Finding Money-Saving Lore in ‘Let’s Go’ Series

<i> Izon is a Canadian travel journalist covering youth budget routes. </i>

You can spend a night in a castle for under $10, find a three-course meal in Paris for less than $1 or stay in a tree house for $6 while traveling in the United States--if you have a good source of information about budget travel.

Those three items are among hundreds of excellent tips in the 1987 edition of the guidebook series, “Let’s Go.”

The 10-book series began 27 years ago when a group of Harvard students produced a 20-page pamphlet for friends.

“Let’s Go” has developed into the best source of written current information on student-style travel in Europe and North America. A major factor in its success is that each year more than 50 Harvard students head out to check and update all information.


Each guidebook includes preparation information such as documentation, mail services, how to get student or youth discounts, transportation discounts, accommodation services and health, weather, packing, money and safety tips.

The books then describe popular destinations and cover history, culture, signs, how to get around, discounts, where to eat and reviews of budget accommodations. You’ll also find details about where you can find a laundry, where you can cash travelers checks and whom to contact in an emergency.

Wise to Phone Ahead

A problem with popular guidebooks is that recommended accommodations often fill up fast. It’s wise to try to phone to see if space is available. If you run into a language barrier or if you arrive and the place is full, ask the proprietor if he has a friend or neighbor with similar budget lodgings.


“Let’s Go: Europe” has been called the granddaddy of guidebooks. Its hefty 880 pages include 47 maps and budget tips on Europe and some neighboring countries.

This year “Let’s Go: Europe” includes information on Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, East Germany, West Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Luxembourg, Morocco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, the USSR and Yugoslavia.

In this edition, information has been added on Andorra, Cyprus and Sicily. “Let’s Go: Europe” costs $10.95.

The newest edition of “Let’s Go: Britain and Ireland,” $9.95, has expanded information on sights in the London and Edinburgh areas and on Scotland’s Highlands and islands. (The castle accommodation for under $10 a night is on page 451.)

“Let’s Go: France,” “Let’s Go: Italy” and “Let’s Go: Greece” (which includes information on Cyprus, the Turkish Coast and Istanbul) also each cost $9.95.

For Young Travelers

Young travelers using “Let’s Go: Spain, Portugal and Morocco,” $9.95, can find some offbeat tourist sights. For example, on page 393 the guide gives information on where you can see a chapel in Portugal made entirely of the bones of 5,000 monks and nuns. This year’s edition includes expanded information on Madrid, Costa Brava and Arajuez.

“Let’s Go: Israel and Egypt,” $9.95, also includes information on Jordan. This year you’ll find that researchers have gathered more details on areas away from Egypt’s major cities.


“Let’s Go: Mexico,” $9.95, has updated its Mexico City section completely since the 1985 earthquake. Average cost for a hotel accommodation covered in the guide is $3.

“Let’s Go: USA,” $10.95, also includes 60 pages on Canadian destinations. This year’s guide features expanded coverage of Alaska, Hawaii, Utah’s parks and Virginia’s mountain areas.

“Let’s Go: California and the Pacific Northwest,” $9.95, also includes details on British Columbia.

The “Let’s Go” series is published by St. Martin’s Press.