The incredible shrinking carry-on bag

“The incredible shrinking carry-on bag”

by Christopher Elliott via “USA Today”

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Mark Nevelow isn’t worried about the new airline carry-on luggage standards everyone’s talking about.

That’s because he just spent $99 on a new, smaller bag, a MobilePro backpack that fits under his seat. “I heard about the proposal,” he says. “I’m not concerned. With this backpack, it won’t affect me.”

At least, not yet. The controversial new limits proposed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade group, set the maximum for luggage brought onboard at a slimmed-down 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches, significantly smaller than what’s now allowed on most planes.

Last week, after loud protests from several airlines, IATA backed down, saying it would “pause” the rollout of its voluntary “IATA Cabin OK” rule, which it claimed would give everyone an equal chance to store their carry-on bags on a large passenger jet. But don’t think for a moment that smaller luggage standards are dead.

“We can’t know for sure which luggage recommendations will become regulations,” says Michele Pittenger, president of the Travel Goods Association, which represents luggage manufacturers.

It’s probably only a matter of time before shrunken luggage becomes the norm. Even Pittenger admits that the current trend “is toward efficiency,” and a lot of times, that means going smaller. Bottom line: Either you need new luggage, or you’ll have to pack light.

For Arabella Bowen, the editor-in-chief of Fodor’s Travel, that means fitting everything into her Kate Spade Weekender (alas, no longer sold). But she recommends the Lipault 2-Wheeled 19″ Carry-On ($169; lipault-us.com), clocking in at 19 x 13 x 6 inches, which IATA would be OK with. It’s also soft-sided.

“Soft-sided bags have the advantage of fitting into overhead bins with a bit of massaging even when hard-backed roller bags can’t,” she says. “In a pinch, they can even slide under your seat.”

Samuel Nebel swears by the Aerolite luggage ($99) he discovered at a recent trade show, because it’s light, small and just an inch larger than the IATA standard, but still fits in the overhead bin of most large passenger aircraft. “It’s ridiculously functional,” says Nebel, who runs a health and beauty products company in Atlanta.

Of course, technique matters, too. It goes without saying that you’ll want to pack less, and smarter.

“Roll instead of folding and use nylon straps to cinch down bulging bags,” says Jonathan Deesing, a packing expert for imove.com. If you’re serious about squeezing more into less space, consider a luggage cube or a compression bag.

“Using these bags, I’ve compressed a week’s worth of clothing in a tiny duffle bag with room to spare,” he says.

It isn’t just how you pack, but what you take. Stay away from heavy fabrics like denim or linen, advises Rachel Grant, a TV host and frequent traveler. “Choose to pack clothes that are made from light fabrics, like silks, light cotton and polyester,” she adds. If you must bring a pair of favorite jeans, then wear them on the plane. . . .

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Financing Study Abroad the Smart Way

Financing Study Abroad the Smart Way”

by Julia Dunn via “ULoop”

Do you flip for France? Are you sold on the idea of an Australian outback adventure? Want to float down the Italian canals reading ancient literature, but have no clue how you’ll afford it?

If you’re a wanderlust soul with a wallet restriction who’s interested in earning university credits while experiencing a foreign country, don’t push a study abroad opportunity out of your prospects because you think you won’t be able to swing it financially. There are resources and tricks available to you as a college student that you may not even know about, many of which will guide you through financing study abroad!

Universities know that college students can’t afford to pay for an entire study abroad trip on their own, on top of tuition and the student fees they pay just to attend college; thus, they offer certain types of financial aid to students looking to travel in their undergraduate careers. Beyond that, the elements of a study abroad trip can be modified in a cost-efficient way to suit your budget if financial aid alone doesn’t cover all of what you need money-wise.

According to a survey conducted by Knox College Associate Professor of Modern Languages Robin Ragan, cost is the number one reason students hesitate to pursue a trip abroad.

Robin concluded that “A lot of times [not being able to afford it] is an assumption that students make up front, but they don’t really have numbers at their side to prove they can’t afford it … Our challenge is getting to students who assume they can’t study abroad because of the cost before they even attend the info sessions.”

It doesn’t hurt to gather some information and learn about what’s out there; if you don’t, you could be missing out on an insanely awesome trip. Here’s how to make study abroad fit in your wallet.

1. Contact your university’s study abroad program for details on financial aid packages and how to apply for them.

The best way to obtain accurate information about study abroad and financial aid at your school is to directly contact the department, either through phone, email, or literally walking through their door to pick up a study abroad financing pamphlet. The staff at your university’s study abroad department has worked with tons of students to create an affordable study abroad plan that works for them—they want to help you go abroad just as badly as you want to go yourself!

See if your school offers study-abroad information sessions or events that you can attend for more information on financial aid loans and other “free money” opportunities. These may be useful to you when designing a financial plan-of-attack.

2. Be strategic when choosing a study abroad location.

The cost of living is different country to country. It’s going to wind up being more expensive to study abroad in Spain than it would be in Senegal, and study abroad financial advisers can help you compare the cost of living in certain countries with others. Investigate various housing options and their costs, along with that of transportation and other logistical elements that can add unexpected costs to your travel bill if you don’t address them before you leave for your trip.

Make sure you have lodging, food, and a means of getting around town factored into your budget, and put in the effort to research cost-efficient options for these matters.

Don’t know where to go? Click here to explore possible study abroad programs and locations organized in Uloop’s Study Abroad search.

3. Shorten your trip to 2-4 weeks.

When college students envision a study abroad trip, most think of spending months and months on end (even an entire semester or quarter) traversing hidden cities of Peru or exploring the Great Barrier Reef for an entire season. If money is an issue for you,consider only going abroad for a couple of weeks.

You’ll receive virtually the same immersive experience as someone going abroad for a longer time period, but you won’t have to pay for all that extra time. Plan out what you’ll do each day to maximize your time abroad, and you’ll be able to do most everything you want to do in just a few weeks! . . . .

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“No Excuses! 9 Ways to Help Pay For Your Study Abroad”

“No Excuses! 9 Ways to Help Pay For Your Study Abroad”

by Jordi Lippe via “Yahoo Travel”

No Excuses! 9 Ways to Help Pay For Your Study Abroad

Exposure to international destinations can have a profound effect on people’s perspectives, but the cost can be prohibitive. (Thinkstock)

We love study-abroad programs here at Yahoo Travel. Most people who have studied abroad say it was one of the best things they’ve ever done. The White House has even determined that study-abroad programs are a critical component to improving international relations. Back in December, the Obama administration gathered more than 100 of the country’s most prominent travel bloggers and digital journalists in Washington D.C. as part of a push to find new ways to encourage more Americans to study abroad.

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Study abroad is often considered a pivotal event in a young person’s life. (Thinkstock)

Fewer than 10 percent percent of students currently take part in study-abroad programs. One of those reasons is the high cost. The average semester away can cost over $17,000 (according to figures from the Institute of International Education), making the prospect of study abroad daunting for most students. But by knowing your resources and getting a bit creative you can be well on your way to financing a once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Here are nine ways to help pay for study abroad:

1. Council on International Educational Exchange Scholarship
Some universities offer their own scholarship programs, but there are numerous outside options dedicated to helping those who want to study abroad. In fact, the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) is giving out around $20 million in scholarships. That could add up to 1,000 more students attending a semester program on full scholarship or 5,000 more students attending a summer or short-term program. CIEE will also sponsor passports for 10,000 students to enable participation. “Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders,” said Institute of International Education president and chief executive officer Allan E. Goodman. “CIEE’s greatly expanded outreach and scholarship offerings will make a significant contribution to expanding and diversifying the population of students who have the opportunity to study abroad.”

Related: I Met My Fiance on Study Abroad in Spain

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The cost of study abroad shouldn’t stop you from doing it. (Thinkstock)

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Book Review: “A Cheap Ticket For Student Travel”

“A Cheap Ticket for Student Travel”

by Gary Chen

A small little guide for the average college student on saving while they travel.

Gary Chen’s new book, “A Cheap Ticket for Student Travel” is a great, yet short, read for college/low income students interested in traveling (especially traveling abroad).  At only 23 pages (in PDF form), you can read through it pretty quickly, but it offers some great insights into how you can travel even on a college student’s budget.  

He opens with a pretty strong argument for traveling while you’re young ~ time, energy, and lack of ties.  This is something I wish a lot more students would keep in mind; by the time you have jobs, families, and other demands on your time and attention, traveling becomes less and less of a likelihood.  Since traveling can significantly add to both your accomplishments and the broadening of your experience, taking that awesome trip now is a pretty good idea.

Most of his advice officially starts in Chapter two, where he begins with the important saving tool – Planning.  This carries through the next two chapters during which he discusses how  even little things like grouping nearby locations together can save money on costs.  Chapter 5 is where he really gets into precise methods of saving as opposed to more general recommendations.  He also has a really great form on pages 17-18 that helps you list out your expected expenses and likely total.  I think filling this out is a great way of reminding yourself precisely how much this might cost you and what you need to save. Throughout the book, he offers some great means of saving and I like the main message he communicates — traveling doesn’t have to ruin you financially!

Writing style: Some of the writing could use some editing and there were a few choppy areas, but overall I found it to be a quick and easy read.  A great addition to the ebook is the number of internal links Chen offers his readers–he frequently links to relevant and interesting articles relating to the subject of discussion.  Particularly helpful are the links to discount sites and saving tools; I might even use a few of these!

If you are interested or thinking about traveling, I recommend checking his book out.  You can find it on Smashwords as a FREE E-book (I like the free part, it matches his theme 🙂 )

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“Low-income students may be given the chance to study abroad affordably”

“Low-income students may be given the chance to study abroad affordably”

by Allie Hastings via “The Exponent

Financially-limited students aspiring to travel abroad will have the opportunity to visit Spain this summer as Horizons Student Services celebrates its third year of helping these students study abroad.

The Institute of International Education is spearheading a national initiative, Generation Study Abroad, to double the amount of study abroad participants by the end of the decade. Many universities, including Purdue, seek to increase student participation in an effort to better prepare students for a globalized job market. However, not all students can afford these global ventures.

Austin Scherbarth, a junior in the College of Engineering and student ambassador with the Office of the Dean of Students, described the program’s role as a support system for students in need.

”It’s mainly a comfortable zone for students that are in that particular situation to go to and receive help and assistance with pretty much anything on campus,” Scherbarth said. “It’s not really restricted to (academics).” . . . .

Study Abroad is Within Reach for Most Students

Study Abroad is Within Reach for Most Students

by Jasmine Johnson via “The Daily Texan”

“To study in another country while being fully immersed in a foreign culture has to be the highlight of any college student’s young life. So why don’t more students study abroad? Mainly because they don’t have the money. Or at least that’s what students think.

The British Council, Britain’s educational and cultural relations agency, conducted a study of perceived barriers to studying abroad and found that more than half of British students and nearly three-quarters of Americans said the expense was . . .”

This is actually true for many countries; and in fact if you go to a college abroad with lower tuition/summer programs with lower tuition, sometimes it’s actually cheaper. Worth looking into at least!

An Issue of Money for Fin Aid Student Travelers

Check out our Airlines and Hotel Arrangements pages on the Website!!

One of the first things you will need to look into is arranging for your airline and accommodation reservations.  However, don’t get too excited and run right out there to grab the first plane ticket you find–these things take a little forethought first. The first thing you need to remember is that you are paying for the plane tickets (and maybe housing) out of pocket, at least to begin with. You’re probably paying for this little excursion with financial aid money, but think back to all those other semesters. When do you get the money?-after classes have started. The government doesn’t like to hand out money until they know you are attending class.  The problem here is that your student abroad financial aid is run the same way–you aren’t going to see a penny until after the classes have begun. See where this is going? 

You will definitely be paying for airline tickets with your own money–pretty much no school covers that cost for you.  If you’re lucky, the school will arrange for housing for you. If they have a large group, sometimes hotels offer group rates to universities. Since that has to be paid in advance, the school will pay for it and you will just be charged a “housing fee” in tuition, which can be paid after you get fin aid, like any normal semester.  If they don’t arrange housing though, you’re going to probably have to at least pay the deposit on the hotel room, which may be a few hundred bucks

 
The second thing you need to remember is that financial aid always underestimates.You will get a “refund” for the money spent on housing and travel–just like the living expenses in a normal semester. But remember how that book allowance was never nearly enough for your school books?  Well, you may only get a “flight allowance” for $1000, when your plane tickets alone may be as high as $3000 by the time you cover both ways. And housing allowances are often too short as well.  So don’t count on the whole amount being refunded to you–some of this money you’ve got to come up with on your own.
 
Now this may not mean much to some, but to those who need to pinch pennies–this is a HUGE fee.  So shop around a little, check out what’s available and see what options fit your needs.