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Students in Europe

Student tours, student IDs for travelers, and student airfares

I love study abroad programs. It's how I managed to spend my adolescence in Europe (Dad taught on one), how I started off in my career (got paid for a newspaper column about my experiences on my own junior year abroad), and how I met the love of my life (on that college study abroad year).

The best resources for traveling students are, for Americans, the Council on International Educational Exchange (, for Canadians Travel CUTS (, and for Brits Campus Travel (

On the road, whenever you have to pay for something, blurt out "Studente?" in a questioning voice with a smile and flash your ISIC. This is the international signal for "Hey, gimme a discount if there is one."

One thing you should definitely get is the student traveler's best European friend, the International Student Identity Card ( It's the only officially acceptable form of student identification, good for cut rates on railpasses, plane tickets, and other discounts. It also provides you with basic health and life insurance and a 24-hour help line.

If you're no longer a student but are still under 26 you can get an International Youth Identity Card from the same people, which will get you the insurance and some of the discounts (but not student admission prices in museums).

For more on using student travel agencies to get cheap, open-ended plane tickets, see my page on Student Air Fares.

Council on International Educational Exchange ( - CIEE is the preeminent organization devoted to American students studying abroad (and their professors). Among other services, they issue the official International Student Identity Cards (ISIC) — the only student ID accepted everywhere as proof of student status (many museums and travel agents in Europe will not accept your home university ID).

Contiki Holidays ( - Bus tours for ages 18 to 35 only—and the participants partying their way through Europe tend toward the lower end of that demographic.


Intrepid Travel

This article was last updated in January 2007. All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2010 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.