Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Travel Guidelines

Main content start


Students are responsible for booking and paying for their own flights to and from the BOSP program location. Detailed arrival instructions will be outlined for each program in the pre-departure materials, so be sure to review that information before purchasing a ticket. As you prepare to book your travel, refer to the list of guidelines and suggestions below.

If you have questions about preparing for your program abroad, email your Quarter Length Program AdvisorProgram Manager, or the Student Ambassadors for your program.

Purchasing a Ticket

Once you are instructed by BOSP, plan to purchase your tickets at least 60 – 120 days in advance of your program or as soon as you know your travel plans.

  • To give yourself the greatest number of flight options, purchase your tickets at least 60 days or more in advance. Airlines typically offer their lowest fares when you purchase early.
  • It is highly recommended that you purchase a refundable round-trip ticket with the most direct route. 
  • The lowest fares (especially those attractive sale fares that are sometimes offered) sell out fast as very few seats on the plane are available at those prices. Buying 60 – 120 days in advance will help ensure that a discounted seat is available. All airlines use a system called “inventory management” to regularly update how many seats will be sold at a given price based on previous flight history, capacity, and demand.
  • Some search engines allow you to sign up for fare alerts. This is a good way to track airfares.
  • There are a large number of coach/economy fares on each flight; the person next to you may have paid hundreds (even thousands) of dollars more or less than you did. As an example, the prices for a coach class ticket from San Francisco to Santiago on all airlines serving the market range from approximately $880-6178 roundtrip. This is another reason to purchase early!

Purchase the most direct routing possible to the airport closest to your destination. 

  • It is recommended to include all flight segments in one ticket.
  • The more connections involved in your routing, the greater the chance of delays or misrouted luggage.
  • Many flights today are operated as “code-share” flights, which means that one airline sells and markets the flight but the flight itself is operated by another airline. Be sure that you know the operating carrier for each flight in your itinerary.
  • DO NOT purchase separate tickets for each segment of your journey. Some airlines will not check baggage on multiple itineraries or carriers and there is a high likelihood of confusion or delay if you have separate tickets.

Review and understand the rules and restrictions of the fare you are purchasing.

  • Most airline tickets carry significant rules and restrictions, are nonrefundable in all circumstances, and have penalties/fees for changes to dates/times.
  • Generally, the cheaper the ticket, the greater the number of restrictions.
  • DO NOT purchase a ticket until you have reviewed and understand the rules and restrictions.
  • Keep in mind that purchasing a changeable ticket can be helpful in case of unforeseen circumstances.
  • If you need to change your return date, it may be cheaper to pay the airline’s “change fee” than to purchase two one-way tickets. However, if the class of service you originally purchased is no longer available you may have to pay an incremental fare difference as well as the change fee.

Purchase a round-trip ticket.

  • According to their immigration regulations, many countries require that you have a round-trip ticket in your possession both upon departure from your country of origin and upon arrival in these countries. Failure to adhere to immigration regulations can lead to considerable fines, detention, and/or immediate deportation.
  • All BOSP students are required to submit their confirmed flight information to and from the program location before the deadline given to you by BOSP.
  • One-way tickets are, generally, significantly more expensive than purchasing a round-trip ticket to the same destination.

You MUST arrive at the program location on the designated “Arrival Date” and MUST depart no earlier than the program’s “Departure Date”.

  • Pay close attention to the arrival date of your flight. In many cases, international flights are overnight or will cross the International Date Line resulting in an arrival the next day.
  • Make sure that you check your program’s arrival and departure dates carefully and book your flights accordingly. You will not be permitted to arrive late or depart early.
  • BOSP may establish additional travel restrictions for your program in which case you may not be able to arrive early or stay late.

Book directly with an airline. DO NOT USE a third-party service such as Travelocity, Expedia, Hotwire, or Priceline.

  • Tickets booked through Travelocity, Expedia, Hotwire, Priceline, or other services generally carry even more restrictions than those issued directly and are often not changeable under any circumstances. Students have reported questionable and difficult customer service with these sites in cases of schedule changes and other issues. If you do purchase a ticket via one of these sources, you do so at your own risk.  You can use these websites to find airfares but should book directly with the airline when you’re ready to purchase the flight.
  • Booking directly with the airlines via their websites or by phone means that you can always call the airline directly to make ticket adjustments (if they are allowed) and, in the case of irregular operations, the airline is responsible for assisting you with new travel arrangements.

Consider booking with StudentUniverse.

  • StudentUniverse - Stanford University partners with StudentUniverse to assist participating students in finding the most convenient routes and the most affordable prices for your travel. StudentUniverse offers discounted student rates ($50-300 savings on airline tickets) and flexible terms on more than 90 airlines. Be sure you understand the terms of the ticket you are purchasing.

Baggage Allowances

You will not be allowed to check an unlimited amount of baggage on your flight; make sure you know the baggage allowance and fees for your fare and airline.

  • Some airlines use a “piece” method to determine your baggage allowance. For instance, two pieces of checked baggage whose total external dimensions do not exceed 106 inches (L + W + D) of both pieces added together with the larger piece not exceeding 62 inches. The weight of each piece should not exceed 50 pounds. Other airlines, however, and especially international carriers, use a “weight” method to determine your baggage allowance. For instance, you might be allowed 20 kg of baggage total. Pack according to what’s outlined in the airline’s baggage information on the website.
  • Most airlines now charge considerable fees for all luggage checked on the aircraft. Pack light!

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER pack valuables, medications, your passport and other travel documents, or any other essential items in your checked luggage.

  • Luggage can get lost or misrouted for a period of time. In such cases, the airlines have NO LIABILITY for replacing your valuable goods if they are lost or stolen.
  • Medications, your passport and other travel documents, and all other valuables should ALWAYS be placed in your carry-on baggage and kept with you in the aircraft cabin or on your person at ALL times while en route.

Mark all luggage, inside and out, with your name and address.

  • Make sure that your luggage is identified with your name and address inside and out.
  • It is always a good idea to put a full copy of your complete itinerary inside each bag (on top of your belongings) in case the luggage tag is ripped off through regular handling.
  • LOCK all baggage with TSA-approved locks.

True or False

Test your knowledge about the information above!

The best time to purchase a ticket is 60-120 days before departure.

  • True – Start looking far in advance and set alerts to track airfare.

Purchase a round-trip ticket, not two one-way tickets.

  • True - According to their immigration regulations, many countries requirethat you have a round-trip ticket in your possession both upon departure from your country of origin and upon arrival in these countries. Round-trip tickets are often cheaper than two one-way tickets. 

You can arrive to a program late, or leave early as long as you contact the Director or Faculty Leader in advance.

  • False – You MUST arrive at the program location on the designated “Arrival Date” and MUST depart no earlier than the program’s “Departure Date.”

In many cases, you’ll have to begin your journey one day before the program start date because of travel time and time differences.

  • True – Be sure to look at the arrival day and time when booking flights.

It is NOT recommended to book a flight through a third-party service, such as Travelocity, Expedia, Hotwire or Priceline.

  • True – Tickets booked through these sights often carry more restrictions than those issued by the airline directly. 

Practical Links

Refer to these websites for practical information about currency, voltage, and time zones around the world.