Whether you’re planning to backpack another continent, thinking about studying or interning abroad or are wanting to get out of town for a week, student travelers have great resources available to them.
Note: Most are geared toward travelers not tourists
Before starting most adventures, the stressful part is figuring out what’s the cheapest, most convenient option for the flight. Skyscanner combats this by comparing over 1000 airlines and millions of flights in minutes.
I’ve typed in flights from Dallas to “everywhere” for a certain time frame, and the site showed me the cheapest options up to a year in advance.
It’s free, convenient, and they have an App. I would recommend this for finding the best flight to your next destination.
If you’ve done any kind of backpacking or poor-college-kid travel, you’ve probably heard about the Couchsurfing network. It’s an online community of travelers who are willing to open up their homes to strangers for a few days for free. If your mind immediately jumps to bad Euro-serial killer films, don’t be worried. I’ve used the site multiple times with no problems. Like with any travel, make sure you do your research, be wary of red flags, and don’t get into taxis with strangers if your dad is Liam Neeson.
Also, don’t just make an account a few days before your trip, message people in the city you want to go and expect instant couches to be available.
With Couchsurfing, you have to establish your credibility. People hosting you don’t know if you’re an innocent student or psychotic killer either. Usually it helps to host a few people and build up good reviews before trying to travel on your own. Make sure you don’t send a copy and paste request. Read people’s profiles and think about why you want to stay with them and what you can share with them. No one wants to feel like a free hostel.
You don’t have to just use the site to crash on someone’s couch either. Couchsurfing features meet-ups where you can get to know locals who will show you the real side of their city.
With tabs for volunteer, study, intern, living and work abroad, this site has something for everyone. They offer articles on everything from finding au pair jobs or teaching ESL to culinary travel and resources for ex-pats. This site will serve you far beyond your years as a student. Also, check out their travel writing contests. You could win up to $500 for a good story.
A similar network to transitions abroad, this site is strictly for travelers, not tourists. The founders launched with the idea to create a
community based not on “airline reservations and hotel rooms” but the real cultures, people, and places we encounter, as well as a broader global discussion of historical, political, and socioeconomic realities that inform our lives as travelers.”
The community produces some of the most fascinating, thought-provoking articles on what it really means to be a traveler and global citizen. They even have courses about travel writing and photography for aspiring artists.
Interpals is the Facebook of cross-cultural relationships. You create a profile, select the countries you’re interested in or languages you want to learn and then connect with thousands of users from all over the world. I’ve met some of my greatest friends on this site (one from Austria, one from France, another from Russia) , and we’ve written letters over the past five years. The German pen pal my best friend met on Interpals has come to stay with her twice.
This year I was lucky enough to be able to meet two of my pen pals in person in Vienna. If you want to meet people from around the world, but don’t have the means to travel, Interpals is a great option to connect with some amazing people.
Note: Once again, be careful because there are plenty of ‘red flaggers’ on the site. Be smart before meeting anyone. I didn’t meet my friends until I’d Skyped and written them for several years.
Thanks for reading and best of travels!