5 tips for student travel

Steph Kent

Don’t be intimidated by travelling (and its costs) – a trip to somewhere new, whether to the other side of the province or the world, will be something you’ll never forget.

Get out there on a student budget with these five tips.

1Book early, book direct

As a student, the times when you can travel are pretty predictable. Save money by booking your transport and accommodations as far ahead as possible. Some flights start increasing their prices as early as three months before take-off.

Use your student label to save money, too. Some train lines offer student tickets or discount cards, for example.

If you can’t book that far ahead, keep an eye out for deals and sales. For flying, Google.ca/flights and skyscanner.ca can help you find the cheapest tickets and can set up alerts to watch for falling prices.

Once you find the best price, try booking directly with the travel provider. They’ll often give you the best deal and include perks like free meals.

2Hostels are your friend (finder)

Skip the price of a hotel room and the dice roll of Airbnb: book a hostel instead. A good hostel is safe, clean and built with travellers in mind.

They’re cheap, and though you’ll be sharing a room with others, you’ll probably only be there to sleep and check Facebook. A good hostel will also have some combination of lounges, kitchens, and pubs/bars, along with a helpful front desk with travel resources and discounts on food, tours, or affiliated hostels.

If you’re travelling alone or with a small group, it’s easy to make friends from around the world with your roommates or at the breakfast table.

Check out hostelworld.com for rates and reviews of hostels around the world, but remember to check if there’s perks for booking direct.

3Sleep on the go and wake up ready

Combine transport and bed by booking overnight travel.

It may not be the comfiest, but you do save on accommodation for a night and save your waking hours for enjoying yourself in whatever place you wake up in.

Some trains and busses are made for overnight travel and include pillows, beds, and no disturbances.

4Prepare yourself, know your destination

Do some basic research about where you’re going. Travel.gc.ca has travel warnings and basics about every country, updated regularly. Do a quick Google search for tourist scams, maps, and transit options as well.

UW’s undergrad and grad student health insurance covers out-of-province travel, just make sure to visit studentcare.ca for the documents you need.

Make sure you can order food, drinks, and directions to the bathroom, train station, and accommodations. Print back up copies of your tickets and map to accommodations just in case you lose your phone, too.

5Pack light, travel light, live easy

If you’re planning to stay at more than one location during your trip, ditch the wheelie bag. They’re heavy, the wheels get stuck, and you’ll still have to lug it up stairs.

Instead, pack only the necessities in a backpack. You’ll have your arms free to deal with tickets or eat on the go. A backpack is also easier to stash in overhead compartments or lockers. If it’s small enough, you can even skip checked baggage altogether.

At the very least, you need your passport and a credit card.


Grab a friend or travel on your own, but get out there this summer and discover someplace new.


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