From whether you should take the plunge to study abroad during your summer holidays, to actually being out there and making the best of your overseas stint, this article offers you 10 student travel tips on alternative ways to travel while studying, how to overcome pre-trip anxiety, and how to utilise your status as as a student to travel cheaply!
10 Student Travel Tips I Wish I’d Known Earlier
1. Ask the experts.
There are many considerations when thinking about studying or interning abroad. Can I afford it? Can I map the classes back to my degree? Does it fit the requirements of my major? Are my grades good enough?
Speak to your study abroad school staff or seniors who have been there.
The people who work in the study abroad department and run programs are
very passionate about study abroad. They are the people most likely to know how to work around the student’s concerns. This could be anything from pointing them towards scholarships to help cover costs, or finding ways to bypass minimum GPA requirements. – Ann Belle, who worked in student travel and study abroad programmes
Don’t let your worries stop you from studying abroad!
2. Utilise off-peak periods.
Summer breaks can go up to 3 months, and that’s more off-time than any full-time employee. What better way to use them than travel?
Work your holiday plans around school holidays – for example, in Europe, prices skyrocket in late July and August, so if you are travelling there try to plan your adventures (or at least your flights) to take place earlier or later. – Claire
3. Engage in student-focused tour agencies.
When booking flights, some great deals can be found for students on STA. I’d always advise to enquire first and then check on the internet, but with a heavy student discount it’s often cheaper to book through them. – Claire
Many students from my school count on STA to be able to source for the cheapest flights or rail passes when doing their international exchange.
Other agencies that specialise in youth travel include Contiki, Topdeck, Indigo Tours (Europe) and WSA Europe (Europe). I absolutely love to follow their travel adventures as they are adrenaline-seeking and full of fun! StudentUniverse offers a great resource for discounted travel specially for students too.
4. Intern abroad.
It’s the summer holidays. Do you want to get out there, but feel constrained by your finances? Do you dream of exploring the world, but feel that you should be using your summers to get some work experience? What about combining both work and travel?
Pop down to your university careers office, who will often have summer internship opportunities or openings for charity work abroad! You could end up spending your summer volunteering in Africa, interning in Hong Kong or teaching English in Thailand, and by securing the placement through university, you’ll receive support from them throughout its duration. – Claire
Student years provide excellent opportunities for travel: exchange programs, volunteering, study tours, etc. If you’re looking to travel with a purpose, or look into creating greater awareness to the underprivileged through travelling, try volunteer programs! Having such experiences might even enhance your employability when you graduate.
Other than covering your accommodation and food in another country, volunteering gives you a chance to connect deeper with another culture, gain new skills and inner fulfillment for doing something good for this world. You can look into programs such as Erasmus, Youth in Action, European Voluntary Service, AIESEC and Au Pair (An au pair is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family). – Natalia
6. Flash your student card.
Get the ISIC Card! What I love about this card is that there is no age range as long as you are a student. It can be used in over 130 countries on things such as airfare, accommodations, museums, FOOD, and so much more! – Katie
Always ask if they do student discount – a lot of places that offer it don’t blatantly advertise! – Claire
Almost all museums, tourist attractions and even transport options have discounted prices for students. Trains in Europe often have lower prices for those who are under 25 or 26 years of age too. So, my tip would be, to carry your card and find out student prices before paying up the normal costs. – Menorca
7. Befriend locals.
Something that really helped me out when I was studying abroad in France was making friends with my classmates who were locals. This gave me the opportunity to practice my French, get the inside scoop of places to visit that were off the “tourist path”, and take a deeper dive in the French culture. – Katie
8. Travel on trains or buses.
If you’re in Europe, take advantage of a Eurail Pass. Sure, train travel takes a bit longer than plane travel, but if you buy a pass it can also be a lot cheaper! As a bonus, you get incredible landscapes you would not otherwise have the chance to see. You can also take train travel as an opportunity to stop in smaller cities you wouldn’t normally consider – that’s where the true culture and local experience is! If you have a long break and plan on traveling through it, I highly recommend planning a rail trip. – Kelly
9. Look out for discount codes.
Like this Airbnb code which offers you US$35 off your first booking!
10. Lastly, let loose!
Don’t be afraid to splurge every once in awhile – While budgeting is important while traveling as a student, you can’t let it drag you down. Is there an incredible Michelin-star restaurant in a city you’re visiting that you’ve always wanted to try? Or how about that wine tasting tour or cooking class you would love to do? If you think it will truly enhance your experience, go for it! You can make it up somewhere else in your trip. – Kelly
Kelly couldn’t have ended this better. I may have my reservations about taking the hot air balloon in Turkey, skydiving in New Zealand, bungee jumping in Phuket or tasting Michelin-star food in Budapest, but at the end of it all, I know I didn’t want to leave the country regretting not experiencing it.
If you’re not sold on travelling as a student, here are 20 more reasons you should travel in your 20s, or this complete guide to travelling as a full-time student.