While your primary focus for study abroad should be immersing yourself in your host culture, you may find the time to travel to other cities and/or countries during breaks. The following suggestions will help you make the most of any trip:
Plan ahead. Research transportation schedules before your trip begins to find the most affordable tickets. Always ask if there are student discount fares.
- Surf the Web. You will be surprised at how much information you can find.
- Talk to people who have been where you want to go. Get advice from locals once you’ve arrived.
- Be spontaneous and adventurous! Flexibility can make all the difference.
- Carry your money and passport in a money belt/pouch.
- Keep abreast of current political situations (in the US and Abroad).
- Be advised of safe places to go and even safer ways of getting there. Check out the main roads you are taking to your destination (the number one killer of healthy U.S.. travelers abroad are crashes: www.usatoday.com/travel/news/2007-08-13-tourist-deaths_N.htm) and if need be, consider other ways of transport. Safety, not price, should always come first!
- Travel Books: No matter where you are traveling abroad, purchase a budget travel book. Doing some background reading on the places to which you are traveling allows you to appreciate the sights and culture. Books from these publishers cater to budget travelers: Let’s Go, Lonely Planet, Open Road Guide, Cadogan Guides, Rough Guides, Rick Steves’ Travel Guide.
The following resources may be helpful and complementary to your guide book in planning your travels :
- STA Travel: Expert Travel Advisors at STA know how to find you the cheapest ticket, whether you should opt for a hostel or hotel in a given city, and how to get from point A to point B. You can even visit their office in Cambridge at 65 Mt Auburn St. or call them at 617-576-4623 for more information.
- Hostelling International Card: This card is useful for cheap places to stay where you can meet students from all over the world. It may be obtained from any STA Travel Office in the world or any American or International Youth Hostel. Keep in mind that Hostelling international does not always guarantee the cheapest rates, so compare prices on hostel web sites.
- The ISIC Card: The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) offers access to student discounts on travel, museums, accommodations, theaters and cultural events. It also provides some emergency medical and evacuation insurance coverage.
Altapedia Online: is a Web site containing key information on every country of the world. Each country profile provides facts and data on geography, climate, people, religion, language, history and economy.
Country Specific Information: from the U.S. State Department including entry/exit requirements and travel advisories. Students are responsible for informing themselves of issues particular to their study abroad site location.
Time and Date.com: with current times displayed from around the world.
- Travellerspoint: Sign up for a free account and communicate in one of the many travel forums. You can receive travel advice from experienced people around the world.
Traveling to Europe?
Traveling by rail is simple and inexpensive in most of Europe, and several rail passes are available to students. There are also cheap flights available, but be aware that often the cheapest flights do not actually fly to the capital cities themselves but to regional airports “near” the city advertised. Check out and research airlines: such as Student Universe, EasyJet or Ryanair, budgeted airlines hated by some, loved by others.
- Britrail: For travel within Britain only. Tickets must be purchased in the U.S...Call (800) 551-1977 to purchase or visit their web site.
- Irish Rail: The Emerald Isle Card, a new rail and long distance bus card, is valid for unlimited travel throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland.
- Eurailpass: Good for second-class travel in Europe. Must be bought in the U.S...
- Inter-rail: This must be purchased abroad and covers Europe and Eastern Europe. You will have to show proof that you are a student and a resident of a European country for over 6 months. Many European countries have their own version of the Eurailpass, which allows unlimited train travel for a flat fee within a certain period of time. As a rule, rail passes are an excellent value over single-fare tickets, although their true worth depends on how often you ride. Ask about the FLEXIPASS as well, which will allow you a more flexible schedule.
- Oz Experience: Many travelers buy a hop on/hop off bus pass to see the East coast of Australia. It is convenient and will allow you to meet many other travelers. There is also a Kiwi Experience and Feejee Experience if you plan to travel around the South Pacific.