Have an idea of sites you want to visit and things you want to do during your trip. Do some research on travel blogs and communities. You should ask friends and family who have traveled before about places they enjoyed the most. Read through site-specific guide books like Lonely Planet, Let's Go, Rough Guide, Rick Steves, or Frommers.
Book all travel far in advance. However, do not book anything until after the first week of classes. You may find there are NYU-sponsored trips already in place.
Do not make plans to travel for the first 3-4 weeks of the program while your residency permit is being processed — you will not have your passport.
Let us start by changing your opinion of hostels. We all thought they were grimy dangerous places until we actually stayed in one. Then we realized that most of the time they are just like hotels without amenities and they are full of young travelers. This makes them a great place to meet people and to get travel tips. For places to stay, check out these different hostel websites. Check customer reviews and ratings for more accurate descriptions of the accommodations.
Located right in the heart of Europe, you can fly to many other destinations from Berlin. Currently, the city has two airports. Airport Tegel (TXL) is served by major airlines and/or partner airlines like Lufthansa, Air France, British Airways, KLM, Air Berlin, etc. Airport Schönefeld (SFX) is mostly served by low-cost carriers such as Easyjet, Ryanair, TuiFly or Germanwings. Both airports are only about a 30-minute subway ride from your NYU Berlin housing.
With any airline (especially low-fare airlines), you should expect to pay a fee for any checked luggage you bring.
When you are in Berlin, you should definitely take at least one train trip. Germany is known for its expansive train network, with the ICE trains being one among the fastest trains in the world. From "Hauptbahnhof" (the main train station), you can take trains to all major cities, including international destinations such as Prague, Warsaw, and Amsterdam. Check out the Deutsche Bahn's website for cheaper online deals at www.bahn.de.
Railpass lists all of your train options and information about the trains for all the different European countries.
If you are planning on traveling (especially after your semester) you may find that Eurail is the best option. It is a train pass that gives you train travel within 18 European Countries. Not only is it a cheap, convenient way to travel around Europe, but also many Euro trains are super comfy! Buy your tickets in the US as they are more expensive in Europe.