Trip Coach: June 20, 2006

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Christi Day from STA Travel answered your questions about Student Summer Travel

Christi Day: Hi! Thanks for joining me. I am ready to answer your questions about Student Travel! Let's get started!

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College Place, WA: My granddaughter is traveling to Montreal, Canada in July and is on a very tight budget. She is thinking of staying in a hostel but has never done this before, is it safe and would her things be secure?

Christi Day: Hostels are a great choice for a traveler looking to stretch their dollar. Accommodation is usually dormitory style, sometimes separated by gender, or other times mixed. Many hostels offer additional amenities such as a communal kitchen, lockers or baggage storage, internet, TV lounge, or a tour desk. At STA Travel, most of our properties are personally visited by our contracting team and graded on a "globe" rating system. When grading our properties, we consider all room types, not just the best rooms. Call and talk to one of our experienced Travel Advisors (800) 505-1940 for more information. Also, for added security she can register the trip with the nearest US embassy or consulate. This process makes your presence and whereabouts known in case you need to be contacted in an emergency. She should leave copies of her itinerary, passport data, and visas with family at home.

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Peoria, IL: In July I am taking my 15 year old daughter to London, Paris, Rome, Florence and to some small towns in Tuscany. We are traveling by plane from London to Paris - but will use trains and busses after that. As a 15 year old, would it be budget-wise to have her purchase a Student Identity Card for youth/student rates for museums, train & bus travel etc. Or instead of spending over $20 dollars for a Student Identity Card- will she get a cheaper rate if we just show her passport - to prove she is only 15? Thank you!

Christi Day: The Student Identity Card is a GREAT idea. In London, the Busabout transportation system offers special rates for Youth card holders. In Rome, you can get a cut ticket price at the Museo di Roma in Trastevere, one of the most famous and beautiful museums in Rome. The card has awesome discounts abroad, but also amazing discounts here in the States as well. You can visit myisic.com to check out the specific specials in each location. Also, the card can serve as a backup form of identity for your 15-year-old daughter. Also, when you purchase your card you automatically have minimum coverage travel insurance and you have the option to purchase more comprehensive insurance packages, since you never can expect the unexpected! I could go on and on about the benefits of this card, really check out the Web site for extensive information. You can purchase the card at an STA Travel Branch or online. Good Luck!

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Oakton, VA: Hi! I am a 21 year old college student and my three friends and I are interested in traveling to the Caribbean for our last Spring Break trip (March 3 - March 10, 2007 leaving from from Philadelphia, PA). We are not sure what island we would like to go to but we know we do not want to stay on one of the very touristy islands (i.e. the Bahamas or Jamaica). We are looking for a unique destination and not the typical "college spring break" that you might find in locations like Cancun. We want a relaxed, all-inclusive type resort with white sand beaches where we can sun bathe, snorkle, shop and enjoy a few drinks by the pool. Being college students, we are on a tighter budget: $1700-$2200 for airfare, hotel and the all inclusive plan. I am not sure if our ideal spring break is a possibility on this budget but if anyone can help us out I know it would be you guys!! Thank you for any feedback you have!

Christi Day: Yay!!! Spring Break!! Quite possibly it is the best part of college. Go ahead plan it so you have something to look forward to, I completely understand!! One destination you should check out is Barbados. It has the look and feel of the "Cancun" type spring break, but is a little less visited, or less "touristy". Visit our Web site statravel.com or stop by your local STA Travel Branch (we have two in Philly) to look for package deals through partnering companies. Our Spring Break Specials will be launched in early September, so it might be best to wait to book your trip then. Also, Our Travel Advisors work with any budget, and are experts at getting the best deals! Booking with STA Travel is convenient and cheaper because we are a one-stop shop for almost your entire trip and you can avoid paying the expensive fuel surcharge.

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Raleigh, NC: I am applying to 6 colleges, in New York, Maine, Massachusetts, Texas, Michigan, and California respectively. What is the cheapest way to go to the six?

Christi Day: STA Travel has some awesome discounted domestic flights as well as an exclusive 15% off United Airlines fares(some restrictions may apply, see a STA Travel Advisor for details). You might want to consider scheduling your campus visits to create point-to-point trip around the states.

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Detroit, MI: A friend and I are planning a trip through most of central and some of eastern europe. We are debating whether to get a train pass or rent a car. I expect that some countries may be difficult to take a rental car in. But the train schedule doesn't seem that easy either.

Christi Day: My vote would be a train pass. The Eurailpass Flexi lets you travel through 17 European countries with tons of flexibility. These start at about $21 a day. If you want to be more selective, you can choose your specific countries starting at $37 a day. Some European countries are not included in the rail pass, so be sure to check. Also, there may be restrictions on taking a rental car into specific countries. It may seem confusing, but sometimes that can make a trip really interesting!! If you feel like you need more guidance sit down and chat with an STA Travel Advisor at your local branch (University of Michigan or the Ann Arbor branch would be closest to you, visit statravel.com for directions).

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Minneapolis, MN: I am traveling to New York for a week over Christmas break this year and am not sure where to stay and what are the key things to do when we are there. I don't want to miss anything big with my 2 teenaged girls! Thanks- Brenda

Christi Day: The Big Apple is fun for everyone!! To choose the most appropriate hotel, first determine your budget and what you would like to do while in NYC. If you are trying to stretch your dime, maybe look into a hostel. Visit the STA Travel Web site for more guidance on the perfect place for you to stay. A few things your girls might enjoy...Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, a longtime New York traditio--the backstage tour is also really worth it if they enjoy the show. If you enjoy shopping, check out Canal Street, but be sure to take cash. Also, I really enjoyed the ferry ride around the Statue of Liberty. The holiday season in New York is very busy, so be sure to plan well in advance. I love New York, have fun!!!

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Sterling, VA: I have an international teacher card. In terms of discounts, do teachers get the same discounts as students? If not, then what are some of the best ways I can get use out of my card, while I'm traveling in New Zealand and Singapore?

Christi Day: The discounts are not the exact same, but still amazing--for example, in some locations the teacher card can get you half-off yoga classes, or wine vineyard tours. Specifically in New Zealand and Singapore some neat teacher discounts include--10% off bicycle rentals at Adventure Cycles (Auckland), 10% off tandem jumps at Christchurch Parachute School, 10% off manicures and pedicures the Nail Boutique in Singapore, there are SO many discounts...check out myisic.com choose teacher from the drop down menu, then choose your destination.

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Cary, NC: My son is 14 and next year I would like to send him on a summer trip / camp outside the USA so he can experience other cultures. We have traveled a lot in the USA, but not in another country. Can you recommend / suggest a camp-trip?

Christi Day: Sending a minor (under 18) abroad is a little more difficult. There is an interesting and popular program through i-to-i travel that is a family-volunteer program. There are many different options for volunteer work such as conservation, teaching, community development, sports and more in locations all over the world. Through this program you and your son could experience other cultures while giving back at the same time. Once he is 16, he can embark on a volunteer trip through i-to-i, all on his own. Another perk to begin thinking about is the value of volunteer travel on college resumes. 

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Venetia, PA: I have a 5 and a 13 year old boy. Where could we go that best suits the age difference in the USA? Not a theme park...other suggestions?

Christi Day: If your family is into the outdoors, then maybe a trip to one of our many national parks. Yellowstone National Park might be a good choice, you can check out "Old Faithful" and your boys might enjoy the wildlife. Also, The Grand Canyon has the I-Max film "The Grand Canyon Experience" in case you do not want to actually climb the canyon yourself...with a 5-year-old... Also, San Diego is a great city for the young and young-at-heart. You can enjoy the beautiful weather, the beaches and surf, and the world famous San Diego Zoo (visit the Zoo in the mornings, so the animals are perky and active).

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Los Angeles, CA: I am going on a teen tour of Eastern Europe & Israel in a week we'll be in Prague, Budapest, Warsaw & tour lots of Israel. I'd like to buy some former Soviet Union souvenirs in Eastern Europe-- any ideas of where I can get them? Thanks

Christi Day: When you arrive in the cities, ask the locals if there is are any open-air markets or weekend festivals. My colleague, Margi, went to Prague and found AMAZING souvenirs such as oil paintings and war memorabilia. Just be ready to strike a deal with the street vendors. Be sure to take small bills in cash.

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Minneapolis, MN: My husband, Stephen, and I are planning a pre-baby "last hurra". He is supporting us while I am in Graduate School, so we will be traveling in March of 2007 (spring break around 3/14/07) and need to be frugal. He has never traveled outside of North America or Mexico, but has alway wanted to go to Greece. We have been researching our options, but there is so much to choose from. What is the best way to see Athans, Delphi, Santorini and Crete? We like to explore on our own, so a guided tour is not our style. What is the best way to reach all of these destinations? Joy

Christi Day: Seven days might not be enough time to tour Athens, Delphi, Santorini and Crete. Research the destinations and determine what you would like to see, then narrow your choices down to two or three cities. Contiki has a resort on Mykonos Island and it is BEAUTIFUL! It is a beach-front property with a swimming pool, two Jacuzzis; it also has a restaurant and a night club onsite. You can party or chill-out at this resort. There is also a wonderful staff to help coordinate the hard-core logistics of your daily pleasure schedule. Or, you could do a seven-day cruise on Louis Hellenic Cruise Company. They have several different itineraries to choose from. If you want to stick close to home, check out Barbados for great beaches or Cozumel if you are into scuba diving and snorkeling.

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Burbank, CA: I'm backpacking through Europe for 3 weeks next month and a friend mentioned I should get travel insurance. What is this, and do I really need it?

Christi Day: TRAVEL INSURANCE IS A MUST!!! For just a couple dollars a day, you can protect yourself from typical travel disasters. For example, the airline loses your bags, your traveling companion breaks his leg and now can't go on the trip, or the local cuisine doesn't agree with your stomach and you have to visit a doctor. Remember, ANYTHING can happen while you are away from home. Travel insurance for eight days is only a $48 policy and will include protection such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, medical protection, baggage protection, accidental death and worldwide emergency assistance. STA Travel sells policies up to 13 month coverage. Be smart and protect yourself! Get travel insurance.

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Alexandria, VA: What is STA Travel? Is it only for students in college?

Christi Day: STA Travel is a full-service travel company that specializes in student, youth and teacher travel. We have incredible airfare discounts for international and domestic trip itineraries. We are available 24/7 online, on the phone, and we have 81 branch locations across North America. Some of our products include--hotels/hostels, tours, city breaks, international student identity card (ISIC), insurance, travel gear...and soooo much more! Be sure to check out our Web site to find your nearest STA Travel branch location. Our Travel Advisors are the EXPERTS in booking trips for any budget, answering questions about destinations, and ensuring that you get the ultimate student experience.

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Christi Day: Thanks for chatting with me today! Sorry that is all the time we have! If you have more questions please give your local STA Travel Branch a visit, or check out our Web site statravel.com Happy Trails!

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