By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: My two girlfriends and I will be travelling to Europe for 3 months (May to August), visiting about 17 countries. We are students so we're trying to save costs. Do you have any suggestions for us? We want to book a flight as soon as possible. I think a Eurailpass will also be a good investment. We're first time travellers and would appreciate any advice.

A: The night before I travel overseas, I conduct a ritual. I make a list of all belongings, ensure I have my passport, record any traveller's cheques serial numbers, pack a map, avoid jewelery like the plague (except my watch), and eliminate my clothes by half. You and your backpack will be happier.

Since you're women and first time travellers to Europe, it's always a good idea to research as much as you can before setting out on your journey. I recommend you order a free copy of "Her Own Way" -- a pocket-size advice booklet for women travellers which is published by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. For orders, dial toll-free 1-800-267-8376 or visit their web site at

You're correct about the Eurailpass. It's flexible and allows you a variety of options, depending on your needs. However, you have to be 26 years old or under to qualify for the Youth Eurailpass. For a three month trip, a Eurailpass ticket agent quoted $1,688 for a second class Youth Eurailpass, giving you unlimited rail travel along the 100,000 mile network. If that price sounds steep, there are other packages available.

For more info, visit their web site at or telephone 1-800-361-RAIL.

Most travel agents can reserve your Eurailpass and plane tickets at the same time. If the Canadian dollar continues at its rate against European currency, your group will reap its rewards because it's at a stronger rate compared to last year. You're travelling in three's so you can consult one another. Just remember, pick-pocketers abound and love crowds. Lastly, have fun. You'll have the trip of your lifetime.


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