Once upon a time when we were all young, naïve, and supported by our parents’ income, we would dream at night of traveling to fantastic places like the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, and the Great Barrier Reef. Sadly, once we grew up, entered college, and became financially independent, those hopes whittled away into mere fantasies.
During school, most students become so ankle deep in loans that traveling to fantastic, far off worlds seems a luxury not to be had. Instead of dishing out the dough to experience the world, most students pull their purse strings tighter than Lance Armstrong’s spandex.
Oh, but if only they knew!
Contrary to popular opinion, it is during those four years of schooling that traveling can be the least expensive. Instead of griping about the disadvantages of traveling young, students should be taking ownership of their status and using it to their benefit. Money is out there to be saved if you simply know where to look.
For starters, every student should purchase an ISIC (International Student Identification Card). These cards are like gold, offering worldwide discounts for accommodation, transportation, food, entertainment, etc. The website has a wealth of information about where the cards are accepted, but trust me, you do not want to leave home without this.
Occasionally, ISIC cards are not valid. When this is the case, it’s always important to have your permanent student ID card with you. You never know when it will come in handy. For instance, in Australia my student ID card gets me the concession rate on public transportation. This basically cuts my fare in half. I also get discounts on movies, tours, entry fees, etc. Wherever you go make sure to ask if student discounts are available. Not all places advertise, but most places do offer. Don’t worry about sounding silly or cheap. That extra money will buy you at least one more round at the bar that I can guarantee you’ll be grateful for.
Speaking of alcohol, discounts are even occasionally available for the brewed or bubbly. Granted your card probably won’t get you a cheaper bottle of wine in the liquor store, but every so often pubs have student nights that offer cheap pitchers and drinks to all those sporting a student ID. Sometimes your card will even get you a 2 for 1. Now who can complain about that?
As for the most expensive part of your trip-the flight-always check out the student rates. Companies have been known to knock down flight rates by the hundreds – many also offer some excellent package deals and trips that are really worth checking out. Chances are, you’ll be saving yourself a fistful that you’ll be glad to have once you reach your destination.
So with all this new info in tow, stop dreaming and start booking. Open your purse strings up wide and see the world. Don’t forget to pack your ID and always, always ask!