Book flights and hotels in advance, travel in the shoulder season and take the DIY approach. We are all familiar with such travel tips to keep our vacation budgets under control. However, there’s more money to be saved during family holidays if you have a school or college-going child. You can grab student discounts on entry fees to heritage sites and airfare. Then there are additional benefits like special travel cards that are designed exclusively for students.
These discounts should not be confused with concessions that are offered to children in general. For availing these offers, the student must present a bonafide photo identity card issued by the institute he or she is studying in at the time of buying tickets or checking in at the airport. Just an ID card showing the age will not serve as proof of student status.
At tourist attractions
World heritage sites have low entry fees for all, in the range of Rs 10-50. For students, however, it can be as low as Rs 5. Other popular tourist sites with ticketed entry, such as Bangalore Palace and City Palace in Jaipur charge much more, and here you can save significantly on student tickets (see graphic). National parks also charge entry fee of Rs 100 and above. Students can get discounts of up to 75% on that.
Numerous airlines offer discounts on the base fair to students on domestic sectors. Indigo and Spicejet offer 6% off with additional baggage allowance of 10 kg. GoAir shaves off 5% whereas Vistara cuts the base fare by 10%. Air India lets students book on 50% of base fare but only for the route between hometown and place of study.
These offers are applicable only on regular economy fares and are subject to availability. Since economy fills up faster compared to other classes, book at least a month before the trip to ensure you don’t miss the deal. The student availing discount should be above 12 years of age and not more than 26 years old.
Indian Railway also offers 50%-75% concession on sleeper-class train tickets to students traveling to hometown or for educational tours. However, this facility is only available on i-ticket. I-ticket refers to a paper ticket, which can be issued through both an online booking and railway booking counter. An i-ticket can only be cancelled at the booking counter and not online.
Student entry fees at popular tourist destinations
1. City Palace Jaipur
Adults: Rs 200
Students: Rs 100
Composite ticket for Amber Palace, Hawa Mahal, Nahargarh Fort, Albert Hall and Isarlat, Jaipur
Adults: Rs 300
Students: Rs 40
2. Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur
Adults: Rs 200
Students: Rs 100
3. Bangalore Palace
Adults: Rs 230
Students: Rs 30 till class 7, Rs 90 till class 12, Rs 195 for college students
4. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai
Adults: Rs 85
Students: Rs 20 for school students and Rs 40 for college students
5. Jim Corbett National Park (bus ride)
Adults: Rs 1,000
Students: Rs 250 for school students, Rs 500 college students
6. Khangchendzonga National Park
Adults: Rs 350
Students: Rs 80
ISIC card for overseas travel
International Student Identity card (ISIC) provides discount at sightseeing spots, shopping outlets, amusement parks and eating places. ISIC benefits are offered around the world but often not advertised. Enquire about a possible benefit under this scheme at every place you visit.
The card can be issued online at www.isic.co.in or from an issuing office in your city. Application requires a passport photo, government-issued ID, a student ID and a payment of Rs 590. The card takes 2-3 weeks to reach after the application is processed.
Note that the ISIC card is valid only for one year. For `590, the card will really help you save if you take two or more international trips in one year or are travelling to countries that offer maximum discounts like the US, UK and Singapore. Find information on country-specific offers on the ISIC website.