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International travel

Student travel offices

Start with your university student travel office (eg STA Travel) if there is one. It will have heaps of good advice on student travel deals, insurance etc. STA has a very good website (www.statravel.co.uk) which can help you plan your trip, fix appointments with travel consultants and sell you cheap air tickets, student/youth deals or an ISIC card.

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You will find countless cheap flights advertised on the web and in the press; Google throws up loads of interesting/complex round-the-world ticket deals. You should be able to get student reductions with a valid ISIC card – check your student travel office for what’s available.

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You can cut the costs of travel by train in 30 European countries with an inter-rail pass. You can buy a pass for all countries (for a minimum of £154, if you are under 25, for five days’ travel in a specified ten day period); it is less if you restrict your travel to one country (eg £31 for three days’ travel in Bulgaria, in a specified month). Check out details or buy a pass on the Rail Europe website (www.raileurope.co.uk) or on the Inter-rail site (www.interrailnet.com).

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There is good, cheap coach travel to destinations in Europe and you may get a discount if you are under 26. See the Eurolines website, www.eurolines.co.uk.

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International travel notes

There’s a wealth of information around but here are some key points to keep your eye on.

Foreign Office travel advice. To check on the situation in the countries you plan to visit, look at the Foreign Office website (www.fco.gov.uk). It has country-by-country travel advice, which is excellent and up-to-date, and lots of general advice on drugs, terrorism etc in countries where there are serious dangers to young travellers.

Money. In some countries, ATMs are widespread and work well; in others you would be best taking travellers’ cheques, maybe in dollars, maybe sterling. Check in guidebooks specific to the countries you are visiting.

Student card. You will need an ISIC card to get any student discounts abroad (www.isiccard.com). If you are on a gap year, you can get an ISIC card as soon as you have a confirmed offer of a university place.

Hostels. You will find cheap accommodation in youth hostels throughout most of the world. Membership of Hostelling International gives you access to 4000 youth hostels in 80 countries; find out more from its website (www.hihostels.com).

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