Travel Tips for Students: Booking Flights and Hotels

One of the best things that you can do to educate yourself is to travel.  One thing that I realized when I visited countries outside of the United States was the fact that we are so sheltered and that the average American does not really know what the world outside is like – aside from what we can see on CNN, that is.  And even though we can be exposed to world news, there is nothing like actually being in a foreign country and experiencing a different way of life, even for just a short while.

When planning a trip outside of the U.S. one of the main concerns of students is the budget – been there, done that.  I have found that the biggest expense you would have to pay is normally the airfare.  If you are going to a developing country, your hotel would not cost all that much.  Here are some travel tips on how to find the best deals on your flight and hotel.

Be flexible

This principle applies to both flights and hotels.  When booking your flights, think about the cheapest time of the year and the cheapest day of the week to fly and then work your plans around them.  For example, the height of summer would be the most expensive time to travel so why not consider going a bit early or a bit late so that you can get better prices?  More so, I have found out that certain days of the week have lower prices – Tuesday or Wednesday I think.  Flying on the weekend is always more expensive while flying out on Sunday or Monday will be sure to burn a hole in your pocket.  Of course, different airline would have different rules – just do your research and find the cheapest deal.

As for hotels, the same thing applies for the off peak and peak season.  So in planning your trip, consider the month of the year and you will be dealing with both your flight and hotel cost. 

Buy in bulk, buy early

Let’s talk about the first part – buying in bulk.  Though it does not always apply, you may be able to get group discounts if you course your flight purchase through a travel agent.  The same thing is possible with hotel rooms.  Of course, if you are traveling in a group, you can always share hotel rooms, which is always easier on the budget.

Another thing, if you are traveling from one destination to another, it is always better to book the different legs of the trip in one go.  This is because you will probably end up paying the same amount for a one way ticket as with a round trip ticket.  So you might as well pay for the return ticket and save money while you’re at it.
How about buying early?  The general rule is that the longer you put off buying your ticket or booking a hotel room, the more you would have to pay.  The opposite scenario also applies sometimes – the earlier you book your flight or your hotel room, the less you pay.  I have to admit that this isn’t always the case, though.  Sometimes, you’d pay the same amount, sometimes more – depending if the airline suddenly feels nice and carries out a promotional campaign.  I would say this is a matter of timing.

Do your homework

If there is one thing that I would like to share when it comes to traveling and booking flights and hotels, it is this: do some research and then do more.  Each trip I have gone on, I did research for at least a month.  This gave me the chance to explore the myriads of possibilities regarding airlines, hotels, hostels, food, local culture, and more.  It enabled me to learn a bit about the place I was going to and that made my experience all the more exciting.  Doing research helped me find out the different airlines that service the place, the best hotels, the most affordable hotels, and more.  My advice to you is to do some legwork while you are still at home.  Visit forums, official web sites, travel web sites, and whatever you can find.  You’ll find that it is all worth it. Nevertheless, you should also consider buying a travel insurance.