Israel is a student-friendly country. There are all kinds of student flights and discount airfares to Israel, and if you're from a Jewish-American family, you may even be eligible for a free trip to Israel under the Birthright (Taglit) Program (www.birthrightisrael.com), which provides the gift of first-time, peer-group, educational tours of Israel (airfare included) to Jewish adults ages 18 to 26. More than 40,000 people have taken advantage of this program, which is designed to encourage Jewish identity and connection with the State of Israel (waiting lists are long, so plan well in advance).
Even for independent travelers, there are discounts for students at museums, national parks, and railroads, although train discounts are minimal. Check out the International Student Travel Confederation (ISTC; www.istc.org) website for comprehensive travel services information and details on how to get an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which qualifies students for substantial savings on rail passes, plane tickets, entrance fees, and more. It also provides students with basic health and life insurance and a 24-hour help line. The card is valid for a maximum of 18 months. You can apply for the card online or in person at STA Travel (tel. 800/781-4040 in North America, 132-782 in Australia, 0871/2-300-040 in the U.K.; www.statravel.com), the biggest student travel agency in the world; check out the website to locate STA Travel offices worldwide. If you're no longer a student but are still under 26, you can get an International Youth Travel Card (IYTC) from the same people, which entitles you to some discounts. Travel CUTS (tel. 800/592-2887; www.travelcuts.com) offers similar services for both Canadians and U.S. residents. Irish students may prefer to turn to USIT (tel. 01/602-1904; www.usit.ie), an Ireland-based specialist in student, youth, and independent travel.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.