With the buying power of the dollar...

With the buying power of the dollar at a new low overseas, travelers are searching for bargains. You may recall Harold Taussig, the ex-university professor who puts together dozens of affordable holidays in Europe. He places travelers in chalets in Switzerland and Austria as well as cottages and apartments in Germany, Scotland, London, Wales. The idea is to unpack, settle down and shake the jet lag. Then run off on day trips by train or car to other towns and villages, returning each evening to your chalet or apartment. Or else travel to another country for a day or two. Only instead of packing all your gear, you leave it all behind in your chalet. Just stuff a few things in an overnight bag and hit the road (or rail).

In this year of rising costs, Taussig's tours are an even bigger bargain. Here are a couple of examples: Couples can move into a Swiss chalet for as little as $25 a day per person (make that $12 per person for a family of seven), or as little as $13 each in Austria for a family of five.

Taussig's tours are designed for travelers wishing to escape the fast lane of a guided tour. No early departures. None of that business of bags by the door by 6 a.m. followed by a dawn-to-dusk bus ride. On Taussig's "Untours" you sightsee at your own pace after being met at the airport and accompanied to your chalet or apartment and given a helpful briefing. (Taussig's staff makes certain you are settled and satisfied.)

Besides rentals, Taussig offers an entire package deal that includes your round-trip flight from the United States, rail passes and car rentals. In Switzerland, vacationers choose between 25 villages. Their Swiss holiday card is good for three weeks of unlimited travel by train, bus and lake steamer. But you needn't move outside your door. Just toss another log on the fire, relax and listen to the melody of cowbells outside your window.

In Switzerland there are fondue parties and visits to a festival. In Scotland and Wales you pick a favorite pub and meet with the locals each evening.

In 1982 Taussig's price per person in Switzerland was $16.66 a day. In 1988 it's up barely $8 (and less where families or two or three couples share a chalet). The Swiss villages lie between Lucerne and Interlaken and along the shores of Lake Thun. Apartments in West Germany are scattered between Bing-am-Rhein and Koblenz, where vacationers are escorted to wine villages along the Mosel River. In London, apartments rent for $33 a day per person (double occupancy), and in Scotland and Wales accommodations are provided in farmhouses for as little as $31 per person per day.

Contact Hal Taussig, c/o Idyll, P.O. Box 405, Media, Pa. 19063 or telephone (215) 565-5242.

Another Money Saver

In the bargain corner, here's one from France. For $129 per person, the French National Railroads is selling a Rail/Drive Pass that's good for unlimited travel for seven days. The pass is valid during a 15-day period. Permits you to take the train (or drive) for a day or two and take a break. Then order another car (or hop another train) and resume your trip. Only one restriction: Complete your journey within 15 days. Another pass is valid for 15 days. This one can be used during a one-month period (sells for $219). The passes are good on any train in France and at more than 400 Avis agencies. No drop-off charges. Prices include unlimited mileage, insurance, VAT. Details from the French National Railroads, 9465 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills 90212. Telephone (213) 272-7967.

Bahamas

B.G. of Ventura wants the name of a "small, private hotel in the Bahamas near Nassau." My vote goes to the unpretentious Casuarinas, a few miles outside downtown Nassau (away from the noise and action). Rooms have been updated recently. This little hotel is on the water. Has a swimming pool, restaurant, bar. And the owner is a peach of a lady, an islander who loves to talk. Tells her guests all about her island, makes them feel at home. This is a family operated hotel.

Contact Nettie Symonette, Casaurinas of Cable Beach, P.O. Box N-4016, Nassau, Bahamas. (Nettie is known as the unofficial good will ambassador of the Bahamas.)

Hawaii

Outrigger hotels of Hawaii kicked off a special car program that is being carried into 1988. One of the least expensive hotel/car packages on the island of Oahu. Available at a dozen Outrigger hotels. Rates start at $60 a night (double occupancy) or $40 beginning in April. The package must be requested when reservations are made. Some restrictions apply. The offer is available at the Outrigger Prince Kuhio, Outrigger Waikiki, Outrigger Reef, Outrigger Seaside Suite Hotel, Outrigger East, Outrigger West, Outrigger Surf, Outrigger Malia, Outrigger Waikiki Tower, Outrigger Village, Outrigger Hobron and Outrigger Reef Towers. Call toll-free (800) 367-5170.

Spain

This note from Gene Murphy of Spanish Heritage: "American teen-agers ages 14-17 who are interested in traveling or studying in Spain this summer are encouraged to apply now. Home-stay programs as well as travel/study programs are available through Spanish Heritage. Scholarships are offered with host families and host high schools."

For additional details, contact Gene Murphy, West Coast director, Spanish Heritage, 484 Mobil Ave. No. 3, Camarillo, Calif. 93010 or telephone (805) 987-6088 after 4 p.m.

For general details on Spain, contact the Spanish National Tourist Office, 8383 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 960, Beverly Hills 90211. Telephone (213) 658-7188.

Reader Recommendations

California--Stan and Kathleen White of Spring Valley Lake: Enjoyed Casa Hermosa B&B;, 34532 Camino Capistrano, Capistrano Beach 92624. Patio and pool. Rates: $80 per night with a two-night minimum.

California--Jan Percival, Los Angeles: "Sand Castle Bed & Breakfast, 219 E. Whittely, Avalon, Catalina Island. Three double rooms, each with private bath and view. A second-floor sun deck overlooks the harbor. Priced from $125 to $145 including a full breakfast."

Hawaii--Paul and Kay Kunzler, Thousand Oaks: "Best Mexican cuisine on Maui at Senor Gecko's in the Rainbow Mall, Kihei Beach Road, Kihei. Reasonably priced. Ramon, the chef, originally from Granada Hills."

Ireland--Joe and Jan Guthrie, Downey: "Highly recommend an Irish farm holiday at the home of Nellie and John O'Mahony, Camp Road, Castleisland, County Kerry, Ireland. Close to Killarney and the Ring of Kerry. Delicious farm cooking. Has won awards for excellence. Most rooms with private baths. B&B; is $15 U.S. A self-contained apartment is available for $180 per week."

New Mexico--Steve Lake, Phoenix, Ariz.: "A wonderful bed and breakfast, the Inn of the Arts, 618 S. Alameda Blvd., Las Cruces, N.M. 88005. Rates are $40/$60."

Mexico--Marci Bordon, Manhattan Beach: "A guidebook titled '1988 Insider's Guide to Puerto Vallarta.' Tells the perfect places to go, the best restaurants. Turned me on to some things I never knew." Details locally from Viaje books, P.O. Box 423, Laguna Beach, Calif. 92652."

Spain--Reva and Marvin Biers, Tarzana: "The most enjoyable restaurant in the three weeks we traveled in Spain was Meson Antonio, Ecce Homo 6, Granada, Spain. The cost of our meal, including wine, was about $35 U.S. for two."

Africa--Stephen Tontz, Long Beach: Praises Born Free Safaris, 19 Plein St., Johannesburg, South Africa. "Took an inexpensive minibus tour from Johannesburg to the Kruger National Park. Cost $130 for three days. Included transportation, lodging and several meals in the park."

Because of the large number of reader recommendations, we regret that only a select few can be used. They must be brief (typewritten or printed). Only one recommendation per reader, please. Note: Recommendations will not be used unless prices and addresses are included.

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