What student travel discounts are:
If you're between 12-26, the travel industry considers you a student traveler and you are eligible for student travel discounts. Travel companies from Rail Europe to Greyhound offer student travel discounts -- here's the love:
Student travel ID and discount cards:
Several student travel ID cards, like ISIC, exist which can provide student travel discounts on everything from travel itself to books and movies. Flashing a student travel ID card at sightseeing sites around the world can often earn you a student travel discount, even if no student travel discounts are advertised.
Student airfares are generally available to student travelers under 26 who are enrolled in school. Student airfares always represent some kind of student travel discount and may give you huge discounts over regular airfares. Student airfares are also generally far more flexible than regular tickets. STA and Student Universe are two examples of student travel agencies offering true student airfares.
Train discounts for students:
Eurail and Amtrak are among the train travel companies offering student travel discounts. Rail Europe provides a straightforward way to find and buy European train passes on Eurail trains at a student travel discount. Amtrak offers promotions for student travelers. National trains, like the UK's train systems, may limit student travel discounts to locals (buy a UK pass instead).
Bus discounts for students:
Student travelers can get discounts on Greyhound, the US national bus service, with a Student Advantage Card. Hop on, hop off bus services like Busabout, the European bus service, offer promotions, but are really geared toward student travelers to begin with. Cheap buses, like Chinatown buses or Megabus, may offer specials, but, again, are the the cheap way you may want to travel anyway -- no frills, lots of savings.
Student accommodation discounts:
Student accommodation discounts are hard to find -- hostels, the most popular student accommodations, don't really offer discounts, though hostel discount cards exist and promotions can be found in off season (i.e. winter in Europe). Find out about hostel discounts, but look into alternative lodging to get a real deal on student accommodations.
Spring break deals:
Spring break offers special discounts and student travel discounts just for spring break, but some advertised spring break deals are just an easy way to book student travel in one stop shopping without offering any real deals. That's okay -- lots of folks use advertsied spring break deals to find spring break trips; if you do too, you'll be where some action is. You can also find your own spring break deals using student airfares and student lodging.
Group tour discounts:
If you're a graduate student or teacher and passed the 12-26 age bracket but still love casual travel with young people, learn how to lead a group tour with student group travel outfits EF Tours or Explorica. It's easier than you think -- the company does a whole lot of the work before and during trips and you just need to research which company and where to go, gather a group and convey info. And travel for free -- a discount you can live with.
Beware "Student Discounts":
Not all "student discounts" are that -- some are just a plain package repackaged with "student" tacked on. A "student discount" on a cell phone might be no better than your current deal and might be worse than a normal deal on international cell phones. Airlines may offer weaksauce "student travel discounts" -- compare them using aggregators and student airfare finders. About's Student Travel has research -- find what you need in the left hand links on this page and learn before buying.
Watch the Student Travel blog:
When we're not traveling, we're looking for the deals and discounts for student travelers, flashpackers, gap year travelers, adventure seekers, independent travelers and backpackers. If any of those travel styles describe you, regardless of your age, watch the Student Travel blog -- when a deal or discount that suits you and your travel M.O. is spotted, it gets posted pronto.
"You can't appreciate home till you've left it, money till it's spent..."
-- O. Henry