For many of us, looking at Instagram photos and checking out Pinterest boards of European landmarks and food inspire us to one day travel to Europe. However, even though it seems that waiting till college to study abroad on the continent might be the way to go, in actuality, the summer of 2016 is shaping up to be the absolute best time to go to Europe in years.
Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at some of these facts:
Though prices in Europe might always be a bit more expensive than their American counterparts, going to Europe now allows you to get more bang for your buck with the historically high return the dollar gets on European currencies. At the moment, 1 US dollar will fetch you .88 Euros and .69 British pounds. While that might not seem like a lot, the current exchange rate is the best it has been this decade and waiting to go to Europe might cause you to miss out.
In addition, though Europe has always been known for cheap domestic airlines such as RyanAir, new low cost carriers such as Norwegian and Icelandic Air not only allow you to travel across the pond at a fraction of the cost as legacy carriers, but with the stopovers sometimes built in, you might get to experience 2 countries for the price of 1 ticket.
Once In a Lifetime Events
The summer of 2016 is shaping up to an exciting one throughout the continent full of activities and festivals that are best experienced firsthand. For the political wonk, being in Britain while they vote on the Brexit will not only give you a firsthand perspective on a possible historical moment, but might also be the ideal topic of your college essay. And for the sports fan, how about joining in with other soccer junkies from around the world as the UEFA 2016 tournament looks to crown its new champion in France in July.
The Old Standbys of Western Europe
While Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, and London might always be there, what better way to get a head start on life then experiencing these cities while you are young. Studies have shown that traveling abroad before college improves maturity and open mindedness in students as well as enriches them culturally and intellectually.
Even if you are a year away from going away to school, having a summer full of reflection, contemplation, and most of all fun will allow you to return to high school better equipped to take on the year and a firsthand perspective for that AP European History or AP Art History class you just happened to sign up for.
Contributed by Matt Zonis