Travel is an important source of learning for everyone, but this is especially true for students. This spring break, make it a point to plan a trip with friends that you'll never forget!
You never truly get to connect with the history of the Caribbean until you sit on a Bahamian beach, or the works of Michelangelo until they tower over you in the Sistine Chapel. Many experts agree that traveling can lend more insights and wisdom than in any given lecture in school, as you get to discover more about yourself and others you travel with. But as a student, it can be difficult to travel with a limited budget and take in the most from your trip. Fortunately, there are many tips and resources available specifically for students to encourage travel. Here are some insights that, as of time of publishing (February 2020), RoadGoat would like to share:
1. That student ID is gold. Bring it with you everywhere!
That student ID in your wallet is likely your most prized possession when it comes to student discounts. Be sure to bring it everywhere you go when when traveling. Museums, theaters, and public transit are all things you'll definitely need your student ID for. But there's a world of student discounts you may not know about. Bringing an iPad for your trip? Apple has a student discount for their products. Buying some gear for your trip? Retail stores often have discounts for those with student ID's. For example, JCrew and Banana Republic offer discounts of 15% off regularly priced items. A whole list of places you can use your student ID at can be found here.
2. Book flights, busses, and train with student discounts
Lufthansa's Generation Fly program allows students enrolled in a U.S. college or university with a valid “.edu” or “K12” email addresses to book student fares. You will need to present a valid college, ISIC or IYIC ID at check-in.
Lufthansa's student discounts are extended on Economy Light, Economy Student, and Premium Economy ticket classes, but not Economy Basic. Additionally, their Economy Student classes allows for some perks, such as 1 free checked bag as well as one free date change if made on or prior to 21 days of departure. Additional changes made prior to 21 days of departure are subject to a $50 change fee. Changes made within 21 days of flying incur a charge of $250 each.
Amtrak is probably one of the most comfortable ways to travel. Amtrak's wide seats are much roomier than those of airlines. You can sit back and soak in the landscape outside the window as you comfortably read a book. Some long-haul lines even have observation cars and full-service dining cars (although Amtrak recently announced they will soon be stopping the full-service dining cars).
Amtrak offers discounts of 15% to those aged 13-25 in California, New York and in the Midwest. Discounts may only apply to certain lines and fares - details can be found in the links below:
Students get 10% off with travel with the Student Advantage Discount Card. While Greyhound isn't often the preferred way to travel, they've really stepped up their game in recent years. Their geographic coverage is unmatched and some buses are even outfitted with wi-fi, so that you can get homework done to and from your destination.
Student Travel Sites
There's a number of student travel sites out there, including leaders such as STA Travel and Student Universe. If you're a student, it's worth checking these sites as they sometimes do have discounted fares, but not from our experience the prices don't often differ from standard booking sites.
Online Travel Agencies
Some online travel agencies offer student portals. Expedia has one for hotels and CheapOair has one for travel booking. These aren't our favorite options, as discounts on prices you can find elsewhere are rarely found.
3. Register for an International Student ID Card or a student discount club
For many international discounts available to students, international student ID card is required to be eligible. Once registered, you can use the ID card to access various benefits available to only students across 120 different countries. It can take up to four weeks for your registration to be approved if you are an active college students, but once you receive your ID card you can benefit from countless discounts applicable to food, shopping, transportation and events. We recommend getting your ID card from International Student Identity Card (ISIC), National Union of Students (NUS), and International Youth Travel Card (IYTC).
You can also join a student-only discount club such as StudentBeans or Unidays. StudentBeans offers a number of travel discounts listed here such as $50 off base fare on Emirates Airlines and 10% Viator tours. Meanwhile, Unidays offers a number of travel discounts listed here, such as 10% of Hotels.com and $3 off Megabus.
4. Check with your college's study abroad office
Your study abroad office likely pays for a number of services that help you with your travels, such as travel insurance, access to safety information, travel websites, and more. Give them a call and see what they have to offer.
5. Combine your travel with volunteer work to get access to funding while also giving back to the community
There's a number of programs out there designed to make travel more affordable for youth and students. Our favorite is Rotary Youth Exchange, run by Rotary International. Rotary Youth Exchange lets "Students learn a new language, discover another culture, and truly become global citizens. Exchanges for students ages 15-19 are sponsored by Rotary clubs in more than 100 countries". Room and board are paid for, as well as any school fees. Students are responsible for airfare, insurance, and all other costs.
There's a number of other volunteer-travel opportunities but we recommend looking for those that offer extra benefits for students while you are one. Our friends at GoOverseas have put together an amazing list of 26 of these programs.
6. It never hurts to ask
Many businesses may not advertise their student discounts, so it never hurts to ask if they offer one. Furthermore, you may just come across someone willing to give you a few dollars off just because they like you.