a smaller airline the destinations are limited and you probably won’t be going to the main airport of the city. In Stockholm, for example, Arlanda Airport is the main airport, but Ryan Air departs and arrives from/to Skavsta Airport which is much farther away. To get to the airport, I would recommend buying a coach bus ticket on the app Flygbussarna!
Using Ryan Air, I was able to purchase a flight to London for only $16.01 and a flight to Vienna for $21.78! The negatives about Ryan Air is that, although the tickets are extremely inexpensive, they charge for nearly everything else. The ticket will only allow for a small backpack. So, if you plan to bring a carry on, you’ll probably have to pay extra. Want to choose your seat? Gotta pay extra! Not only that, Ryan Air makes you check in at least 2 hours before your flight and print your ticket out or else you get charged a fine! When arriving at the airport, make sure you get your boarding pass stamped from the visa check, or else (YOU’VE GUESSED IT) you get fined!
However, Ryan Air definitely isn’t always the cheapest, so it’s best to do your research before settling for less!
With my tickets in hand and my backpack on, I finally landed in London after a short flight. My first impressions of London was that I was experiencing three different weathers in one day: sunny, rainy, and cloudy! At first, it was quite dreadful, but I soon realized how great it was to be able to experience it all in one day being that I literally only had 24 hours in London.
I have to say that the most memorable parts of London was going to the Baroque Market, which was a cute outdoor market where there were food stands of various foods. You could honestly smell it from a mile away! Call me BASIC, but I obviously had to try the infamous fish and chips. It was buttery and crispy on the outside, and soft and flakey on the inside. I can confidently say that now I know what’s up in London. Haha (just kidding I was only there for a day…).
The second most memorable adventure in London and also the best way to end the night was going to the Apollo Victoria Theatre and seeing Wicked for the first time. For as long as I remembered, ever since Wicked came out, I have always wanted to see it. But especially, to be able to see them perform “For Good” in person! The performance was absolutely incredible and magical. It is an experience I definitely recommend doing if you’re ever in London. (Tip: Check the website for cheap tickets! I was able to get a good seat for only 25 euros)
With only 24 hours in London, I was already off to Vienna before I knew it. Coming to Vienna, I didn’t realize that, unlike Sweden, they didn’t do card only transactions. So, definitely don’t forget to convert some money to euros before coming! I, unfortunately, found this out the hard way after eating a meal and finding out they only took cash!
The wonderful thing about Vienna is that there are tremendous tourist attractions and a lot of museums to explore at! I would recommended buying a Vienna Pass which gives you free (you pay quite a large amount for the pass, but it’s worth it) admission to so many attractions!
My favorite part about this trip was being able to share this experience with my best friend, who is currently studying abroad in Barcelona. Together, we went to the Freud Museum, where we learned about Freud’s career and path to psychoanalysis. We explored the art at the Schonbrunn Palace and the Belvedere Palace. We also painfully stood through a THREE HOUR opera for only 10 euros (I would recommend this for the experience, but I would also never do this again haha). We learned how to make the famous apple strudels and ate delicious Bio-Kasespatzle (homemade spaetzle with cheese) at a food stand surrounded with families who were ice skating at the nearby rink. However, the memory that I’ll definitely think of when Vienna pops into my mind is going to Pratar, an outdoor amusement park, eating cotton candy that was larger than my whole head. I don’t think I had ever felt happier than laughing because we were on a sugar rush and going on the Ferris wheel and seeing just how beautiful Vienna was from above.
Regardless of the corona virus outbreak (which I will be talking more about in my next blog!), this was an unforgettable trip. I think one of the best things that came out from the trip was me deciding to stop collecting license plates from every where I go (because they’re so expensive and take up so much space). Instead, I figured I would get a postcard from everywhere I go and write my favorite memory from the trip on the back of the postcard! 🙂 (I think this was the best option for me because I tend to buy a lot of useless souvenirs and end up never really using them (it doesn’t spark joy haha get it?), but with the postcards I could tape them to my wall in my room).
Thanks for reading! If you guys have any questions regarding my tips on getting cheap flights, feel free to use the Contact forum to send me a message! See you next blog!