Travel & Living Abroad Resources
We combed the internet to find the best online resources for your studies and travels abroad. If you have come across other websites or resources that have been helpful to you, send them our way and we will add them to the list.
Hotels and Hostels
You don’t have to stay in a hostel to have cheap accommodations, make sure you check out two and three star hotels in the cities you visit. If you share a room at a reasonably priced hotel, you will probably spend the same amount of money, not to mention you may be in a better part of town. The upside of hostels are the laid back, cheap travel oriented community they offer, with other young adults proffering advice and companionship (which can be helpful and safer if you are traveling solo).
http://www.hostelworld.com/ and http://www.hostelbookers.com/ and http://www.hostelz.com/ are the most comprehensive websites for hostel listings and reservation services. Before you book a hostel on one of the hostel websites, email the hostel yourself. Sometimes you will get a lower rate. However, make sure you do your homework on the hostel, and check out each of these websites for price and reviews. Hostelworld.com is the most extensive and helpful in that it has an extensive amount of reviews and compiles reviews to create an up-to-date list of the “top hostels of the month.” Hostelworld.com is most similar to tripadvisor.com, and reviews are very helpful and enlightening. In addition, check out the hostelworld.com’s new section which lets users (who have an account) upload their trip itinerary and search other users’ trip itineraries. Users comment on their trips and offer useful travel advice.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ Every traveler should check out this website and use it as much as possible. It is simply the most extensive collection of traveler reviews, anywhere. My favorite parts are the hotel reviews and the forums.
http://www.budgettravel.com/bt-dyn/content/article/2006/10/02/AR2006100200403_2.html Budgettravel, the website offshoot of the American travel magazine, provides insightful articles about cost-conscious vacations. This link is to an article about “50 Utterly Charming Hotels for Around $100.” The article outlines and describes these 50 hotels, organized by country. Make sure you cross reference any hotel you read about on tripadvisor.com and other user review websites.
http://budgettravel.com/bt-dyn/content/article/2005/06/04/AR2005060400890_4.html This budgettravel article outlines the “Secret Hotels of Rome.” It goes through 20 hotels for around $80 a night. You don’t always have to stay in a hostel to find cheap lodging.
http://www.budgettravel.com/bt-dyn/content/article/2007/08/07/AR2007080700906.html This budgettravel article outlines the “39 Affordable Hotel Chains Only the Locals Know.” It goes through international hotel chains you may have never heard of, that are very reasonably priced. You can save a lot of money by being more informed of local or regional travel chains and brands.
Travelers have come before you and are out there right now travelling and documenting their adventures. Use their insight and research to plan and execute the best vacations and getaways you can. Especially when youonly have a weekend or a few days to explore a city, check out these blogs, which provide invaluable insight into everything from city guides to the best hotels, to itineraries and dining options to keep your travels on a budget but unforgettable.
http://www.eurocheapo.com/ Check out the Budget Travel Blog section of this website, it has great ideas for cheap souvenirs in different cities. The website also keeps you up to date with European train schedules and sales. The website has a great team of correspondents and a constantly updated stream of content. Also, check out their “Favorite Hotels” section for reviews a la Frommers, but for the more budget minded traveler.
http://www.europealacarte.co.uk/blog/ This is a great blog for travelers with a modest budget.
http://www.travel-rants.com/ A general travel website, but with excellent content and navigable articles.
http://matadorabroad.com/ A great website with advice, informative articles and content, as well as a handy “Trip Ideas” section.
http://www.budgettrouble.com/ A blog from a freelance writer who travels on a budget and keeps track of stories, photos, and travel memories from around the world.
http://www.roughguides.com/ This is the website for the eponymous paperback travel books that include travel recommendations from shoestring to luxury and cover more than 200 destinations around the globe, including almost every country in the Americas and Europe, more than half of Africa and most of Asia and Australasia. The website gives users a glimpse of the content contained in the books.
http://nobudgettravel.wordpress.com/ A great blog from a prolific traveler who has lived overseas for more than six years and has chronicled her travel tips.
http://alexrobertsontextor.typepad.com/ Author chronicles his travels throughout the world as well as industry updates, like low cost airlines, hotels and cruises for the budget conscious.
Air Travel Resources
Most major airlines have student fares and discounts on their websites, but you may have to be signed up to get the deals, or you may just have to do some digging. Plus, most of the workd, other than the United States, has a bevy of low cost airlines that can ferry you safely from one far flung destination to another at ridiculously low fares. With trains and low cost airlines, there is no reason not to get out and explore. Here are some links that may be helpful for booking air travel.
https://generationfly.com/ Lufthansa’s student discount website.
http://www.airfarewatchdog.com/Home/tabid/36/Default.aspx Is one of my favorite websites. The founder, a travel industry veteran, started this newsletter and blog which is capturing the attention of travelers with timely insight on sometimes rock-bottom, unadvertised airfares. Several sections are worth noting, especially the “Fare of the Day” section, which gives you the latest bargain finds, both domestic and international. Some of these are missed by the other websites as the website monitors some off the beaten track airlines like Allegiant, Southwest, Spirit and a lot of the international carriers. Although this website does not have the international airport to international airport fares focus, if you are flying within the United States, or are flying from the US abroad, this website is a great tool.
The two largest discount student travel sellers are STA Travel Inc. and StudentUniverse.com Inc. They negotiate cheaper fares from airlines for students and teachers, and get airlines to relax many rules and restrictions on those tickets as well. The flexibility can yield huge savings if you want to stay abroad for several months or want a one-way ticket to get to school because you don’t know when your exam schedule will allow you to come home at Christmas.
STA Travel requires that students purchase a $22 International Student Identity Card (there’s a version for teachers, too) that verifies their status for one year. The card offers discounts beyond airfare, and is sometimes required for study aboard programs. STA Travel sells the card, and requires purchasers fax or email a copy of a valid student ID, a current class schedule or a tuition receipt to the company for verification.
StudentUniverse doesn’t require an ISIC card and instead has developed a proprietary system to automatically verify a student or teacher’s eligibility for the discounts, based in part on student and faculty email addresses.
http://www.attitudetravel.com/lowcostairlines/europe/ This website contains the most complete compilation of low cost air carriers, with a description of the major cities each airlines flies from and to as well as a helpful airline map. Don’t forget to check out their specials area, where they track sales and discounts on the low cost air carriers: http://www.attitudetravel.com/lowcostairlines/europe/offers.html .
http://www.voyages-sncf.com/leisure/fr/launch/home/ This is the main website for travelers who are traveling from or through France. SNCF is the national railroad system in France, but this website contains hundreds of all or partially inclusive vacation deals. You will find the best deals for vacations and train tickets in the last minute, or “dernière minute,” sections, where vacations and train tickets can be discounted up to 80%. You can search by destination country, length of visit, departure city, and departure dates and month.
http://opodo.com/ Opodo is a leading pan-European online travel company specializing in worldwide travel. It was founded by nine of Europe’s airlines and is now managed by a technology company. The company has websites for nine different countries, and some of their offerings are tailored to the different countries, so check your departure country’s website as well as your destination country’s website (if one or both are available) to get the best deals. Check the late deals section for the best deals.
http://www.travel.com.au/ Australian site offering round-the-world deals, stop-over packages, activity holidays and more.
http://www.skyscanner.net/ Searches airline and travel sites for cheapest flights between European cities; to and from a wide range of regional airports; and worldwide from Britain. Most fun area, if you are flexible, is the “Need Inspiration” links on the home page, which lets you search for deals in a very flexible manner.
http://www.mobissimo.com/search_airfare.php Mobissimo is a travel search engine that indexes over 180 travel sites. It searches and compares prices from online travel agencies around the world, traditional airlines, low cost airlines and consolidators. The company doesn’t sell tickets but takes a cut from transactions for which it generated the lead. Check out the Mobiblog for travel headlines, as well as the deals section, where the website uncovers some really great, sometimes off the beaten path ideas.
If you are less interested in a full blown study abroad experience and more interested in a short term language program, check out these websites. There are thousands of language programs around the world, and these will help you narrow your search to the one that is right for you on the right budget.
www.language-learning.net This is a great resource for those looking for language courses or programs. The website includes some 6,000 listings. The site searches possible programs based on a variety of categories, in 20 languages. In addition, the site has an additional search area for parents looking for international boarding schools. The language program section is the most complete, however.
www.worldwide.edu This website lists intensive language programs and programs suitable for K-12 students through adults. The site also includes a “Travel Planner” section offering lots of links.
General Study Abroad Resources
There are a lot of helpful websites that can help you in your search for the perfect study abroad program, as well as the best resources for working abroad after your study abroad experience or even working in the United States, with your study abroad experience guiding your selection. Check out these links to help winow your search for the right study abroad program and post study abroad experience.
http://www.glimpse.org/ Glimpse is a website about real life abroad. It features stories by young Americans living overseas – interesting stories, surprising stories, stories that make you think. Glimpse content is user-generated and professionally edited, giving contributors the chance to hone their journalism skills with National Geographic editors and readers the opportunity to learn about the world through the eyes of their peers. Glimpse is the place where young adults who think, act, and live globally share their stories. Although not specifically targeted towards study abroad students, the content is from young adults, many of whom are studying abroad or who have significant advice and insights into local cultures and cities that would be helpful to any study abroad student.
http://www.abroadview.org/webzine/index.htm Features first-hand reports written by students and recent graduates. The aim of Abroad View is to encourage education abroad and the acquisition of foreign languages, as well as to promote global awareness and cross-cultural understanding. Published by the non-profit Abroad View Foundation, all issues are available free online. The large amount of online content, as diverse as career and fellowship advice for post-abroad life, as well as the online lectures and resources for global citizenship, this website has a host of interesting and thought-provoking content.
http://www.transitionsabroad.com/ The website is unique in its coverage of all education abroad options, from study abroad to educational travel. Offers full and free access to its vast online database of annotated resources and first-hand reports compiled by international education specialists and program participants over the past 30 years.
www.iiepassport.org The Institute of International Education (IIE) publishes the most comprehensive data on study and work abroad programs. The website has a user-friendly search engine which lets you find the program characteristics you’re interested in, such as location and language of instruction. The site also includes the entire contents of the IIE books Academic Year Abroad and Vacation Study Abroad. This site is ideal for students and administrators.
www.cafeabroad.com Café Abroad is a student-driven enterprise that comprises a weekly online newsmagazine, a quarterly print publication distributed to more than 320 study abroad offices, and a global community of thousands of study abroad students. It is a great resource for country and city specific research.
www.goabroad.com. This is a comprehensive and up-to-date education abroad web site with excellent search provisions. The site also provides resources for programs to intern, teach, and volunteer abroad, among other things.
www.studyabroad.com This general website lists study abroad programs as well as special databases for language courses and internships/volunteer programs. The site’s information is limited to location and subject.
www.cie.uci.edu The University of California-Irvine has compiled extensive directories of study abroad, summer programs, internships, research, teaching, volunteering and work abroad programs with links to many other education abroad web sites. A great site for research.
internationalcenter.umich.edu/swt/index.html The University of Michigan’s International Center’s Overseas Opportunities Office and the Abroad Editor from Transitions Abroad Work, William Nolting, have compiled a collection of outstanding articles, annotated links, and print resources for study, work, and travel abroad, including in-depth reports on work abroad options.
www.globaled.us/wwcu/ This website links to university and international office web sites. The listings are organized by country. However, http://www.webometrics.info/ contains ranking information for the colleges and universities worldwide
http://www.campustelecom.it and http://www.webpuccino.it are the best online resources for wireless services in Italy. The websites are comprehensive and a great resource if you are thinking of studying abroad in Italy.