Trip prep


By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: I'm finishing high school this year and wish to travel across Europe cheaply. It'll be my first trip there. Do you have any short cuts on how I might be able to save some money? I don't want to sleep in expensive hotels.

A: Before getting your backpack overstuffed, it's important to have a game plan, something that will map out the goals and interests of your trip. With a handy trip wishlist, not only will you be able to visit those landmarks you've always wanted to see but you will be following a schedule of sorts, something I'm sure your parents will appreciate as they'll have a better idea on your whereabouts. And seeing that cities across Europe are wired, you'll be able to step into the many cybercafes and send emails regularly.

Once you've selected your areas and have done your homework on festivals and historic sites you wish to explore, you then have something to work with. Today, the resources are pretty much limitless when it comes to travel.

One of my favorite stops is the local library where you can reserve guidebooks, peruse magazines and make notes for your trip. For first time travel to Europe like any unknown destination, there are some simple rules to follow.

Department of Foreign Affairs publishes a handy brochure available in html or .pdf format called, "Bon Voyage But…" It gives valuable information for Canadian travellers covering topics like Passport, Visa, Getting Medical Advice, Travel Insurance, Money Matters and more. For a copy, log onto, click on publications and make your selection.

For affordable accommodations, youth hostels have been popular for many years and continue to be the most economical way to spend overnight for many budget travellers. Venues are always different too. You can be in a castle one night, a monastery the next or even a rustic cabin.

For information on hostelling opportunities, Hostelling International Canada, is available. They are located downtown at 76 Church Street and their phone number is (416) 214-5775. Part of the world's largest budget travel organization, the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF), the network operates 4,500 hostels in 60 countries.

Once a member, you can stay at any HI facility which generally costs about $18-$22 Canadian per person for members. For cheap airfare and other types of budget accommodation, Travel Cuts, a travel agency for students and youth, can offer assistance. Visit them online at for info on the latest deals or call them at toll-free 1.866.246.9762.

Currently, every Friday they load up their web site with specials. Travel Cuts recently had a Toronto-Paris Special on for $295 return without taxes. Seats are limited and subject to availability.

For additional information on countries in Europe, the Consular Affairs Department part of Foreign Affairs Canada publishes country travel reports that are frequently updated.

For more information contact the Consular Affairs Bureau at 1 800 267-6788 or 613-944-6788 or visit them online at


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