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Before You Student Travel Planning

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Before you travel, do some student travel planning -- life on the road will be easier if you know what you need and at least a little about where you're going, what you're doing, how you'll get there and where you can stay. Read a complete student travel planning roundup -- this is Student Travel 101.

Get documents you need for student travel

Before you start your student travel, you'll probably need a passport, and you may need a tourist visa, an international work visa, immunizations records and an international health certificate, an international driver's license and more. Learn what travel documents you will and may need for student travel, how and where to get them before you travel, what to do with travel document copies and how much they will cost.

Learn about student travel safety and health

Student travel is as safe as you make it; in the words of one veteran traveler, "Stay safe but don't stay home!" And, with a few precautions, you'll be as healthy when you travel as you are at home. Learn about student travel safety and staying healthy on the road, and get a few health and safety tips just for for women travelers.

Learn how to pack

Hopping continents while hauling mounds of luggage is a gigantic drag. Want to breeze through countries? Pack light, pack smart: read a short packing tutorial. Read tons of travel gear reviews from your Student Travel Guide (that would be me, and I've used or worn everything I review and/or recommend), too.

Decide where you're going

You've got the whole world on your map. Europe has been student travel central forever, and for good reason. London, Paris and Rome remain the Big Three student travel cities-to-see, but consider less crowded student travel destinations, like Russia, as well. Mexico is moving on to student travelers' radar screens, and the US presents great student travel opportunitites -- think Austin or New York, for example. Get off the beaten path, too -- just veer off the main road and you're there.

Decide if you're working, studying, volunteering or just traveling

Learn about the pluses of getting a job or volunteering as part of your student travel, or learn the downlow on educational travel -- semester at sea programs, student travel tour groups (like Explorica), TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language), exchange student travel programs or just plain study abroad (where, how and with whom). You may want to think about how you'll pay for your student travel, too - scholarships, grants, a job overseas?

Learn about how to get there

You can hop a plane, take the train or ride a bus -- and you can get student discounts while you're traveling with Amtrak, Greyhound, RailEurope, major airlines -- you name it. Drill down (below or in destinations) to in-country buses globally and tiny budget airlines -- even learn about taxis in specific countries. And besides the links below, learn about student travel with "Driving and Car Travel" and "Board a Boat" -- student road trip tips and all about ferries and student-oriented cruises,and read Getting Ready for Air Travel.

Think about where you're staying

You have roughly a zillion accommodations choices for your student travel. Youth hostels, of course, are great places to stay -- you'll meet other student travelers and hostels are just for you. Consider camping, too, or compare prices on pods, b and b's and budget hotels. And don't worry too much about lodging -- just use your accommodations as a place to hang your pack while you find adventure.

Communicate while you travel

Phones, snail mail and the internet will help you make the most of your student travel -- you need a way to communicate with parents or teachers while you travel, and you may need emergency in-country contacts. Find the best student travel communication options: global cell phones, SIM cards, GSM and satellite phones, wifi, internet cafes and email. And remember: for the most part, put your phone away and resist email -- you're on the adventure of a lifetime.

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