Category Archives: Travel & Abroad

The Best Places To Travel This Spring Break

Filed under: Fun Ideas, Living, Seasonal Celebrations, Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Cameron Tranchemontagne BookRenter Blogger Biography

The days are getting longer and the snow is disappearing, which means spring break is right around the corner! To relax during spring break, you may want to go on the trip of your lifetime with your friends, who doesn’t? But this can be tricky for a college student on a budget. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a memorable time.

Visit these locations if you’re looking for a spring break destination that won’t break the bank:

1. The Dominican Republic

Here you can find towns boasting luxury beaches and mega-resorts with all inclusive spring break party deals, but there’s also more low-key and affordable options as well. You can find hotels for around $200 dollars a night for two people. And during the day when you aren’t enjoying the nightlife, consider taking a guided kayak tour through the Los Haitises National Park. The park is located on the northeast coast and is covered in mangrove forests and hosts a wide array of wildlife, like sea turtles and many types of birds – some of which are only found on the island.

2. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach is great because the prices aren’t that bad and travel fees should be less than travelling to another country. Myrtle Beach is a popular area in South Carolina with many resorts and other tourist friendly attractions. It is consistently warm and sunny and boasts fantastic food, 60 miles of beaches, over 100 golf courses, and a vibrant nightlife.

3. Great Smoky National Park, Tennessee

Not only is the Great Smoky National Park affordable at about $100 dollars a night, it features fantastic fishing, hiking, and scenic drives nestled in the Appalachian Mountains along the North Carolina and Tennessee border. It’s America’s most visited national park and is known for its diversity of wildlife and I’ts only about a half an hour away from Dollywood.

4. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is a somewhat popular spot for party-goers for Mardi Gras, but afterwards it is slightly less crazy. It is a historic city lined with cobblestone streets. In New Orleans, you can have it all: world renowned food, the birthplace of jazz, and an electric nightlife are just a few of the things this city as to offer. Be sure to check out the French Quarter Festival if you are there between April 7th and 10th.

5. Montreal, Québec

Most people think of warm places with sandy beaches for spring break, not Canada. But one day in Montreal and you’ll realize it’s one of the most magical cities in North America. It’s affordable, yet feels luxurious! The culture is a perfect blend of American and European and it’s reflected in the delicious food and surprisingly active bar/club scene. Then of course, there is hockey. If you’re a hockey fan, Montreal will feel like home; and if you’ve never seen a game before, you may fall in love with it during your stay. The people are friendly and are more than happy to talk to anyone looking for some good company.

Wherever you go during your spring break, even if that’s just back home to be with family and friends, hopefully it is a restful and relaxing one.

Share your spring break plans with us in a comment below!

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Studying Abroad: “You Won’t Know ‘Till You Go”

Filed under: College Life, Education, Fun Ideas, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

“You won’t know ‘till you go!” That’s the slogan my university uses to promote study abroad. In the months before my trip, I posted about the reasons you should study abroad, and what to pack. Now that I’m back, I’m going to share with you my experience studying abroad in Spain and encourage you to hopefully study abroad someday as well.

1. Culture

When you go on a trip with your friends or family, sometimes you don’t get a feel for the culture because you’re with your group doing your planned events. This trip, we worked hands on with employers/employees and even students that live in Spain. It was an incredible opportunity to learn firsthand the differences between our cultures, like their importance of siesta.

2. Skills Gained

Everyday for two weeks we were lucky enough to visit businesses that dealt with public relations, advertising, film, and media. We were taught valuable skills relevant to our studies by some of the best professionals in Spain. Talk about motivation! Every time we left a business, I felt like I was ready to take on the world!

3. Friendships

I do not know too many people from my school, so this trip was a big reason for me to go. There were people ages 20 to 33 on the trip with all kinds of backgrounds and walks of life. People that probably normally would not be friends all became so close in such a short amount of time just because of this experience. It was amazing the love we all had for each other by the end of the trip, even though we’re all so different.

4. New Perspective

It’s easy to get in our own bubble in the U.S. and think that our way of life is the “norm” (is there really such a thing), but going to Europe woke me into reality on how far behind I am compared to students my own age. I’d say about 90% of the people I met there spoke even a little bit of English. I do not speak any other language at all. Students there are taught from a young age 2-3 languages. Something like this gave me a new global perspective, and it has really motivated me to start working towards learning about the world, other cultures, and other languages.

5. Learning

Instead of being in a classroom for the semester, we were in film studios talking with producers, or in public relations firms learning their best strategies to getting new clients. This was incredible as a senior college student to be able to work directly with people in the field that I’m studying to be in. It was just like job shadowing, but a million times better. This trip was so much more than what I thought it would be. Yes, it was educational, but it was also life-changing for me because it changed my perspective on a lot of things. You can take a trip anywhere and have a great time, but to have an experience like this is definitely worth doing. I encourage you to consider studying abroad with your school because you really won’t know until you go.

Have you studied abroad, or are you planning to? Where? What was your experience like?

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Dos And Don’ts To Packing For Studying Abroad

Filed under: College Life, Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

I am lucky enough to be one of the student’s from Texas State going to Spain this summer to study abroad! I’ve been so excited for various parts of the trip, but as it gets closer, anxiety has definitely set in because I have had to start thinking about what I should pack! There’s only so much room in a suitcase, but I also want to make sure I’m prepared since I’ll be so far away from home!

I put together a list of my do’s and don’ts for my trip to help guide you when (or if) you take an abroad trip! Of course, these are things that are important to me, so you can always customize your list when the time comes!

Do’s

The most important things to pack when studying abroad are:

1. Passport/ID

This one seems pretty obvious, but I feel like I have to mention it because your passport is the number one important thing that you need to bring on your trip. Before you leave, make copies of it and your ID. Take copies for yourself, but also give family members copies of them, just in case something happens! It’s best to be prepared.

2. Camera

Whether it’s disposable, or a digital camera, bring one. Don’t just rely on your phone! This way you avoid running out of storage or damaging your phone. Also, the quality can sometimes be better.

3. Several Forms of Money

I plan on bringing a debit card, credit card, travelers checks, and also getting some Euro’s before I head to Spain. The last thing you want to happen is for something to get stolen and it be your only form of money. Keep these forms in different places around your luggage, and in the hotel safe!

4. Adapters

Pay attention to what country you’re traveling to and find out if you need to buy a special adapter. I need to bring one because of my hair devices and phone charger. Don’t wait until you get to the airport to buy one, it’ll be way over priced!

5. Comfortable Shoes

As much as I want to look good out on the streets of Barcelona and Madrid, I also know that their streets are mostly cobblestone and I’ll be doing a lot of walking. It’s way more important to be able to walk the next day, than to get a compliment on your shoes!

Don’ts

This list is just a few things people have advised me not to bring abroad. I agree with them and will pass them along to you:

1. More Than One Hair Device

This one is easy. Choose if you want a straightener or a curling iron. For those like me, who like both, just choose one! You’ll be thankful when your suitcase has more room!

2. Expensive Jewelry

You don’t need to bring any of your expensive jewelry. Especially if it has sentimental value. Leave it at home so you avoid the risk of losing it or it being stolen.

3. Lots of Shoes

Your best bet is to look over your itinerary and figure out exactly how many pairs of shoes you’ll need, and then don’t pack more than that. I’m bringing a business casual pair, a comfy pair, and sandals. Shoes take up so much space, and they aren’t a necessity.

Hopefully you’ll get to experience studying abroad, and if you do, hopefully this list helps you get started with your packing!

Share your packing advice in a comment below!

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5 Reasons To Study Abroad

Filed under: College Life, Fun Ideas, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

One of the most unique opportunities offered by colleges these days are the various study abroad programs. There are so many different options when choosing to study abroad. If your school doesn’t offer it directly, there are tons of organizations that offer abroad education. If you’re looking to get school credit, you could always just ask your college for approval if it is not associated with them. However, studying abroad is a valuable experience even if you don’t receive college credit.

Here are the top 5 reasons I believe you should study abroad before you graduate:

1. Learn More About Other Cultures

I’m going to Spain next month to study abroad, and for the past six months I’ve been doing research about the country and I have learned so many things I never knew. I already feel more educated not only about Spain, but of Europe. When I go, I’ll be able to experience their way of life, their culture, and the way that their public relations firms are ran. Whatever field you’re studying, studying abroad can expand your knowledge and allow you to gain valuable skills that will impress future job interviewers.

2. Get A Leg Up On The Competition

Even though there are various programs throughout the world, less than 10% of undergraduate students study abroad. No matter what field you are in, going abroad will definitely set you apart from the rest.

3. Its Cheaper Than To Travel On Your Own

One of the main reasons students don’t opt to do a semester or a year overseas is because they fear the cost of the program will be too high. With most schools, mine included, there are a ton of scholarships offered specifically for abroad education. You can also apply for financial aid to help bring down the cost. Most programs will have package deals that the school sets up, so your overall trip is dramatically cheaper than if you were to travel on your own time. If traveling is an interest of yours, definitely do it this way as a student while you can.

4. You Create Strong Bonds With The Other Students

You’re normally with a group of about 15 to 30 people, depending on your program. I’ll be travelling with 25. The experiences you’ll create with these people will turn into great memories that’ll last forever because you will be learning and exploring together. I haven’t even left yet and I’ve already become so close with the girl I’ll be rooming with while we’re there. This has helped me a lot since this is my first year at a new school too!

5. It Makes Summer School Seem Not So Bad

I feel like I am so lucky because not only am I getting to take two classes that I need to graduate, but I also get to go to Europe for my first time. I’ve always taken summer school, but it is honestly difficult to get through. My friends that take trips, and make plans for all summer, definitely leave me jealous, but now, I’m able to have a great vacation and get the credits I need this summer!

Whether you’re at a school that has study abroad programs or not, there are hundreds of programs throughout the world that allow students to take part in a once in a lifetime opportunity. You can broaden your perspective on culture, lifestyles, and field of study. I encourage you to at least look into a few programs and start daydreaming about where you’d want to go. Remember, don’t get discouraged about cost because sometimes your school can help!

Leave a comment if you have traveled abroad or are planning to. Where did you, or are planning to, go? Share your experience with us!

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Spring Break On A Budget

Filed under: College Life, Fun Ideas, Money/Budget, Seasonal Celebrations, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

Every year, I daydream about a beautiful, warm, tropical place that I can fly away to, but then I remember that I don’t exactly have the money for such a trip. Working full time and going to school is something a lot of us are familiar with – along with not being able to pay for a flight to Miami and a hotel room for five days. However, just because you cannot afford to have a luxurious Spring Break, doesn’t mean you are completely out of luck! Here’s a few ideas to have a memorable Spring Break while on a budget:

1. Alternative Trips

Some universities are awesome and have packages for Spring Break trips. I go to Texas State University and they offer a week long mission trip. I’m considering to go on the trip because they take us around Texas to help out at shelters, and then drive us to Louisiana to help there. Not to mention, our nights are free to do as we please! Free New Orleans trip AND you get to help out so many people in just a few days!

2. Drive Around

Explore your state (or states nearby)! There’s no reason you have to fly to get away. It’s so much cheaper to drive. Grab two or three friends, split the cost, and don’t splurge on fancy hotels. Plan some favorite activities and you’ll realize the company is really what makes a vacation fun.

3. Vacation Bundles

Like always, Google can be your best friend. There are a ton of sites that offers packages and plans for college students to go on a trip for spring break! Some of my friends have used Student City because they offer safe, reliable, and convenient vacation packages that have everything included in the price. Oftentimes, the more you can bundle, the more you can save.

4. Plan Ahead Next Year

It may be too late for this year, but if you have some solid friends that you know you’ll still love next year, it’s SO much cheaper to plan ahead and to pull your resources. You’ll get flights way cheaper, along with hotels. I planned a trip to Thailand for next December, and my flight is dramatically cheaper than if I were planning this trip for a few months away!

So, don’t fret! If you plan ahead and work within your means, I promise you can still have an amazing Spring Break!

Leave a comment below and share with us your plans for Spring Break 2015!

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