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Backpack & Budget : Cutting Costs in University Residence Halls

January 23, 1994|LUCY IZON

One way to cut overseas travel costs during holiday periods and the summer months is to stay at universities and colleges.

Travelers should be aware that you don't have to be a student to stay in a university residence. Some also welcome families. However, you should be prepared for certain trade-offs in the process. For example, you may be sharing a washroom down the hall.

Residences are often quite economical for solo travelers who want more privacy than a hostel dormitory room can offer, but who can't afford the rates at foreign hotels.

Some tourist information offices can provide information about university residences in their areas that welcome visitors. Guidebooks geared to student-style travelers are another good source.

More than 60 British universities offering visitor accommodations have produced a brochure with details on their facilities. Per-person, double occupancy rates begin at about $23 per night. In Britain, school-vacation periods usually cover three weeks during the Easter break, three weeks at Christmas, and July to September.

The brochures are available by writing British Universities Accommodation Consortium Ltd., Box 846, ATW, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, England. For more information about travel to Britain, contact the British Tourist Authority, 350 S. Figueroa St., Suite 450, Los Angeles 90071; telephone (213) 628-3525.

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It's now possible for budget travelers to go into 60 city offices worldwide and make on-the-spot reservations for youth-hostel accommodations in any of the other participating cities, for a modest $2 fee.

Hostelling International, a nonprofit network linking 5,000 youth hostels in 62 countries, recently completed its first year operating its International Booking Network.

There are no age restrictions to use the service, although most clients are in their teens and 20s. Most accommodations are in dormitory-style rooms shared by several travelers of the same sex.

Here are some of the offices that you can now visit to make other reservations:

* Toronto International Hostel, 223 Church St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

* New South Wales Youth Hostel Assn., 422 Kent St., Sydney, Australia.

* London Booking Centre, 14 Southhampton St., Covent Garden, London, England.

* Auberge de Jeunesse de l'Artagnan, 80 rue Vitruve, Paris, France.

* Hong Kong Assn. Booking Centre, Room 225, Block 19, Shek Kip Mei Estate, Shamshuipo, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

* Dublin International Youth Hostel, 61 Mountjoy St., Dublin, Ireland.

* Rome Booking Centre, Via Cavour 44, Rome, Italy.

* Tokyo Youth Hostels Assn. Booking Centre, Saiwai Building, 4 Goban-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.

* Auckland City Youth Hostel, City Road and Liverpool Street, Auckland, New Zealand.

* NJHC-herberg "Vondelpark," Zandpad 5, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Other cities with hostels that now have booking offices include San Francisco; Vienna; Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia.

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"Kilroy was here."

It's a phrase that has appeared in some of the most obscure areas of the world, but where did it originate?

Kilroy Travels, an international travel agency, was named in honor of James J. Kilroy, the man generally credited with creating the Kilroy legend.

According to "A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English" and other sources, Kilroy worked in the Bethlehem Steel Co. shipyards of Quincy, Mass., in the early 1940s. Among his duties, Kilroy loaded boxes onto steamships traveling to far corners of the world. On one particularly cold November day, when he didn't really want to be working outside, and with his foreman nagging him, Kilroy came up with an idea to offset his frustrations. He took out a piece of chalk and wrote on each box: "Kilroy was here."

The cases showed up in ports all over the world, with the words often accompanied by a sketch of a man, or at least his nose peering over a wall. Perhaps Kilroy wasn't able to travel, but his spirit did--and continues to do so--to this day.

Kilroy Travels is geared toward independent travelers between the ages of 16 and 34 with limited means but a spirit of adventure.

If you are traveling in Scandinavia and need assistance with making onward plans, you can find Kilroy Travels offices in the following locations:

* In Denmark: Skindergade 28, Copenhagen; from the United States, tel. 011-45-33-11-00-44.

* In Finland: Kaivokatu 10 D, Helsinki; tel. 011-35-80-680-7811

* In Norway: Blindern, Universitessentret, Oslo 0313; tel. 011-47- 22-85-32-00

* In Sweden: Universitet Frescati, Allhuset, Stockholm 104 05; tel. 011-46-8-16-05-15.

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