This region has become a hot destination for budget-minded students, who often hit the shores in Southeast Asia and travel for extended periods of time. From bases such as Bangkok's Khao San Road, backpackers roam the rugged highways and byways, paving the way for high-end tourism. Places such as southern Thailand are attracting a young, spring-break crowd.
Any discounts to be found in Southeast Asia come from hard bargaining or tolerance for the most basic accommodations, but it's not a bad idea to have an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which offers substantial savings on plane tickets and some entrance fees. It also provides you with basic health and life insurance and a 24-hour help line. The card is available from STA Travel (tel. 800/781-4040 in North America; www.statravel.com, or www.statravel.co.uk in the U.K.), the biggest student travel agency in the world. 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, and it entitles you to some discounts (but not on museum admissions). Travel CUTS (tel. 800/667-2887 or 416/614-2887; www.travelcuts.com) offers similar services for both Canadians and U.S. residents. Irish students may prefer to turn to USIT (tel. 01/602-1600; www.usitnow.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.