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Traveling to the New Czechoslovakia

Where to stay: The Praha is not listed in the telephone directory. Nor is it likely to be known by U.S. travel agents. Rate for a standard room, including breakfast, is $180 U.S. double. To ensure reservations, write directly to Hotel Praha, Suskicka 20, 166 35 Prague 6-Dejvice, Czechoslovakia. Phone 33-38-111.

Getting there: Only Czechoslovak Airlines (CSA) offers nonstop service from New York City to Prague, three times a week. The flight takes about eight hours.

Airlines offering connecting flights are Lufthansa (daily flights from Frankfurt), Pan Am, British Airways, KLM and Finnair. Aeroflot and Interflug offer service from East European airports. Visas are no longer necessary to visit Czechoslovakia.

Economical way to go: Cedok, the Czechoslovakian Travel Bureau, and its agents book tours, usually the most economical way to see the country. A major advantage of Cedok tours is that the prepaid reservations entitle tour members to a highly advantageous exchange rate of Czech korunas for U.S. dollars. Otherwise, travelers must exchange $15 a day at the normal commercial rate.

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Money: The Czech unit of currency is the koruna. Money cannot be exchanged before entering the country and must be converted back before leaving. Black market exchange is risky.

Only hard currency is accepted at the big hotels and tourist gift shops. Carry small coins in korunas for restroom attendants, telephones, trains or tram tickets.

Best buys: Moser and Bohemia crystal, garnets, porcelain and folk art are in good supply at the state-run shops. The herb-based aperitif, Becherovaka, or the more potent slivovitz (plum brandy), are easy to find. The most inexpensive souvenirs: Vaclav Havel buttons or posters picturing the charismatic new president of the republic.

Goodwill offerings: Natives enjoy gifts of T-shirts with logos of American institutions of any kind, lighters and U.S. dollar bills.

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For more information: Contact your travel agent or Cedok, 10 East 40th St., New York 10016, (212) 689-9720.


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