cheap flights for study abroad, how to book cheap flights for study abroad

How to Find Super Cheap Flights For Your Study Abroad Semester

The cost of flying is one of the highest (if not the highest) costs when it comes to traveling. But there are ways to find cheap flights, both from the US and while you’re abroad, especially if you’re a student or youth (under 26). If you know what tools to use and what to look for, you can save a TON of money on air travel. Check out these tips on how to find super cheap flights for your study abroad semester

Cheap flights to your study abroad destination

Your most expensive flight during your study abroad semester will without a doubt be the one to and from the US. But there are ways to get that cost down.

Take advantage of being a student

If you’ve never heard of StudentUniverse, head to their site and bookmark it. StudenUniverse offers discounted airfare to college students, and the discounts can be HUGE. They are especially useful if you need to fly into a city that doesn’t have an international airport and will therefore need to layover, as you can save hundreds of dollars when booking with a student site. STA Travel is a similar company, so check airfares on their site too.

Don’t believe it? We tested it. We searched for a roundtrip flight from NYC to Florence, Italy  (which has a very small, regional airport). We chose the option of only one, non-overnight layover (direct is impossible) on the same dates. The cheapest option we found on Skyscanner was $1,120, but on StudentUniverse it was only $784 — a $336 difference.

Timing is everything

Generally speaking, the earlier you can book your flight abroad, the better the price will be. But fares do fluctuate, so as soon as you know what date you need to arrive to your study abroad destination, create a fare alert (sites like StudentUniverse let you do this). You’ll then receive emails when the cost of flights for your chosen dates increases or decreases. If you see a significant decrease, it may be the right time to book.

Watch those baggage fees

While you’re searching for the best deals on your flights, make sure you keep in mind the baggage fees. One flight may be $50 more expensive than another, but allows you to have two checked bags for free, as opposed to the cheaper flight that will charge you $70 for your second bag (and $140 for round trip… yikes.)

how to find cheap flights for study abroad, cheap airfare for study abroad students, cheap flights for when you study abroad

Finding cheap flights while abroad

Study abroad students are known for being able to find the cheapest flights possible. If you’re studying in Europe, you’re about to enter into a love-hate relationship with budget airlines like Ryan Air, WizzAir, and EasyJet. But no matter where you will be studying, your tool of choice for airfare search should be Skyscanner, because it includes most of those budget airlines in its results. This means you only need to search once to find ALL flights that are available.

Some of our readers have let us know that Lonely Planet can have good deals on flights throughout Central and South America, so if you’re studying there, check out LP’s flight search tool.

Watch out for the extras

Just because a flight on one airline is $30 cheaper than another doesn’t mean it’s the one you should book. Keep an eye out for these infamous, often over-looked extras :

•   Transfers –  Some budget airlines fly into airports that are up to two hours outside of the city center, so you’ll need to purchase a train or bus ticket to get anywhere close to where you’ll be staying.

•   Baggage –  Budget airlines charge for checked bags, and sometimes even for carry-ons. Know what the baggage policy is before you end up having to pay more for your luggage than your actual flight.

•   All the rest  – forgot to print your ticket before getting to the airport? That’ll be €40. Want a glass of water on the plane? You’ll be asked if you want to pay cash or credit. Budget airlines charge for EVERYTHING, so be sure to read over all of the fine print before you book to make sure that the flight is still worth it after all of the fees you may have to pay.

Still not sure about flying budget airlines? This guide will help you survive the experience.


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Cheap flights for study abroad, how to get cheap flights for study abroad

Photos from Pixabay

Jess is the Editor-in-Chief of The Abroad Guide. After studying abroad in Belgium during her junior year of college, she caught the travel bug. Her experiences include volunteering in Nicaragua, backpacking through Europe, and a year-long adventure in Italy, and she's now settled in London.

6 thoughts on “How to Find Super Cheap Flights For Your Study Abroad Semester

  1. Drake

    Another website that is great for finding cheaper flights, at least here in South America, is Lonely Planet. We found round trip tickets from Quito, Ecuador to Cuzco, Peru for $293 (they were $430 when we searched in the USA).

    1. The Abroad Guide

      Nice Drake! It’s powered by Kayak, another great site for flight search. Have you tried to compare prices on there to ones on Student Universe or STA? If not, try it and let us know how each measure up…

      1. Drake

        I have actually. For the same flights from Quito to Cuzco they were $318 on STA and $586 on Student Universe. STA seems to be fairly comparable, but Student Universe was much more expensive in the South American market.

  2. Richo

    Get on mailing lists! Do it now!

    If you are in Europe and studying in the Spring 2014, do it NOW! RyanAir, Easyjeat, Vueling, Wizz, AirBerlin etc etc. (Use Skyscanner and your Study Abroad city to find out who fly’s where.) If you don’t want them to clutter you usual inbox, start a new one on Gmail and just shut it down at then end of your study abroad. Last minute means you will always pay more. By getting the deals sent to you, without having to look for them, you will get the cheapest prices.

    Works also for Tour Companies, Last Minute, Expedia, Bus2alps, Travel Supermarket, TravelZoo. If you look to book weekend travel in Spring 2014 and want to save big bucks, then this is how you do it.

    1- Create new inbox.
    2- Sign up for newsletters/fare alerts for airline/travel company.
    3- Travel for great prices.
    4- Close new email inbox or leave active for new alerts.


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