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Travel on a shoestring budget : Student edition

It is a well known fact that student budgets are extremely tight. At the same time though, student life is when you have the most time and the physical ability to travel. Traveling need not be very expensive and planning a vacation need not be a stressful assignment. You can use your student status to unlock a lot of special student discounts. Combining these discounts with a little flexibility, you can make your dollar go a lot further, allowing you to take that dream vacation without feeling too much of a pinch on your wallet.

General Tips

  • Most of the major credit cards have travel offers, here is the link for Visa and Mastercard. For American Express, you have to login to see the discounts and offers. Get as many options/discounts as you can.
  • Try pricing your vacation with any clubs you may belong to, AAA or Costco.
  • Be Flexible with your dates and time.
  • Look at as many places as possible. Just because it says student discount, does not mean its THE best deal.
  • Get familiar with the websites when you have some free time. This will give you a feel on what websites to go to for specific travel needs.
  • If you are member of an honor society, definitely have a look at your member benefits. It might include some sweet discounts. Examples : Kappa Delta Pi members save 15% on all choice hotels and also save 20% with Alamo car rental.

Student Travel Agencies –

These agencies specialize in pricing packages, airfares, rental cars, hotel or cruises specifically for students. Check these websites first while searching for the best fare. These student travel sites should be part of your search. Just because they cater to students does not mean they are always cheap, but its a good start.

  • Student Universe (Great airfare search engine, free with .edu email)
  • STA Travel (requires ISIC card)student travel
  • Adventure Student Travel (includes student cruises)
  • Travelosophy (specializes in travel abroad, free with .edu email)
  • Student City (Spring break specials)
  • Priceline (This is not a student travel agency per se. But their “name your own price” bidding probably gives an excellent discounted price if you are flexible with your travel dates/times and flight choices)

Student Discount cards

– The first and best discount card is your college student ID. That alone may get you quite a few discounts internationally. Many more discounts are available through several other student discount cards which will get you a broader range of discounts by partnering with major retailers, museums, theatre, airlines, hotel chains and travel agencies. You might not need them at all, but make sure to take a look. If you see something that will save you money a few times then it might worth the price.

Student Flight Discounts

Student Rental Car Discounts

Bus/Rail Discounts

Hotel Discounts

Maximizing Frequent Flyer Miles

Always sign up for the frequent flyer miles program. They are free and it won’t take more than a few minutes. Even if you think you won’t be travelling with a particular airline that frequently it will still be useful to sign up as several airlines allow you to use miles earned with their partners or you can transfer miles or even redeem miles for merchandise or magazines.

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