Five Tips for Students Booking Trips Abroad

Summer is right around the corner, which, for students (or anyone else who has their summers off) means the chance to travel. For those of you planning a vacation abroad, here’s five tips to keep in mind while you’re booking your trip.

Note: Some of these came ideas from a press release by — a travel website that, not surprisingly, specializes in backpacking trips for college students. So, keep in mind, they’re trying to sell you something. However, the advice seems useful, and I’ve amended their suggestions with personal experience.

1. Keep Travel Dates Flexible: This one may seem fairly obvious, but it’s worth noting, as — in my experience, at least — ticket prices can occasionally change dramatically, even from one day to the next.

2. Book Many Legs of a Trip at Once: By doing this you avoid purchasing one-way tickets, which — oddly — are sometimes more expensive than round-tip tickets. That being said, while you’re technically not supposed to, there’s nothing stopping you from buying a round-trip ticket, and forgoing the return journey if it doesn’t suit your overall travel plan.

3. Use Frequent Flier Points: Again, kind of obvious. But you may not know that you can use other people’s miles if you haven’t amassed many yourself. My dad often travels internationally for business, which came in very handy when I was in college, broke, and regularly trying to book expensive flights oversees.

4. Look For Local Airlines: Especially budget airlines. A lot of US-based travel sites don’t include the often absurdly cheap European options, like Easy Jet, or Ryan Air. (Though, it should be noted, the flight attendants on Ryan Air are a surly bunch.)

5. Book Travel with Friends: Again, worth doing, particularly if you’re in for a long haul. For those of you heading to multiple destinations, a large part of your experience will be the actual transit from place to place. If you don’t book together with friends, the chances that you’ll end up next to one another on flights — or on the same flights at all — is slim.

Finally, a suggestion that isn’t mentioned by — probably because they don’t offer this service — is, especially if you’re traveling through Europe, take the train. You’ll meet more people, the view is fantastic, train stations are way cooler than airports, and the whole thing will feel more “authentic.” Trust me.