Student Buying Guide: Travel

For most students, an integral part of the college experience is exposure to cultures and customs that are much different from their own. While some are content to interact with different groups on-campus, others expand their horizons by traveling to distant locales and absorbing the local lifestyle. The only caveat: national and international trips can be costly, potentially outside the price range of many students.

Thankfully, many travel booking agencies, carmakers, and auto insurance providers offer student discounts for various services. This savings guide will discuss some of the companies doing their part to help students get from place to place without draining their bank accounts. First, let’s discuss some general tips for young people who want to save money and see the world.

  1. Make a Detailed Itinerary: Travel plans should be made well in advance of the journey, and that includes budgeting. Students can use company websites, travel guides, and other resources to form a rough cost schedule for each day or leg of their trip, and then do their best to stick to the budget once they’ve arrived at their destination.
  2. Bring Extra Money: As detailed as your budget plan might be, most travel experts recommend bringing at least a few hundred dollars reserved for medical treatments, last-minute accommodations, and other unplanned expenses. If you plan to use a debit card for most or all of the trip, be sure to have plenty of cash on-hand if the card is stolen, lost, or otherwise useless.
  3. Notify Your Bank: Many banks will put a hold on client accounts if charges are incurred in a state or country that differs from the account-holders permanent address. By phoning your bank or visiting the nearest branch prior to departure, you can ensure that you’ll be able to withdraw money from an ATM upon your arrival.
  4. Avoid Phoning the U.S. from Foreign Countries: International calls to the United States (even from Canada) can accrue hefty charges in a matter of minutes. Unless you’re facing an emergency or financial crisis, it’s best to avoid calling your friends and family back home if you travel abroad.
A reliable automobile will only enable students to travel so far, and some trips require trains, planes, and other larger (and more expensive) modes of transportation. The following travel booking agencies offer tickets, amenities, and other services to students at a discounted rate. Please note that some of the deals below are contingent on more than just the traveler’s student status, so thorough research of their terms and conditions is recommended before making a purchase.

  • Amtrak: High school and college students who would like to ride the rails across North America will receive a 10% discount on their ticket fare by obtaining an Amtrak Student Advantage card. The card, which costs $20 for one year of $50 for four, also provides savings on different amenities and services at a rate of up to 50%.
  • Coach USA / ShortLine: This intercity bus service operates routes connecting 34 U.S. States, as well as the District of Columbia. Students belonging to a select handful of colleges and universities will receive two discounts: “Go Anytime,” which enables passengers to ride any day of the week at a discount of 15% of the standard fare; and “TGIF” discounts, which allow passengers to ride for free or at a significantly reduced fare on Fridays. Students can learn more about eligibility and other deals by signing up for the Free Student Travel Club.
  • Eurail: The Eurail Pass can be used to travel between some European countries without incurring any additional fare charges. Travelers who are 25 or younger on the first day of their trip will essentially be given a youth pass and save up to 35% on their ticket in the process. This option is available for all four main Eurail Passes (Global, Select, Regional, and One Country). For a complete list of all passes that honor the student/youth rate, please visit Rail Europe.
  • Greyhound: With service to roughly 3,700 destinations throughout the United States, Greyhound is one of the country’s largest bus travel providers. Students who book a ticket with Greyhound will receive a 20% discount on fares to thousands of cities; the discount is available for both walk-up and online purchases.
  • STA Travel: This airline booking site offers sizable discounts for college students on both U.S. and international flights to Europe, Asia, and Australia. These include one-way air tickets to Europe for less than $350 and savings of up to $65 on flights from certain carriers.
  • Student Universe: This cost-friendly travel booking site features student discounts on airfare and railway travel, hotel accommodations, guided tours, and other fun activities. Web users who sign up for a free Student Universe account will receive email notifications about new promotions.
  • Travelosophy: This site offers airfare discounts good for up to one year of travel, making them suitable for students who wish to learn abroad as well as vacationers. The site also offers deals on student-friendly accommodations (i.e., hostels) and travel insurance.
In recent years, several prominent carmakers have introduced discounted rates on new and used vehicles for students; some deals are exclusively offered to those who have recently graduated or are about to finish college, while others are available to enrolled students at any level. Companies benefit from these promotions by reaching out to young men and women as they gain a significant amount of purchasing power for the first times in their lives, while students love these deals because, by the time graduation rolls around, every bit of savings goes a long way.

  • Ford: With the ‘$500 Student Bonus,’ any college graduate or student who is currently enrolled in a degree/certificate program (those attending trade schools or on-the-job training are ineligible) will be given $500 upon purchasing or leasing any 2014-2016 vehicle. Students must be in good academic standing (or received good grades while in school), and the offer is now extended to high school seniors if they can provide proof of fall enrollment This offer is valid through Jan. 5, 2015.
  • General Motors: The College Student Discount Program from General Motors enables students and graduates to save up to thousands of dollars on eligible new and unused Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC models. Students may purchase up to two vehicles per calendar year under the program.
  • Honda: The Honda College Grad Car Financing Program rewards recent master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degree earners with $500 in cash with the purchase of a 2015 or newer, unused Honda automobile, as well as the option to defer payments for up to three months. The offer is valid for all vehicles listed on the Honda website with a graduation cap icon. Graduates must present proof of employment within 120 days and will not be eligible for the promotion if their credit history is adverse.
  • Hyundai: The Hyundai Grad Program is available to any college student who is planning to graduate within the next six months, or has earned a degree within the last two years. Those eligible will be able to purchase any unused 2014-15 Hyundai model with no down-payment, and will receive an additional $400 rebate upon purchasing the vehicle. Buyers may also defer their first payment for up to 90 days. This offer expires on January 4, 2016.
  • Nissan: Under the Nissan College Grad Program, any student who is going to graduate within six months or has earned a degree in the last two years from an accredited two- or four-year institution may receive up to $3,000 off a select 2015 or 2016 Nissan car.
  • Subaru: The Subaru College Graduate Financing Program operates a little differently than other student-friendly carmaker promotions. Students who are set to graduate within six months or have graduated within the last two years from an accredited college or university may be eligible to apply for financing with Subaru and establish credit within their own name. This program exclusively covers unused 2015-16 Subaru models. The maximum financing amount is $25,000; students with adverse credit history will not qualify for the promotion.
  • Toyota: The Toyota College Graduate Finance Program rewards vehicle buyers with a $750 rebate upon the purchase or lease of a new and unused Toyota model. The program is exclusively available to graduates who will graduate in the next six months or have earned their degree within the last two years. Interested students should visit their local Toyota dealer or call (800) GO-TOYOTA for a list of models covered under the program.
  • Zipcar: For graduates who would rather not purchase a vehicle, Zipcar offers a solid alternative: self-service access to compact cars 24 hours a day without actually owning one. For a low hourly rate (which factors in gas and insurance), clients can utilize a Zipcar for as long as they wish. Zipcar operates in nearly 200 cities in 39 U.S. states (as well as the District of Columbia), and many of the company’s storage facilities are located on or near college campuses.
“Good student discounts” have enabled college students across the country to insure their vehicles and use them during the course of their education. These discounts reward students for their good grades by offering full auto coverage at relatively inexpensive premiums; as long as the students maintain good academic standing and avoid collisions or too many traffic fines, the monthly rates will remain low. Here are details about “good student discounts” from five of the country’s top insurance providers.

While most major insurance carriers offer such a discount, these are particularly notable. For each company, provide the following:

  • Allstate: Under the good student discount from Allstate, full-time students 24 years or younger will receive a 20% discount on their monthly premium. Furthermore, the student’s parents will receive a 35% discount on their monthly auto premiums if the student is attending an accredited college or university less than 100 miles from mom and dad’s permanent residence.
  • Esurance: Available in 44 states, the Esurance good student discount is offered to any full-time high school or college student with a GPA of 3.0 or higher (or a “B” average). Those who qualify will save up to 10% on “liability, collision, and medical payments coverages.” Furthermore, a special discount of up to 15% on monthly premiums is awarded to current students and alumni of Pac-12 schools.
  • Geico: Geico offers a discount for full-time high school and college students between the ages of 16 and 25 that earn a “B” average. Although the discount rate will vary, depending on the state and the policyholders driving history, students can save up to 15% on their premiums and other coverage expenses.
  • Nationwide: Full-time high school and college students (ages 16-24) may qualify for the Nationwide good student discount if they earn a “B” average or higher; homeschooled students may also qualify with standardized test scores if they are within the top 20%. The discount can result in savings of up to 15% on monthly premiums.
  • State Farm: High school and college students may qualify for a discount of up to 25% under the State Farm good student discount, and eligible students will also save money after they graduate until they turn 25. Additionally, student drivers who avoid traffic citations and at-fault collisions for three years under a State Farm policy will receive a “Good Driver” discount of 10%.