For students, some quick lessons in opportunities for traveling cheap

October 19, 2008|By Tom Parsons | Tom Parsons,McClatchy-Tribune

If you're a student, or you are footing the bill for one, there are ways to save when it comes to travel.

Southwest Airlines' College Rapid Rewards Program allows students to earn a free ticket after three round trips. Normally, you would have to fly eight round trips to earn 16 credits, which is enough for an award ticket. Students ages 18 to 23 will earn four bonus credits for enrolling, and they will earn one bonus credit for each one-way flight they make while they are enrolled in the program.

If the student needs a credit card, consider a Rapid Rewards Visa. You'll get eight Rapid Rewards credits for signing up. It's a good idea to save reward tickets for a long-haul flight so you'll get the most value. It is also good to use in an emergency, because ticket prices can be expensive for last-minute travel. Visit southwest.com/rrenroll/college.

The AirTran U program allows travelers ages 18 to 22 to fly standby at low rates. The airline charges $69 per segment for most flights and $99 per segment for long-haul flights. You'll also pay up to $11 for charges and fees per flight segment.

Because travelers must fly standby, it's a good idea to call the airline and check on seat availability before you make a trip to the airport. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are your best bets for flying standby because they are usually the least busy.

Fliers must arrive at the ticket counter at least two hours before their flight to get on the standby list.

Passengers may take only one carry-on bag and one personal item, like a purse or a laptop, so they'll have to travel light.

The program runs through Dec. 15, and a new one will probably start after the winter holidays. Blackout dates apply. Visit airtranu.com.

Students can save 15 percent off Amtrak rail tickets, Greyhound walk-up tickets and stays at Choice Hotels if they have a Student Advantage card.

Cardholders also can receive discounts at many other participating retailers. The card costs $20 for one year, $30 for two years, $40 for three years and $50 for four years. Visit studentadvantage.com.

Another card that offers discounts for students is the International Student Identity Card. The card offers discounts on transportation, accommodations, attractions and shopping in more than 100 countries. The card is valid for students ages 12 to 25 and costs $22 per year. Visit www.isic.org.

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