Student Travel

Travel Smart

When you travel during your CIEE Work & Travel USA program, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Travel with friends whenever possible.
  • Take a map and plan ahead. Research hotels, hostels, and transportation if you are traveling for more than one day.
  • Always tell friends and coworkers where you are going and when you will be back.
  • Take phone numbers for your friends and employers with you, and give them your phone number as well.
  • Take your Health & Safety Guide along with your important CIEE Work & Travel USA documents.
  • Protect your personal property by keeping it in a safe place; if there are safes where you are staying, lock up your valuables and important documents.
  • Never hitchhike!

Traveling Outside the U.S.

If you plan to travel outside the U.S. during the program, you may only do so during the work dates in Box 3 of your DS-2019 and for no longer than 30 days. If you travel outside the U.S., you must have your original DS-2019 signed for travel by CIEE and receive a Good Standing Letter. For detailed instructions on how to obtain proper travel validation from CIEE, please call or email CIEE.

Important Rules for Travel Outside the U.S.

  • Notify CIEE two weeks before any trip outside the U.S. to ensure you get your DS-2019 signed and returned.
  • Travel to Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas) is covered by CIEE insurance. Travel anywhere else outside the U.S. is not covered by CIEE insurance.
  • Your J-1 Visa must be valid and the dates on your DS-2019 must be current when re-entering the U.S. It is your responsibility to make sure that you meet the re-entry requirements.
  • Do not travel without your signed DS-2019. Doing so will cause delays of 30 to 90 days for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to process your paperwork and mail it to CIEE.
  • Depending on your home country, you may be required to have a visa for the country you are traveling to. Be sure to check with the embassy before you travel anywhere outside the U.S.
  • You must be authorized to enter the U.S. on more than one occasion. The number of times you are allowed to enter the United States is indicated on your J-1 Visa under the section “entries.” You can have multiple entries if the letter “M” appears in this section; if it does not, you are only allowed to enter the U.S. the specific number of times indicated (usually 1 or 2).
  • Mail your DS-2019 and a note that explains your travel plans in an envelope to CIEE, using the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, or UPS. Include a prepaid return envelope (from CIEE to your U.S. mailing address) using the same mail service. Do not send money in the mail.
  • If you have multiple trips outside of the U.S. planned, please call or email CIEE before sending in your DS-2019.Depending on your travel dates, you may not need to have your documents signed.

Travel Resources

Traveling around the U.S. can be one of the best parts of the Work & Travel program. It’s a good idea to plan your trip in advance, to make the most of your travel time.

In this section you will find information about travel services that are available. Many providers offer discounts for students, and some offer special discounts just for CIEE participants.

U.S. Air Travel

Air travel can be a great way to travel across the U.S. It can often be cheaper than bus or train, and may be much quicker. There are more than 1,000 airports throughout the U.S., so you can usually find one near where you’re trying to visit.

You will normally need to book early to get the best fares. There are many websites that search all airlines to get you the best fares. Here are some of the most commonly used sites:

Be sure to look for student discounts.

Trains and Buses

Traveling by train is not as common in the U.S. as it is in many other countries. However, the national railroad, Amtrak, offers passes for up to 30 days just for international visitors. Student discounts are also available.

Greyhound is the major nationwide bus company in the U.S., serving more than 2,000 destinations. They also offer weekly and monthly passes allowing unlimited travel during a set time period. Student discounts are also available.

Local Transportation
There are also many regional bus and rail companies that you may find convenient, especially when arriving in or leaving the U.S. You can often find this information on your arrival airport’s website.


Hostels can be a great solution if you’re looking for a cheap place to stay. They offer a comfortable night’s sleep in friendly surroundings, and are a great way to meet other travelers. Check out the CIEE hostelling partners in the boxes to the right.

There are also many budget hotels and motels across the U.S. These can also be a great option, especially if you are travelling in a group.
Travel Guides

There are lots of useful websites with information about many U.S. destinations. Here are a few. Many of them also offer guidebooks.

Individual cities and states may also have helpful tourism websites.