Exploring Ecuador on the Cheap

Izon is a Toronto-based freelance writer

"In one handy package, Ecuador wraps up South America's big three attractions--Andes, Amazon and beaches--along with one attraction no other South American country has--the Galapagos Islands." In 440 pages, Julian Smith, author of the new "Ecuador Handbook" (Moon Handbooks, $19.95), gives independent travelers the detailed information they'll need to explore this country that he describes as "so lush that entire rows of fence posts take root and sprout leaves, and orchids grow like weeds along the road."

The handbook includes information and advice that will help you navigate your way through health and safety issues. It offers detailed information on accommodations, from luxury to budget. If you use Quito as your gateway, you'll find information on the "clean but cramped" Hostelling International location at Pinto 325 and Reina Victoria (telephone 011-593-2-543-995), which offers beds for $10.


Every year colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Europe, New Zealand and Australia open their doors to travelers and offer economical accommodations. In most cases you don't have to be a student to take advantage of this. The most comprehensive source for campus accommodations worldwide is "Campus Lodging Guide." It lists 609 colleges and universities where student rooms and apartments can be rented by the day, week or month. Listings include rates, contact addresses, e-mail addresses, facilities, and whether they take credit cards.

"Campus Lodging Guide" also includes information on travel bargains; study programs; home exchange services; listings for YMCAs (393 worldwide) that offer lodging plus bed and breakfast services; and mid-priced hotels, motels and inns in the U.S. The guide is available for $16.95 and can be ordered by calling (800) 525-6633.


Munich, host of the world's biggest party each fall--Oktoberfest--makes a special effort to welcome young budget visitors by publishing a free English-language information booklet called "Young People's Guide Infopool Munich." The current edition was researched in October 1996. For a free copy, contact the German National Tourist Office, 122 E. 42nd St., 52nd Floor, New York, NY 10168; tel. (212) 661-7200, fax (212) 661-7174.


Students can now purchase passes for all public transportation in Prague, the Czech Republic capital, for half-price.

The special deal has been arranged by CKM 2000 at Dobroskeho 22, which is the issuing office of the International Student Identity Card in Prague. To obtain a one-month pass for $5, just present your valid identity at a bus station.

Izon is a Toronto-based freelance writer. She can be reached at http://www.izon.com.

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