My favorite part of studying abroad was ALL my weekend travels! I went to class Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and left for a new place on Thursdays. TAKE MY ADVICE do not schedule Friday classes.
So while I was abroad, I wanted to get the most bang for my buck. I mean who wouldn’t. For almost all of my trips I went on, I used student travel companies. Some of them included Bus2Alps, Smart Trip Europe, Florence4Fun, and EuroAdventures. I do not recommend EuroAdventures at all! But, my personal favorite was Smart Trip Europe (link at the bottom). It was a great way to travel with other students. The only downside to using these companies is we bused everywhere. Trust me it was not glamorous or luxurious, but it made for some funny memories. Luckily, on buses you can pack as much as you want; however, I learned to pack light after the many nights of lugging all my stuff to the train station where we left from. Also, follow these companies on Instagram; they have special sales or post special codes to get some money off on your trips. If you are going to be using Smarttrip in Fall 2018 use the code wilson for a discount!
However, if you know you could not survive on a bus from 8-15 hours then flying might be a better option for you. Florence has a small airport, so flights were way too expensive for me. When looking into flights Pisa, Milan, Bologna, or Rome are all better airports to look into. If you are studying in Florence, you can train to one of these cities and then fly out from there. Skyscanner or RyanAir will help you find the best deals on flights (sometimes 20 euro flights if you are lucky), and GoEuro will get you the best deals on the train tickets.
Now, if you chose the flying option then you need to figure out your accommodation. When you go through the student trips, accommodation is included; most of the time through a hostel. The best options include HostelWorld and Airbnb OR if you are feeling wild and thrifty CoachSurfing might be an option for you. Mostly, I stayed in hostels. Once again, they are not glamorous. But, lets just say some are better than others so check the reviews!! Also, breakfast is usually included with hostels. Be aware that European breakfasts are not like American. Usually it is bread or a pastry, coffee, and sometimes meat and cheese. That is just their culture.
Anyways, I was able to travel to 10 countries while abroad which was more than I ever dreamed of.
Feel free to message or DM me with any other questions you have! I love feedback whether this was of help for you! Thanks so much!!