Because so many students travel internationally, there is a large market directed entirely towards this group of people. There are many ways to save money while traveling as a student. If you fit into this category then you should be taking advantage of as many deals as possible to maximize your dollar.
In many countries, any attractions that are remotely educational (such as museums, cultural centers and historic sites) have reduced prices to accommodate students. But to be eligible for these reduced prices you need to prove that you are a student. Unfortunately (or fortunately) you don’t just answer a few questions to demonstrate your acquired intelligence. Instead, you must show your student ID card.
Most students already have a student identity card issued by their school or university. However, these cards aren’t recognized internationally. Therefore, it is necessary to purchase student ID that will be recognized wherever you travel.
The most common type of student ID card is the ISIC or International Student Identity Card, accepted in over 90 countries and carried by millions of students world wide. Officially endorsed by international organizations, national governments and student organizations, the ISIC can get you reductions in transportation prices on planes, trains, buses and ferries and savings at retails shops, restaurants and accommodation centers around the world.
Your ISIC card can provide you with basic medical coverage and allows you access to a 24-hour help line for a range of emergency medical, legal, and financial services, including locating an appropriate doctor or lawyer and replacing lost or stolen documents. Teachers can also get a travel ID card (called ITIC) that offers similar savings. As well, ISIC cards now offer web-based email services and savings on international phone calls (up to 70%).
To get an ISIC card you must be a full-time student and be older than 12 years of age. You can purchase your ISIC card at most university and college campuses, Travel CUTS (order forms online) and Council Travel. At around $20, an ISIC card could save you hundreds of dollars. When you purchase your card you will receive a 24-page International Teacher Identity Card Handbook that tells you about all the special deals and discounts available.
Another kind of student ID card for traveling is the ISE identification card. ISE stands for International Student Exchange. The requirements are the same as the ISIC cards. So too are the benefits. This card is not quite as popular as the other but it still does the job.
We recommend the ISIC card due to its popularity and international recognition. There is no doubt that either card will allow students to save money while traveling. Don’t forget…while you are traveling, before you pay, make it a habit to ask if a student discount is available.
Many airlines offer flight opportunities specifically for student travelers. They do this for several reasons: students often have flexible schedules and are thus able to take off-peak flights, their budget usually means that they are willing to ‘work harder” and “suffer more” (ie. flying stand-by) to get a great deal, and finally, by providing young travelers with attractive deals, airlines hope that they will have created brand loyalty and that these young travelers will continue to use the same airline in the future.
Many international train services offer students rates. Eurail offers discount passes for travelers under the age of 26, called the Youthpass and Youth Flexipass. Just make sure you won’t be turning 26 before you validate your pass. Visit our Eurail page for more on Eurail passes.
There are thousands of youth hostels around the world offering accommodations at a bargain (in most countries you don’t even have to be a youth to sleep in these hostels). Although not all hostels belong to the International Youth Hosteling Federation (IYHF), it is still wise to get an HI membership so you can call ahead to reserve a bed and get cheaper rates. Known as Hosteling International (HI) and Youth Hosteling International (YHI), HI and YHI are run by the national Youth Hostel Association under the auspices of the IYHF. Look for the tree and hut in the triangle (pictured right) to find an IYHF hostel. Visit our hostels page for more details on hostels.
- Council Travel
- ISTC - International Student Travel Confederation
- Smarter Living - useful resource for a variety of student travel deals
- STA - Student Travel Association travel agency
- Student Advantage - some useful travel information for students
- Study Abroad - listings for thousands of study abroad programs in more than 100 countries throughout the world
- Travel CUTS