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On a Budget

Tips on Coupons, Time Shares, Stage Tickets

June 21, 1998|ARTHUR FROMMER

Food and fun discounts at home and away: Discount coupons to restaurants, movie theaters, shops, sports events and a few hotels in 170 cities here and abroad have become a way of life for more than 5 million Americans, at home or on the road. And they take the coupons seriously, feeding and entertaining themselves at discount-offering spots, with nary a thought of going elsewhere.

Individual city books cost $28 to $48 and can easily pay for themselves in a day or two. There's also a "National Hotel & Dining Directory," available for $42.95, which gives lots of great values in cities throughout the country.

Almost all these coupon books are sold in bulk to nonprofit groups that use them for fund-raising. But since the publisher has offices in most large U.S. cities, you can buy them directly; look in your local phone directory under "Entertainment Publications" or "Entertainment Passbooks" or call (800) 445-4137.

Student I.D. with a valuable twist: No student or teacher should travel in Europe without an I.D.--especially if it's the International Student Identity Card or the International Teacher Identity Card. Available for just $20 from the Council for International Educational Exchange, these cards can be worth their weight in gold abroad, entitling carriers to discounts (and sometimes outright freebies) on transportation, museums, theaters, meals and the like. The cards come with a handbook laying out privileges and discounts in detail. They're available at any of the 64 CIEE offices around the country; telephone (888) 268-6245.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday July 19, 1998 Home Edition Travel Part L Page 6 Travel Desk 2 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction
London tickets--Due to an editing error, an On a Budget column ("Tips on Coupons, Time Shares, Stage Tickets," June 21) gave the incorrect country code to call Ticketmaster to reserve seats for shows, concerts and sporting events. The correct box office number to call is: 011-44-171-344-4444.

Booking ahead for shows in London: Anxious to book your West End theater? Or a Chelsea Football Club match, or a Spice Girls concert? Watch out, because London is full of shady ticket-brokerage houses that charge double rates or sneak in restrictions. The most reliable way to go is the 24-hour Ticketmaster service, which will take your credit-card number, confirm your seats and either have tickets sent to you or held at the box office; tel. 011-49-171-344-4444.

Unloading your time share: Sorry you bought that lemon of a time share that you never seem to use and that seems to be losing its value month by month? Here's a chance to recoup something: A Texas-based company called ERA Stroman (which claims to be the world's largest time-share reseller) may be able to broker a deal to take it off your hands, or get you a good deal on somebody else's unwanted rights. You can reach the company by calling (409) 588-4444; for actual transactions, call (800) 733-8846 . Sellers call (800) 829-1544.

Help wanted at Club Med: Ever been lured by the dream of being a G.O. (short for gentil organisateur) for Club Med, one of those bronzed, happy-go-lucky social directors who always keeps things hopping? After years of favoring French citizens for that role, Club Med has gone international in its hiring and now takes on American nationals, even for as little as six months. You receive air fare to the resort, room and board and a salary starting at $530 a month. Attention: You'll be on duty seven days a week, and for the long hours that frantic socializing and other Club Med-style tasks require. For a recording that gives all the details, call the Club Med recruitment office; tel. (561) 337-6660.

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