Review: ISE Card - International Student Exchange Card
Here in the United States, the ISE doesn’t have the visibility of the Student Advantage Card, or the reach of the ISIC card. Make no mistake, the ISE is recognized worldwide for good reason. For young travelers, the ISE card offers so much more than your average student discount program.
The Nitti Gritty Fine Print
The ISE cost $25 dollars and lasts for one year. To qualify, you must be a student (no age restriction) or a non-student between the ages of 12 and 26 years old. All teachers and faculty members also qualify. The cost and eligibility requirements are consistent with other student cards.
The ISE card discounts are all about travel. Sure, they offer a few shopping discounts, but these play second fiddle to flights, hotels and attractions. If you plan on traveling anywhere, including within the United States, you’ll want to grab one of these cards even before you make your first reservation.
The top discounts include...
- Special pricing on student flights to and from almost any country in the world. ISE has teamed up with several travel agencies that specialize in student tickets. Book a ticket through StudentUniverse and receive an extra $5 dollars off domestic tickets and $10 off international.
- Free HostelRes Card (normally $18) with any Eurorail pass purchase. This offers a complete package for those backpacking through Europe that need transportation and a place to sleep.
- Save 10-20% on car rentals from companies like Avis, National and Alamo.
- Get a 10% discount on rooms from Super 8, Days Inn, Wyndham Resorts and Knights Inn.
- ISE holders receive special rates on train and bus tickets from Greyline, Eurostar and National Express. National Express is one of my favorites. I saw most of England riding aound on their buses. I can vouch that it was a great time.
The ISE is so much more than a discount card. It’s more like a full-featured travel card offering more benefits than AAA, and for a lot less money.
ISE card holders are covered to up to $2000 in medical benefits and up to $5000 in evacuation costs, if your medical emergency merits getting you out of whatever country you're in. This alone should set parents’ minds at ease.
Other benefits include worldwide assistance for help with lost passports, legal issues, and arranging travel documents. Travelers can call a toll free number from anywhere in the world for help with these problems.
ISE will cover your medical deductible under certain circumstances. In North America they even provide a roadside assistance program. The list goes on and on.
Is it the Card For You?
If you plan on traveling, I recommend the ISE card. Not only will the discounts save you money, but the peace of mind and assistance offered should smooth out any bumps you encounter along your journey. If you like staying closer to home and consider yourself more of a shopper, I might recommend one of the other student discount cards, like Student Advantage or ISIC.
Either way, the ISE card reminds us what student life is all about – traveling and having fun.