How to Land Some Serious Student Travel Discounts

Take Advantage of Your Age and Score Tons of Student Travel Discounts!

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If you're between 12-26, the travel industry considers you a student traveler and you are eligible for student travel discounts. Travel companies from Rail Europe to Greyhound offer student discounts, so if you're planning on taking a trip, you'll likely find a way to save money. More on the different options below: 

Student travel ID and discount cards

Several student travel ID cards, like ISIC, exist, which can provide student travel discounts on everything from travel itself to books and movies.

Flashing a student travel ID card at sightseeing sites around the world can often earn you a student travel discount, even if no student travel discounts are advertised. If you're going traveling, definitely pick up a student ID card before you go. 

Student Airfares

Student airfares are generally available to student travelers under 26 who are enrolled in school. Student airfares always represent some kind of student travel discount and may give you huge discounts over regular airfares. Student airfares are also generally far more flexible than regular tickets. STA and Student Universe are two examples of student travel agencies offering true student airfares.

Train Discounts for Students

Eurail and Amtrak are among the many train companies offering student travel discounts. Rail Europe provides a straightforward way to find and buy European train passes on Eurail trains at a student travel discount, and in the U.S., Amtrak offers promotions for student travelers.

National trains, like the UK's train systems, may limit student travel discounts to locals (buy a UK Eurail pass instead).

Bus Discounts for Students

Student travelers can grab a 20% discount on Greyhound, the U.S. national bus service, with a Student Advantage Card. Hop-on, hop-off bus services like Busabout, the European bus service, offer promotions, but are really geared toward student travelers to begin with, so are already affordable.

Cheap buses, like Chinatown buses or Boltbus, may offer specials in the United State at times, but, again, are so affordable that you'll likely choose to travel with them anyway. 

Student Accommodation Discounts

Student accommodation discounts are hard to find, as hostels don't really offer discounts to travelers unless you'll be staying long-term (longer than a month.) Having said that, hostel discount cards do exist and promotions can be found in the off-season (i.e. winter in Europe). 

YHA and HI offer a discount card for travellers that entitles you to a small discount, and the Nomads Hostels discount card gives you $1 off each night you spend in one of their hostels -- not huge discounts, but could end up saving you money if you'll be traveling for a decent amount of time. For more information: check out the following list of hostel discount cards

If you're looking to spend as little as possible on accommodation and don't fancy the idea of a hostel, there are several options for student travelers.

First, take a look at Couchsurfing, which will be the most affordable accommodation option you have open to you: it's entirely free! Through couchsurfing, you'll be able to spend the night on a local's couch, saving you money on accommodation and giving you a more authentic insight into the place you're traveling to.

It really is a win-win situation. 

Alternatively, if your cash is running low, but you prefer a little more comfort when you travel, housesitting could be the way to go. Housesitting is just what it sounds like: you get to watch someone's house (and likely their pets) while they're out of town, and in exchange you get free accommodation! As a student, it might be tough to get on the housesitting ladder, as owners do like to hire people with renting/owning a property experience, but if you can get great references, give it a go! 

Spring Break Deals

Spring break is a great time of year to take a trip if you're under 25, as plenty of companies will be offering student discounts for the month! Groupon usually has some great spring break deals for students, and STA Travel can always be relied on to help you save money.

 

If you can't find a package that grabs you, you could create your own spring break deal using student airfares and affordable accommodation.

Be Aware of the Student Discount Label

Before you jump at a student discount, make sure to spend a few minutes doing your research to see how legitimate they truly are. Some student discount packages are actually just normally priced deals that have been repackaged as a "student deal." In order to find out if you're grabbing a bargain or not, shop around on the price to see what else is out there. If you find a cheap student airfare, for example, head to a travel aggregator, such as Skyscanner, to see if you're actually saving money or if you'd be better off just grabbing a flight with a budget airline. 

 

This article has been edited and updated by Lauren Juliff