“I am so convinced of the advantages of looking at mankind instead of reading about them, and of the bitter effects of staying at home with all the narrow prejudices of an Islander, that I think there should be a law amongst us to set our young men abroad for a term among the few allies our wars have left us.” – Lord Byron
The quote above is very apt…if only Lord Byron knew that foreign travel would cost so much! But,there are ways for youngsters to go out and see the world without paying a King’s ransom. Here are some of the ways:
Cheap Air Tickets. When you think of cheap air tickets, low cost carriers or airlines come to mind. So, if you are travelling from India to South East Asia , Middle East and Far East you can consider low cost carriers like Indigo, AirAsia, Tiger Airways and FlyDubai etc. But did you know that many times full cost airlines come out with deals that are as cheap and sometimes cheaper than LCCs to fly to these destinations and also others. The trick is to search and compare these airfares and book them. You can also hack airfares by visiting travel forums like FlyerTalk and Milepoint and getting information on “glitch” fares (mistake fares e.g. $50 instead of $500) or other deals.
Other Affordable Modes of Transport. While international travel is mostly done by air, internal travel in a region or country can be done by train, buses or by cars. In this regard, Europe is my favourite, where you have options (besides LCC) like Eurail, buses and ferries. So essentially you can see almost the entire European continent by rail or bus, if it works out cheaper than LCCs like RyanAir and EasyJet.
Cheap Accommodation. Besides cheap hotels, the youth should try hostels which have bunk beds or dormitories. You can search for and book your accommodation in over 4000 hostels over the world by going to HostelsInternational (HI) website. The advantage of membership with HI is discounts at the hostels as also discounts and free entries to various attractions and events. Another website for searching hostel accommodation is HostelsWorld. If hostels is not your thing, then consider couchsurfing, where you can stay, usually for free – the couch literally is not so…it can be a spare room, bed and so on. Just register on the couchsurfing website, provide as many details about you to gain trust and begin searching for your stay. If you list your spare room / bed / couch on the site, your chances of getting a free stay increases. Bed & breakfasts are yet another form of affordable accommodation. There are many sites which list B&Bs, but the best among them is AirBnB which has 500,000 listings in over 34,000 cities in the world – now that’s a network! Search and compare based on location and pricing as also facilities offered by the host. So if you are a group of friends, you can book an entire apartment for yourself, cook in the kitchen provided and do laundry too all for a small amount.
International Student Identity Card (ISIC). The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is the only internationally accepted proof of student status which is certified by UNESCO. The ISIC card offers discounts not only for travel, but also for stuff like apparel, software, books and more. You need to be full-time student aged 12 years or more to get the ISIC card. There are over 4.5 million card holders in the world and it is valid in 124 countries. At present there are more than 41,000 discounts and benefits all over the world, ranging from 60% off on MS Office (go get it now!) to free entries to museums and more. In India, you can get it at http://www.isic.co.in