College Student Travel Tips: How to Find Discount Student Airfare

About this article
Traveling doesn't have to be expensive when you're a student. There are all sorts of travel deals that exist for students and others under the age of 26. This article offers tips on how you can find discount airfare and provides a list of resources to try.
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Discount Travel Websites

Booking your own flight on a discount travel website is one of the easiest ways to save money on airfare. Some sites are tailored specifically to students, while others simply offer special deals to students.

  • STA Travel - STA Travel is the world's largest student travel organizations. You can find really competitive prices on airfare and take out student travel loans to cover any costs you can't afford out of pocket.
  • Student Universe - Students will need to sign up for this travel service to use it, but registration is free (and worth it.) There are great deals to be had on Student Universe and booking flights is a cinch.
  • Adventure Student Travel - Student airfare is very competitive at Adventure Student Travel. You can also get deals on educational student tours, student cruises and other student packages.
  • Travel CUTS - Travel CUTS specializes in budget travel and offers special airfares for students, teachers and young people under the age of 26. Additional discounts are also available for ISIC cardholders.
  • Travelosophy - This student travel company specializes in discount airfare for students, particularly students who are traveling to Europe, Africa, Asia or the Middle East.

Student Travel Discount Cards

Your student ID card might be enough to get you discount student airfare--even when no deals are advertised--but there are other cards that exist to provide additional discounts.

  • ISIC Card - The ISIC (International Student Identity Card) is for full-time students who want big-time deals on airfare, travel, accommodations and more. Card holders have access to more than 40,000 discounts in 106 countries.
  • IYTC Card - The IYTC (International Youty Travel Card) is very similar to the ISIC, with one major difference--IYTC is for anyone under the age of 26 who is not a full-time student.
  • ISE Card - The International Student Exchange (ISE) card is for students (of any age) and non-students 26 and under. Cardholders get discounts on airfare, bus fare, rail fare, car rentals, shuttles, airport transportation, tours and more.
  • Student Advantage Card - A Student Advantage Card will net you up to $75 off airfare as well as discounts on hotels, hostels, Greyhound Bus fares, car rentals and rail fares.

Travel Scholarships

Scholarships do not exist for tuition alone. There are a number of travel scholarships out there that will help cover the cost of traveling and student airfare.

  • Travel Grants - The University of California, Berkeley provides a long list of programs that fund student travel. There are nearly 50 travel grants on the list.
  • 31 Travel Scholarships - The Traveler's Notebook offers a list of 31 travel scholarships, grants and fellowships for students.
  • SYF Road Scholarship - If you are under 25 and plan to travel in a group on an educational trip, you can apply for one of the thirty $1,000 Road Scholarships awarded annually by SYTA Youth Foundation (SYF).
  • Thomas J. Watson Fellowship - The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship is a one year grant for graduating college seniors who need help funding research and travel outside the United States.

Other Student Travel Tips

  • Be flexible. If you can leave or come home on a different date, it may net you a cheaper rate. The same is true if you fly out of or land in a different airport.
  • Consider buying directly from airline websites. It's not unusual to be able to get a better deal directly from the airline.
  • Try to fly at an off-peak time. It helps if you can leave a day or two ahead of other Spring Breakers or Christmas Vacationers.
  • Don't wait until the last minute to buy tickets. You get better deals on airfare when you plan ahead.
  • Check eBay and other auction sites--you won't get any special points for being a student, but you can find cheap airfare. Just make sure the tickets/vouchers are transferable before you purchase them.

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