Guess what . . . You don’t have to win the lottery to fulfill your dream of visiting the Mayan ruins in Guatemala or of going on a gondola ride in Venice. Your young-adult years are supposed to be a time of exploration and adventure, so start thinking beyond weekend road trips. Here are a few tips to help your traveling dreams become a reality.


Student Universe and the Student Travel Association (STA) are two companies that cater to college students by offering travel discounts. Both companies have discounted airfares, and they also offer discounts for hostels, hotels, rental cars, bus passes, tickets to tourist attractions, and much more. STA offers discounts to students as well as anyone under the age of twenty-six. For non-student travelers, try the travel website Vayama. It does the work for you by comparing airfares and hotel prices on several travel sites, helping you find the best deal available. Vayama also allows you to book flights with multiple stops, just in case you plan to visit several locations.

Tips for Booking Flights

According to Julie Ann Zarbock, international travel agent for Brigham Young University, “The further in advance you know you are going to travel, the better the chance you have of getting a good price.” The best thing to do is to watch airfares over the course of a few weeks and look for trends in price fluctuation. “Generally speaking, airfares go up on the weekends when people have more time to book their flights. You can often find lower prices Tuesday through Thursday.”

Most travel websites have some type of fare-watcher or fare-tracker feature that can be linked to your e-mail account. You simply choose your departure city and arrival city, and it will alert you when prices drop. Remember that non-stop flights are generally more expensive. If you are willing to have a layover or to travel at odd times, you can find better deals. When booking your flight, don’t forget to take into consideration which airlines charge for checked luggage.

Affordable Accommodations

Keep in mind that you don’t need to stay in a Hilton or a Marriott. Your days are going to be filled with exploring and sightseeing at your chosen destination, so all you really need is a comfortable and safe place to spend the night. Most foreign cities have a variety of hostels to choose from. Hostels are generally clean and safe, and most offer a complimentary breakfast.

To find a hostel that is right for you, a great resource is the Hostelling International website, which screens hostels around the world and compiles a “pre-approved list” for you to search through. They also sell discount cards for just $28 to anyone ages 18–54. The cards provide all kinds of traveling discounts for booking hostels, visiting museums, purchasing calling cards, etc.

Best Food

Whether you choose to vacation in Italy, Argentina, or Thailand, the key to finding good, reasonably priced food is to talk with the locals. Ask around for suggestions and stay away from touristy areas where prices tend to be higher. Eating every meal in a restaurant can be pricey, so stop by a local grocery store to stock up on fruits and vegetables, or find a bakery for fresh bread and pastries. When you do eat out, consider making breakfast or lunch your big meal of the day, since dinner prices tend to be significantly higher.

—Julie Davis

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