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Travel guide a great resource on Europe

Book offers tips on traveling for students with a low budget

Students who plan to backpack through Europe this summer will find a great resource in the revised Lonely Planet travel guide “Europe On A Shoestring,” which is just as informative as the original and about an inch thicker.

Touring Europe on a small budget has become a summer trend for students in the United States. Some of the noteworthy suggestions in the book include making an itinerary before leaving and then try to ignore it once you’re there; avoiding being an ‘ugly’ tourist and having some amount of cultural sensitivity; traveling in June is better than July and July is better than August; spending time in towns and villages as well as big cities; and most importantly, garlic spread will transform any dull bread into a tasty meal.

“Europe On A Shoestring” is easy to follow. It was designed with the idea that no one will read it front to back, but that readers will “dip into it.” This occurs at the book’s entry points: The table of contents and index, as well as sections that specifically address certain questions.

The sections “Facts for the Visitor,” “Getting There” and “Away and Getting Around” are sub-chapters for each of the 40 European countries discussed in the guide. Other informative sections are “What to Pack,” “Scams and Swindles,” “Camping,” “Hostels,” and even a brief section on “Gay and Lesbian Travelers.”

Lonely Planet Publishers have been printing travel guides since 1972 and are recommended by travel consultants across the globe. The company sprang from a traveling adventure much like the ones it now promotes. In 1972, Tony and Maureen Wheeler of Melbourne, Australia, took a journey across Europe and, with the information gathered from the experience, put together the first Lonely Planet guidebook at their kitchen table.

Today, the company is the largest independent travel publisher in the world, with offices in Oakland, Calif., Melbourne, Australia, London and Paris, and its objective is still “to help make it possible for adventurous travelers to get out there — to explore and better understand the world.”

Linh Thai, a third-year UNM student and study abroad administrator for the Office of International Programs and Studies, is currently reading Lonely Planet’s first European travel guide. She’s not doing it for work, but because she will be taking classes at the University of Edinburgh as part of a summer exchange program offered through UNM.

Thai’s best advice for students who come into her office is to do as much research as possible on the places they want to go.

Rebecca Digman, associate director of the Study Abroad program, said about 75 students applied for next year’s international exchanges.

“A good percentage of them are usually accepted,” Digman said.

For students looking for something more intense than a summer abroad, UNM offers year exchanges to many countries including Australia, New Zealand, Wales, Sweden, Denmark and many more.

“We do require a 302 course level proficiency in the language of the country the student wants to visit,” Thai said.

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Other requirements are a 3.0 cumulative GPA, two semesters of enrollment at UNM and 60 hours of earned credit.

Whether on your own budget and itinerary or through the university, both Digman and Thai say the guidebooks are a great way to plan excursions abroad.

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