Here’s a selection of tips for student travellers and backpackers to make their money go a little further when travelling in South America (& the world).
1. If you are a student get an International Student Identity Card. With this ISIC card you’re entitled to numerous discounts on entrance fees throught South America, and occasionally you might even be entitled to discounts on flights or rail passes. If you’re not a student, but under 26 years of age, you can get an International Youth Travel Card (IYTC) that entitles you to many of the same discounts.
2. When buying a flight ticket, remember that many airlines offer special fares for students or those aged under 26. Very often, year valid flight tickets are much less if you’re under 26. American Airlines stands out as offering some of the best value 1 year valid, date changeable student tickets to South America (from Europe at least). Remember that these student / under 26 flight prices won’t appear on online sites such as Expieda and Travelocity - you’ll have to call up a travel agent for these special fares.
3. Backpackers should dress as scruffily as possible without looking like a tramp - if you look like you’re tight on money, people are less likely to overcharge you - hotels included. They might even give you a discount you if you’re lucky. Don’t be flashy - change your watch to an old one.
4. Check out couchsurfing.com and globalfreeloaders.com - both have large listings of people prepared to let you crash at their house for free.
5. Gatecrash large tour groups and you’ll find yourself with a free guide. If you get discovered, pretend you don’t speak the language.
6. If your hotels breakfast is a help yourself buffet, don’t be shy - help yourself to extra rolls, and make sandwiches for lunch. Don’t be shy - many South Americans would do exactly the same.
7. Don’t buy drinking water - get iodine purification droplets and add them to the local tap water.
8. Book domestic flights using an airpass - see the guide to airpasses in South America for some advice.
9. Always haggle with regards to hotel room prices, especially during off season.
If you’ve other travel tips for backpackers and students do share them….