This may be the year's best bargain. Comes squeaky close. Top Deck Travel is putting together a 4 1/2-week tour of Europe for only $518. Figures out to less than $17 a day. (Add $140 for the food kitty.)
You travel on a double-decker bus. Trip includes a four-day cruise of the Greek Isles, hotel in Greece for three nights, two nights in a chalet in Austria. Other nights spent on the bus (sleeping accommodations on the upper deck, general living quarters below, including a kitchen).
Top Deck (featured in On the Go, May 18, 1983) operates 70 double-decker buses throughout Europe. Other buses travel through India, the Far East, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Mexico. Trips designed for the 18-35 age crowd. In the United States, Top Deck does a 3 1/2-week trip, Los Angeles-New York. (Choice of northern or southern route.) Cost $598 plus $123 for the food kitty.
Top Deck's passengers have one thing in common: youth--when every season is springtime and the road is long and unending.
Contact Top Deck, 7531 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood 90046, or telephone (213) 874-4191.
For the Adult Crowd
A note from Max Mermelstein of AJS Travel Consultants tells about a vacation package for $795 that features one week in Switzerland (St. Moritz), one at a spa-resort near Venice, Italy. First-class hotels, two meals daily, sightseeing trips to Lake Como, Venice, university town of Padua. Mermelstein tells about another, this one a Swiss holiday (16 days) for $795 combining St. Moritz and a village on Lake Lucerne. Two meals daily, transfers, sightseeing. Send a post card to Mermelstein c/o AJS Travel Consultants, 177 Beach 116th St., Rockaway Park, N.Y. 11694, or call toll-free (800) 221-5002.
Other Budget Tours
Arthur Frommer is plugging a one-week tour of England that sells for $1,229, including air fare (round trip from Los Angeles), hotels, breakfasts, a motor-coach tour of the Shakespeare country, Bath, Stonehenge, London. Frommer has a series of other inexpensive European motor-coach tours. Up to 22 days. Your travel agent has details.
For actives, here's a program of guided walking tours through the English countryside. Five days each, 10 miles per day. Nights will be spent in pubs, private homes. Baggage goes ahead by van. And there's transportation in case someone tires out. Hikes through Dorset, Yorkshire, the Cotswolds. Others into Dartmoor, Exmoor (Lorna Doone country). About $460 (six nights' accommodations, breakfasts, lunches, dinners daily). Contact Moira Lubbock c/o The Wayfarers, 535 West 110th St., New York 10025.
China Home Stays
For the first time, Americans can share a home with a Chinese family. A rare opportunity. Dine together, shop together, go sightseeing together, meet your host's friends, neighbors. For details on home-stays contact China Specialist Travel Reps, 435 S. Broadway, Santa Ana 92701, or telephone (213) 385-6635/(714) 973-4844.
Vacation in the Rockies
Pat Dickerman, author of "Farm, Ranch & Country Vacations" and "Adventure Travel" books, has produced a new 12-page brochure focusing on 35 summer vacations in the northern Rockies. For a copy send a No. 12 stamped envelope to Adventure Guides, Department F, 36 East 57th St., New York 10022. Dickerman is the authority on all sorts of farm/ranch vacations. Opportunities to join cattle rides, go dude ranching, trekking through Yellowstone, the Tetons, sign up for farm vacations throughout the United States. (Dickerman books family vacations, California to New England.)
New Orleans--Mabel J. Enkoji, Whittier: "Recommend the Prince Conti Inn, 830 Conti St., New Orleans. Continental breakfast served in your room. Clean, comfortable. Our room was $65 double occupancy."
Austria--Nadene Rasmussen, Whittier: "Hotel Berghof in Lech am Arlberg, Austria. Balcony with window boxes. Looks out on mountain pastures. Could hear the cow bells. Rates about $50 for a double room with breakfast. Telephone 05-583-26350."
Austria--Mrs. Mary B. Muller: "Pension Salzburgerhof, No. 88 Fuschl-am-See, 5330 Austria. Half-hour by bus from Salzburg. Overlooks lake, excellent cuisine. Activities in summer include swimming, sailing, windsurfing. In winter, skiing, sleigh rides, ice boating, curling, ice skating."
Greece--Marei Mauthe, Irvine: "Found a marvelous taxi/tour driver named Paul Mitropoulos. Speaks fluent English, drives a spotless Mercedes. Will meet you at the airport. Prices very reasonable. Contact Mitropoulos, Fillis 16, Athens, Greece. Telephone 82-14-029."
Switzerland--David Madsen: "Luxurious Hotel Mirabeau in Zermatt, Switzerland. Small, four-star family place, view of the Matterhorn, personalized service, French/Swiss cuisine,indoor pool, tennis. Prices, $25/$45 per person, depending on season. Includes a sumptuous breakfast buffet."
New Zealand--Susan Weiss: "A lovely inn in Rotorua, New Zealand. We were treated like royalty by the small but select staff. Each cottage has its own hot mineral spa. Meals cooked to order (surpasses some of the recommended European restaurants we have tried). It's the Muriaroha, 411 Old Taupo Road, Rotorua, New Zealand. Telephone 88-136."
New Zealand--Margaret Riutcel, Laguna Beach: "Highlight of our trip was farm stay with Peter and Bev Bryant, Earle Road, Puketea, Te Awamutu, New Zealand. Telephone 812. Paid $40 (New Zealand) per person per night. Included three meals."
Australia--Jim and Laurie Rorabaugh, Whittier: "Enjoyed the Kin Kin Hotel in Australia (about 165 kilometers northwest of Brisbane). A quaint, two-story country inn. Ten rooms, food was wonderful. Oysters Rockefeller were about $2.40 per dozen. This is in the village of Kin Kin" (near Cooloola National Park).
Davis, Calif.--D.B. Wexler, San Diego: "A delightful bed and breakfast, the Partridge Inn, 521 1st St., Davis, Calif. Telephone (916) 753-1211. A turn-of-the-century house, refurbished. Breakfasts were wonderful. Complimentary sherry, chocolates, newspaper. Prices $38 to $65."
England--Shirley A. Hatfield, Corona del Mar: "A lovely Tudor farmhouse, Barley Green, in the beautiful countryside of Stradbroke, Eye, Suffolk. (Telephone Stradbroke 281.) Bed and a hearty English breakfast was an unbelievable $20 a night. Evening meal for a little extra. Trout pond on the property. About two miles down a winding lane, a delightful English pub, the Royal Oak Inn, Laxfield, Suffolk (telephone Ubbeston 446). Highly recommend both to any tourist going to the United Kingdom."
England--Diane and Igal Silber, Orange: "A bed-and-breakfast hotel, the Sidney Gardens, Sidney Road, Bath BA2 6NT, England. Telephone 02-256-4818. In the center of Bath, beautiful gardens, spacious rooms. Between 30 and 40 a night" ($33 to $44).
Wales--Sharm and Chuck Ferges, Whittier: "A lovely B&B;, the Dell, Llidiart-Y-Parc, Corwen, Clwyd, Wales. Telephone 04-90-83-630."
Scotland--Francis Mercer, Los Angeles: "Some good places to stay in Scotland: Thistle House, St. Catherines, Argyll, Scotland (food terrific, double room about $27.50 for two with a huge breakfast); Glengarry Castle Hotel, Invergarry, Inverness-Shire (built in 1866, recently modernized, central heating, set in 60 acres of wooded grounds overlooking Loch Oich--double room with bath and breakfast, about $40 for two, VAT and service charges included); Rosedale Hotel, Portree, Isle of Skye IV51 9DB (on the waterfront, created from several old fishermen's houses--double with breakfast, $36 for two inclusive of VAT). Also, in York, England, Grassmead House Hotel, 1 Scarcroft Hill, York YO2 1DF. Telephone 09-04-29996."
Readers: Your recommendations should contain the addresses of hotels, inns, restaurants, as well as prices whenever possible. (Please print or type.)