As the self-proclaimed largest travel company for students and young people, STA Travel offers transportation, hotels, insurance, planning information and more for those youngsters who want to see the world.
Whether you’re traveling to China for the summer or exploring Europe during a gap year, STA may offer some of the best deals around – but is there a catch?
Let’s breakdown some of the Internet’s best reviews and decide whether or not it’s worth it to use STA Travel.
What is STA Travel?
STA Travel is a student and youth online travel company that consistently offers deals for destinations such as:
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United States
The organization offers low fares, group travel trips, insurance assistance, discount cards and more, that are structured to help young people afford to travel the world. Their site also features preparation information to assist students in planning their trips.
With all of these benefits, it seems like a no-brainer, but let’s take a look at what some people have been saying about the travel company.
Take a Look at the Reviews for Yourself
There’s no better way to see what a company is all about than to read their reviews online. So, we curated a few of the more informational ones to help you decide whether or not you should choose STA for your next trip.
Worst Customer Service Assistants Ever
1 out of 5, reviewed 1/7/2017
This is the last year I will use STA travel for overseas trips. All the customer assistance employees I have dealt with have been disinterested and barely helpful. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m a mature aged customer or they just don’t like their jobs much. I rang the STA I booked my ticket with to find out if my Qatar Airlines flight would be affected by the gulf state’s ban on everything from Qatar and they didn’t even ring me back! Judging by the poor reviews on this site, STA’s poor customer service is systemic and the head office obviously doesn’t want to rectify the problem. I’ll take my money elsewhere in future.
It seems the majority of negative reviews mention STA’s customer service – or lack thereof. If something goes wrong with your booking, itinerary or payment, you may end up spending long hours on the phone, or possibly days to weeks waiting for a refund or response from a customer service representative.
Slow and Inefficient Customer Service
2 out of 5, reviewed 2/6/2016
We booked numerous flights with STA with a flexible pass which we thought would be great. It is not!! It is difficult to contact them to change flights and then they respond with the wrong information 3 days later! So stressful when you’re away trying to enjoy a trip! Its taken me nearly 2 weeks just to change one flight!
Again, poor customer service is being reported, in addition to wrong information and communication difficulties. STA does operate offices in more than 20 countries across five continents, meaning their workforce is expansive. You’re always open to the possibility of chatting with a subpar customer service rep.
Make Sure You Scrutinize Your Itinerary Very Carefully
3 out of 5, reviewed 10/4/2013
I have used STA travel many times over the years and have usually had pretty good experiences with them. I recently returned from a trip to London; on the outbound connecting flight from Hong Kong to Australia I was very annoyed to find out that my flight was not as stated on my STA itinerary. Seems that I was making a stop enroute to my destination. This would not have been such a big issue, but the stop was not made clear to me when I booked, and this extra stop added many more unnecessary hours to the flight causing me a lot of confusion.
Because it is a large company, and customer service appears to be below average, you should ensure that you scrutinise your itinerary meticulously when booking through STA. If you notice something seems off, call customer service right away, as it could take some time to get it modified or cancelled.
Great Site for Travel Deals for Anyone under 27
4 out of 5, reviewed on Apr 21, 2008
Great site for travel deals for anyone under 27 – you can qualify for most of the deals on STA even if you are not a student (you can also easily lie about being a student if they ask you). Before you book your trip on any travel site, you should check here first — there are deals on plane tickets, hotels, rail passes, etc. Also, some of the group trips are fun if you want to meet other people on your trip.
As this reviewer said, some of the deals on STA Travel are simply unbeatable. Those students traveling to Europe on a budget can certainly benefit from the reduction in costs on plane, bus or train fares, as well as low-rate insurance and discount cards. If you want to meet new friends, they also offer group trips for affordable prices.
Couldn’t have Asked for Anything More
5 out of 5, reviewed 7/31/2014
I booked my Europe & America gap year with STA Travel Bondi Junction. The woman sat with me for as long as I needed, answered every question and if she couldn’t, she called a friend who had been to that place. She hooked me up with an ISIC student card, gave me discounts on everything possible and booked me into some awesome Busabout adventures. When I received confirmation, all the prices and procedures for cancelling and changing dates were explained. And to top it off, a comparative website said that my 5 flights would cost over $4,000 and STA managed them for $1,700 (great airlines too like Virgin, Emirates & Qantas). I plan to use STA Travel for my Summer trip to Asia. Great business!
This happy traveler has the opposite opinion on customer service as the one-star reviewer, however this person also went into the local office and met with someone in person. Again, this reviewer is raving about the deals they received and how much money they saved ($3,300 isn’t bad!) The discount card is also a nice perk, letting you receive deals at stores across dozens of countries.
Is STA Travel Worth It?
Overall, our analysis is that STA Travel is worth it – for most people.
STA offers good information for the world traveler and better deals for those traveling on a budget, but you may end up getting ripped off, or deal with underwhelming customer service once in awhile. For what it is intended for though, STA may be the right option for someone in college who wants to have some of the complexity of traveling abroad simplified for them.
With even more factors and unpredictability at play with group travel, having a trusted partner with a long-established reputation and in-country expertise can make all the difference for educational travel to France. Choose Vistas in Education if you want to make sure your experience is well-planned and hassle-free – as VIE focuses solely on making student and group travel to France excellent and authentically enriching.