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YOUTH BEAT

Finding Inexpensive Rooms to Rent at Universities and Colleges

May 09, 1999|LUCY IZON | Lucy Izon is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Internet http://www .izon.com

Finding an inexpensive, safe place to base yourself in a large city, either in North America or abroad, can be a challenge, especially if you want more privacy than a youth hostel dormitory room would provide. Some travelers' hostels do have single and twin rooms available at higher rates, but another option is a student residence. Many universities and colleges rent out rooms during school holidays, and you usually don't have to be a student to take advantage of this.

The drawbacks to residence rooms are that you will likely have the washroom down the hall, and the facilities can vary from new and attractive to spartan and well worn. But you should be able to find a private room at a reasonable price. This winter I stayed in a residence room at the International Student House in London, which is going through a slow face lift. The room was clean although somewhat dismal. But it was well located, and downstairs there was a restaurant and a fitness club I could use for a small extra fee. On the second floor there was a bustling Internet cafe.

Tourist boards may be able to help you with names and addresses of local educational institutions that rent rooms. You can always contact the director of residences to check on accommodations at any college or university.

The most comprehensive source on the wide range of residence accommodation available around the world is the "Campus Lodging Guide." The revised 19th edition is now available, and it lists 597 colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Europe, New Zealand and Australia that rent rooms to travelers by the day, week or month. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. It suggests, for example, that in Daytona Beach, Fla., you can stay at the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University for $25 single or $40 double (children welcome). In Sydney, Australia, the University of New South Wales has single rooms for $31, doubles for $51. Breakfast is included, and you would be close to some beaches, such as Bondi Beach. Canadian listings include the University of Ottawa, which rents rooms between May and August. A single room, within walking distance of the Parliament buildings, is listed at $20.50; double rooms are $35, and discounts are available for students.

"Campus Lodging Guide" also includes information on hotels, motels, inns, bed-and-breakfasts and home exchange programs, plus 391 YMCAs that offer accommodation for men and women. Copies of "Campus Lodging Guide" are available for $16.95, plus $1.30 tax from B&J Publications, P.O. Box 5486, Fullerton, CA 92838-0486; tel. (800) 525-6633, fax (714) 525-6625, Internet http://www.campus-lodging.com.

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Council Travel's spring/summer edition Student Travels is now available. This free magazine features detailed travel planning information and stories on student-style trips to Turkey, France and Australia/New Zealand, plus Britain-on-a-Budget information from the British Tourist Authority. For a free copy call: 1-800-2COUNCIL, Internet: http//www.counciltravel.com. Forty percent of Council Travel, a subsidiary of the Council on International Educational Exchange, was recently purchased by the Ireland-based global student travel company--USIT. This means that Council Travel's 70 offices in the United States are now part of a 150-office worldwide student/youth travel agency network.

Competitor STA Travel, which has more than 30 student travel agencies in the United States and 200 affiliated offices worldwide, has a new look and new address for its Internet site: http://www.statravel.com. The site is easy to navigate and offers instant air fare quotes and online bookings and sales of rail passes and student/youth identity cards. It also includes information on work-abroad programs (in Britain and Australia), plus message boards and destination information.

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Flying Pig youth hostels in Amsterdam have introduced a free Internet access service for their guests, and if you don't have an e-mail address they will help you set up a free one.

There are two Flying Pig locations in Amsterdam. The Flying Pig Palace is in the Museum Area on the edge of Vondelpark. You can find it at Vossiusstraat 46, 1071 AJ Amsterdam; tel. 011-31-20-400- 41-87, e-mail palace@flyingpig.nl. There are beds in 12-person dormitory rooms from $12.50, or in four-person rooms for $18. A double room is $28 per person. There's free luggage storage, a cafe and a fully equipped kitchen where you can cook meals. You can find it by taking Tram 1, 2 or 5 from Central Station to Leidseplein.

The Flying Pig Downtown is just a block from Central Station, and near the red light district. It's at Nieuwendijk 100, 1012 MR Amsterdam, tel. 011-31-20-420-68-22, and within walking distance of the Anne Frank house, the Royal Palace and Dam Square.

More details on the hostels, plus tips on Amsterdam, are available on the Internet at http://www.flyingpig.nl.

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