Purchasing Your Flight

PLEASE NOTE: Padnos International Center does not endorse any specific airfare provider; however, the following are popular search engines:

Step 1: Research plane tickets through different airfare providers

Student Universe offers discounted fares for students

Google Flights

Flight Network

Students can also visit the website of individual airlines such as Delta, United, etc.

There are several Apps available that allow you to monitor price changes for flights between specific cities like Hopper and Kiwi

Step 2: Receive official acceptance from the Study Abroad Application Portal (Via TRM) and your host institution/program sponsor.
DO NOT purchase a ticket until you have been officially accepted through the Study Abroad Application Portal (Via TRM) AND through your host institution or program sponsor. You will be contacted by your host institution or program sponsor once you are accepted by them. It is important to understand that being accepted in the Study Abroad Application System (Via TRM) does not mean you have received official acceptance into your program.

Step 3: Buy a ticket
Once you have received your final approval from GVSU and your host institution or program sponsor, purchase your ticket. 



Tips for Purchasing Airplane Tickets

  • The Sooner the Better - Give yourself plenty of time to research flights and find the best deals. 
  • Wait for Acceptance - Do not purchase your ticket until you are accepted to BOTH GVSU and your provider/host university.
  • Check Luggage Costs - Most airlines will let you check 2 suitcases with no charge on an international flight but this number varies and sometimes costs can be as much as $150 or more for extra items. Check with the airline provider you will be flying with for updated information.
  • Consider Where and How Long Your Layovers Are - Flights vary with the numbers of length of layovers. If you are comfortable with longer layovers or with layovers in different countries flights may be cheaper.
  • Reserve the Best Seat - If you have seating preferences, it is best to make the request when you buy your ticket. The earlier you make your request, the more likely you will get a seat that accommodates your interest.
  • Check restrictions on change fee - If you're unsure of the date you want to return due to your interest in traveling at the end of your program, we recommend you look at the airline policy to change your date of return. Change fees can range from $100-$300.
  • If you have special dietary needs - You will have to reserve a special meal well in advance. Contact your airline provider for details on requesting a special meal.
  • Pay attention to to arrival instructions - Some major cities have multiple airports. Make sure you are arriving at the correct airport for your program at the correct time of day if airport pickup is provided.
  • Travel with other GVSU students - If you are participating in the same program as other GVSU students, we do recommend coordinating travel plans if possible. Navigating the flight, customs, and arrival in your study abroad destination can be easier when you are not alone. Contact us if you want to get connected with other students participating in the same program but keep in mind that in some cases, there will not be multiple students from GVSU participating in the same program.

Tips for Air Travel

Tips on Airlines for Travel While Abroad

Easy Jet www.easyjet.com
Air Berlin www.airberlin.com
Smart Wings www.smartwings.net/en
Ryanair www.ryanair.com
Generation Fly www.generationfly.com/

Tips for Getting Through the Airport Faster

The Abroad Guide
Prepare for your first international flight



Airport Security, Immigration, and Customs

When leaving and entering the United States you will pass through airport security and customs. Here are some helpful tips and information regarding this process:

Airport Security

  • You may pass through security several different times upon departure and arrival both in the United States and your study abroad destination. It is important to be aware of items that are restricted from carry-on baggage so that you do not have items confiscated. The TSA website has up-to-date information regarding both carry-on an checked baggage.

Immigration and Customs

  • You will go through immigration and customs every time that you enter a country. You will need to show any relevant documents to the immigration and customs officials as you enter the country (passport, visa, declarations forms, university acceptance letter, etc.).
  • You may be provided with a declarations form during your flight. It can be useful to have a pen with you so that you can fill out the form before you land. 
  • Check the customs information for the country you will be entering to ensure you are not brining restricted items into the country.
  • When returning to the United States, check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information about restricted and prohibited items.

Page last modified January 17, 2024