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Information & Resources

Buying Your Ticket

When should I buy my airline ticket?

Please wait to arrange travel after you have officially been accepted by your host university or program and you have completed all prerequisite requirements for both SDSU and your host university.

Although it’s generally cheapest to book an international flight 2-3 months prior to departure, it’s a good idea to start looking at airfares right away to become familiar with cost averages for your flight. This will help you as you plan your budget.

Travel deposit program

STA Travel offers a special Airfare Deposit Program for U.S. students. You can reserve your ticket price as early as you need with a non-refundable deposit of $300.  You have up until 1 week (7 days) before your departure date to pay the remaining balance.

Finding a fair fare

  • We recommend contacting at least 3 agencies or websites to assure yourself of a good fare.
  • Travel agents are sometimes able to match an online fare, so be sure to include both agents and online booking sites in your search.
  • Use a search engine to find the cheapest date/time to fly, and then go to the airline's own website to book the actual tickets. Many airlines will match or beat other prices listed online.
  • You can sign up for price drop notifications on some travel booking websites. These will alert you when a fare for your chosen destination drops below a specific threshold.
  • Flights are usually cheaper during mid-week travel. If possible, check alternative itineraries by altering the leave and return dates (Monday–Wednesday are usually the best departure days).

Your return flight

  • Consider booking a flight that has a flexible return date, or ask about the airline's fees for changing the return date. This lets you keep your options open for travel after your program concludes.
  • If you will be abroad for an entire academic or calendar year, you may need to purchase two one-way tickets instead of one round-trip ticket. (Your airline may not allow you to purchase your return flight that far in advance.)

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