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Alicia Wiser (Utah Statesman via U-WIRE)/LOGAN, Utah -- Edward Hasbrouck, author of "The Practical Nomad" travel guide books, spoke to Utah State University students Monday about maximizing travel experiences at a minimal cost.

"[The seminar] gave me a better perspective," said undergraduate student Mikey Evans, who said he would like to do more independent travel. "His perspective of having been everywhere has eased my fears of leaving my comfort zone."

Traveling, Hasbrouck told those in attendance, is "an investment in your career and your employability."

Eighty-five percent of Americans don't have a passport, he said, which makes those who do all the more employable because of the great "demand for international experience in the marketplace."

Travel costs can be minimized in several ways, Hasbrouck said. Students can seek out and apply for financial aid, extend travel arrangements for several weeks or months instead of just one or two weeks, and set their sights on poorer, more affordable countries rather than the glamour of rich, expensive countries.

What most people don't realize, Hasbrouck said, is "the cost of travel declines dramatically as the time spent traveling is increased. Most people find that their total costs, including airfare, for an extended international trip are less than their living costs were at home."

Extended travels tend to be cheaper, Hasbrouck said, because "when you travel more slowly, you can adapt more to the country you are in. There are local ways of doing things. The more time you spend in a place, the more time you have to figure out the cheaper, local ways of doing things."

Most people set their sights on Europe as the ideal travel destination, Hasbrouck said. But "our world view is distorted," he said. Europe is not only farther away than many other places, it can be more expensive than a trip to locations like Sao Paulo, Brazil, Santiago, Chile, Mexico, the Caribbean or Tokyo, he said.

Hasbrouck recommended travelers outline a comprehensive budget. This budget should be conservative, he said, and should not be a per-diem for the entire trip. The budget should be broken down according to the requirements of each destination.

Hasbrouck said it's smart to find local places to stay upon arrival in the village or city, rather than making reservations beforehand.

"This saves you money because you're not paying the premiums," Hasbrouck said.

Hasbrouck also addressed the issue of safety in travel. Statistics show Americans are in no more danger in another country than they are here, he said. In fact, Hasbrouck said, many countries are safer than the United States because they aren't as heavily armed. He said it is becoming easier and safer to travel independently, even for women.

Hasbrouck offered a few precautionary safety measures.

"Don't bring anything that you'd be heartbroken over if it got stolen," Hasbrouck said.

Property crime is of far greater concern in traveling than violent crime, he said. For this reason, Hasbrouck suggested carrying money and smaller personal items in a money belt.

Hasbrouck said the biggest physical danger is car accidents and recommended taking the train rather than a bus or street car whenever possible.

"Travel is a precious opportunity that we have. We have the very unique opportunity as Americans in this day and age [to see the world]," he said. "We can shape the future world for the better."

More travel tips and information about Hasbrouck can be found at the Practical Nomad Web site, www.hasbrouck.org.

(c) 2001 Utah Statesman via U-WIRE

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