When you’re a student on a budget, world travel might seem like something that’s far out of reach, but it doesn’t have to be! There are lots of websites that cater to student travelers on a tight budget.
Once you book a discounted flight, you’ll likely need a hotel. While you can search the traditional online travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline, or Orbitz, you might want to check out some sites that offer discounts specifically to students.
In spite of the name, CheapOair offers hotels in addition to flights. To access the student section of the website, select More in the top menu bar, then select Student Travel.
You can easily sort your search results list by price, plus, you can set a budget so you’ll only see hotels and hostels that fit in your price range.
Watch out for service fees with CheapOair. There can be fees of up to $42 per night per room, however, that’s not always the case, so it’s still a site worth checking out.
For more information, check out our guide to CheapOair.
Pros & Cons of CheapOair
- It’s easy to filter search results by a specific budget
- Service fees on select bookings
Hot Tip: When looking at hostels, keep in mind that the price is per person, unlike a hotel room which can usually accommodate up to 3 or 4 people at the same price.
StudentUniverse is a travel website geared toward students. However, you do not need to be a student or even under the age of 26 (as is the requirement when booking flights) to book a hotel room through StudentUniverse.
While there’s a free membership available that includes special deals, being a member isn’t required to use the site. If you don’t want to join, just be sure to select “Continue As Guest” when prompted to log in. You can also save money by keeping an eye out for discounts and coupon codes right on the site.
StudentUniverse offers both hotels and hostels. After you start a search, you can choose to see only hotels or only hostels by checking the boxes at the left side of the screen.
Since this site caters to youth travel and offers lots of hostels, the prices you see are per person, not per room! We found that even when looking at a hotel and not a hostel, the prices listed were still per person.
Also, be sure to pay attention to the details of your booking — change and cancellation policies will vary by location.
Pros and Cons of StudentUniverse
- You don’t have to be a student to book most hotels through the site
- Coupons and discounts available
- Some pricing is only available to members
- Some deals require you to be a student
Hot Tip: A great time to start building your credit is when you are a student. When you start using credit responsibly from a young age, you will build a solid credit history, which gives you access to some great travel rewards cards down the line. If you’re looking for a starter card, consider a no-fee cash-back card like the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. You can earn 1.5% cash-back on every purchase you make. Or, choose a credit card that is specifically for students. Whatever credit card you use, just be sure to pay off your bill in full and on time every month!
UNiDAYS is a website that provides information and discounts for all types of products and services including Fashion, Health & Fitness, Beauty, Lifestyle, Food & Drink, Technology, and Sports & Media.
You have to sign up with your email address to use any of the discounts offered, and you MUST be a student. You’ll find the travel section under Lifestyle in the main search bar at the top of the page.
At the time of writing, we found the following discounts on accommodations available through UNiDAYS:
- Up to 40% off at Hotels.com
- 20% off Vrbo
- 8% off hotels from Expedia
Pros and Cons of UNiDays
- Discounts are available on more than just travel
- You have to create an account to take advantage of any of the deals offered
- You must be a student
StudentRate is a website that lists lots of different student deals in a single spot. The site includes discounts and information about things like style, technology, textbooks, money, and more.
The deals and discounts offered by StudentRate vary and can change at any time. At the time of writing, offers include:
- Up to 7% cash-back at Orbitz
- 4% cash-back at Hotels.com
- 10% off at Motel 6
Other Travel Deals:
- 20% off a Budget car rental
- No underage fee and 10% off at Hertz
- 25% off at Avis car rental
- Save $10 at Zipcar
You might notice that there is also a hotel room search bar on the Travel page. When you enter your search criteria here, you will be transferred to Kayak, a metasearch engine, to continue your search for a hotel. While Kayak is a fantastic tool to search for hotels, flights, rental cars, and more, you won’t find any special student discount on the site.
Pros and Cons of StudentRate
- Lots of discounts and deals that will appeal to students and young adults
- No special student rates above and beyond the select deals offered
Bottom Line: You don’t need to be a student to use StudentRate, but you do need to create an account to take advantage of the offers and cash-back deals.
Hostelworld is a website offering over 36,000 properties across 170 countries around the world. While the site isn’t specifically dedicated to students, students are a common clientele of hostels, so this is a good place to look for super budget-friendly accommodations.
Hostelworld does not have a price match guarantee, but it does offer a confirmed bookings guarantee. In the unlikely event that your booking can’t be found at the time of check-in, Hostelworld will give your deposit back, plus $50 to use towards a future booking.
You must contact Hostelworld within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival to make a claim. If you are awarded credit, it is only valid for 6 months.
Pros & Cons of Hostelworld
- Large selection of hostels
- Booking guarantee
- No discounts specifically for students
Bottom Line: Hostelworld isn’t geared specifically toward students, but it offers low pricing on shared accommodations — perfect for students on a tight budget!
6. ISIC Card
ISIC stands for International Student Identity Card. This card identifies you as a student and lets you access over 150,000 discounts and deals in 130 countries.
There are 3 types of cards available from ISIC:
- International Student Identity Card (ISIC) — For full-time students ages 12 and over
- International Youth Travel Card (IYTC) — Available to any traveler under 30 years old (sometimes eligibility is limited to under 26 years old)
- International Teacher Identity Card (ITIC) — For full-time teachers and professors
Cards cost $4 to $25 depending on the country of issue.
Most deals are for products and services related to travel, like food, tours, insurance, and transportation. But ISIC does offer some discounts on hotels and hostels.
To access deals for accommodations, click on Discounts in the top toolbar and then select Accommodation. Even after filtering, this results list shows more than just accommodations, so you’ll have to do a little searching to see what’s available.
Pros & Cons of ISIC
- Large selection of accommodation discounts
- The ISIC card costs money to get
- Discounts are only available for students, travelers under 30, or full-time teachers or professors
Bottom Line: You can sign up for your ISIC card online to start saving on travel and travel-related products and services. If you are not a student but are still under 30 years old, look for an International Youth Travel Card (IYTC). If you’re a teacher or professor, check out the International Teacher Identity Card (ITIC).
If you are a student on a budget, you might think that traveling is out of reach — but it doesn’t have to be! There are websites that cater directly to students looking for a deal.
Check out CheapOair, StudentUniverse, UNiDAYS, StudentRate, and Hostelworld for student discounts.
Also, look into getting an ISIC card to access even more discounts on travel.
Some of these deals are available if you are a young traveler (under 26 or 30 years old depending on the website), so they are worth checking out even if you aren’t a student.
As always, do some price comparisons before you book and make sure you fully understand your reservation’s cancellation policy since these can vary greatly between properties.
Traveling as a student can be life-changing, create memories, and spark a lifelong love of seeing the world. Regardless of your budget, you can make it happen. Happy travels!