The specific promotions described in this article have now passed, but it remains online so that the resources named will be of future use to travelers.
You toil all semester to keep those grades up, study hard at exam time and are probably working part-time to make ends meet. All that and you probably will have a huge loan to pay off when it's all done. Don't let that stop you from taking advantage of travel deals especially designed with you in mind. Those semester breaks and months off at the end of each college year should be the time for you to get out and see the world, experience foreign cultures and not worry about anything for a while. Oh yeah, and there's that small matter of unwinding at Spring Break time to consider.
I'm not completely convinced that websites purporting to sell discounted student fares are actually cheaper than doing your research and purchasing regular discounted fares online or by phone through consolidators or destination specialists. There are certain airfares that seem to be for student fulfillment only, but I would still recommend browsing a bit and shopping around before purchasing.
Travelosophy (tel. 800/332-2687; www.itravelosophy.com) lets you search for discounted student airfares though its booking engine. What I liked about the site was that it was fast and generally gave the tax amount so you could make an informed decision before purchasing. What I didn't like was the $10 service fee. As I often tell travelers, beware of super low fares that aren't transparent when it comes to taxes. Sometimes a $600 airfare might incur $300 in tax, whereas you'd be $100 better off with the $700 airfare with $100 tax. Sample round-trip fares for Spring Break time, March 2007 include:
- Los Angeles to Bangkok on Eva Air $676 + taxes = total $919
- Chicago to Cancun on Delta $312 + taxes = total $446
- Boston to Aruba on Continental $314 + taxes = total $443
- San Francisco to Acapulco on Mexicana $452 + taxes = total $577
- Atlanta to Montego Bay on American $358 + taxes = total $489
Student Travel (tel. 800/781-4040; www.statravel.com) has a wide selection of domestic and international flights at discounted rates, plus cheap accommodation, car rental and cell phones. Current round-trip airfare specials for travel in November, 2006 include:
- Salt Lake City to Lima from $560
- Dallas to Rio from $617
- Los Angeles to Ho Chi Minh from $664
- Detroit to Johannesburg from $923
Taxes are additional.
Other package specials include 5% off Contiki winter tours:
- Six-day Vienna and Budapest -- now $508
- Eight-day "Italian Espresso" -- now $689
- 13-day "Spanish Spree" -- now $1135
- 21-day "European Inspiration" -- now $1971
And 20% off select G.A.P. Tours:
- "Peru Panorama - Lares" (October 25 to November 8, 2006)
- "Amazon and the Atlantic" (December 21, 2006 to January 31, 2007)
- "Costa Rica Hike Bike and Raft" (October 28 to November 11, 2006)
Student Universe (tel. 800/272-9676; www.studentuniverse.com) offer students some cut-price deals on both domestic and international airfares. Sample round-trip fares for Monday to Thursday departures include:
- New York to Venice from $360 (October 30, 2006 to March 31, 2007)
- Los Angeles to Florence from $371 (October 30, 2006 to March 31, 2007)
- Miami to Milan from $479 (October 26, 2006 to March 25, 2007)
- Chicago to Mexico City from $291
- New York to Paris from $281 (November 1, 2006 to March 31, 2007
- New York to London from $199 (October 26, 2006 to March 25, 2007 -- Monday to Wednesday only)
Only four-days advance purchase is required. A Saturday night stay is required and taxes are additional.
Student Universe is currently promoting Spring Break 2007 deals like New York to London with seven-nights accommodation (likely in a hostel) from a super low $339 per person plus taxes, or a seven-night trip to Prague from New York including accommodation from $343. Or how about their Spring Break Bahamas party cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale for five days from only $299 per person. If booked by October 31, 2006, this trip also includes ten free meals. The package features a roundtrip cruise from Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas (five hours each way), four-nights hotel accommodation, taxi Transfers, hotel and port taxes, ten free meals, free daily beach parties hosted by StudentCity.com and discounts to other activities
For students under 26 years of age, traveling by rail in Europe is affordable and can ensure you see more of each destination. Traveling by train is also one of the best ways to meet people. Buy a "Eurail Selectpass Youth" ticket from Rail Europe (www.raileurope.com) and pay as little as $249 for five days second class train travel within a two month period throughout three countries, $278 for four countries or $307 for five countries. A 15-day pass for five countries is still cheap at only $553 plus there are a number of other options in between. The only catch is that the countries have to border each other -- so you can't choose Denmark, Spain and GreeceÂ?but you can certainly choose Spain, France and Italy for example. The pass offers unlimited travel on the national rail networks of any three to five bordering countries out of 22 European countries that are connected by train or ship. Alternatively you could purchase a "Eurail Pass Youth" from $394 for 15 days of consecutive travel in 18 countries. Longer passes are also available.
Invest in an ISIC international student card (www.myisic.com) for $22 before you travel. These things are worth every penny and then some. In Europe especially, these green cards can get you access to discounts at museums, on flights, trains, buses, even hotels. Dare I say there is actually a black market trade in fake international student cards alive and well in Bangkok, Thailand (Kho San Road to be precise) -- not that I recommend doing anything fraudulent, but it seems everyone wants to get their hands on these cards and for good reason. While traveling abroad, always ask about possible student discounts, even if a student price isn't advertised or displayed.
For local travel, your student status gets you discounts at home too. Join the Student Advantage discount club (www.studentadvantage.com) for $20 and besides getting a percentage off at your favorite retailers and suppliers, you also save 15 percent on Greyhound's walk-up bus fares to over 3,100 destinations in North America. To book student fares go to its website and enter your Student Advantage card number, purchase fares at Greyhound ticket windows or call tel. 800/229-9424.
Southwest (tel. 800/435-9792; www.southwest.com) offers reduced-price youth fares for travelers aged from 12 to 21. These fares range in price, are refundable, and can be purchased up to an hour before departure. While they can be more expensive than limited-time sale fares and other discounted tickets, you can use them for last-minute travel and get a refund if you need to cancel your flight.