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Budget Trips in Britain

<i> Izon is a Canadian travel journalist covering youth budget routes. </i>

Travelers on tight funds can arrange visits to Great Britain at rock-bottom rates through the Canadian Hostelling Assn.

Budget packages for independent travelers include six nights in Britain (three in London) for less than $80 U.S. and seven nights in Scotland (transportation included) for less than $112.

Since the Canadian dollar is worth less than the U.S. dollar, depending on the rate of exchange, you should save about 20% when you convert the package prices to American dollars.

One budget package includes confirmed dormitory accommodations for three nights in London’s Hampstead Heath youth hostel, vouchers for three nights at any of the 300 British youth hostels outside London and a “Countdown” discount card that’s valid in Britain and Europe. Arrangements must be made 10 days in advance. It costs $99 Canadian (about $79 U.S.).

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London has seven internationally affiliated youth hostels. Guests don’t need reservations, but the hostels do tend to fill up by breakfast time each day. Several impose midnight curfews and most lock their doors during the day.

A second package offers one night of confirmed accommodations in a London hostel, vouchers for six nights at other British hostels and a 30-day BritExpress Card. This card is valid for a 33% discount on National Express and Scottish Citylink bus services. The package price is $89 Canadian.

You can explore Scotland using another package that includes a seven-day Scotland Citylink Bus Pass, valid for unlimited travel throughout Scotland and the Isle of Skye, plus vouchers for six nights of hostel accommodations, a map, bus timetable, hostel handbook and a pass for visiting heritage sites. You must travel between April 1 and Sept. 30. The cost is $137 Canadian.

And Eastern Europe

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Packages for independent travelers are also available for those who want to visit Eastern Europe.

Solo travelers can get seven nights of accommodations, with breakfast, in East Germany, sharing four-bed rooms (separate for men and women) in any combination of East Berlin, Dresden, Erfurt and Leipzig. There is a maximum stay of three nights at any one location.

Couples can usually be provided with a twin-bed room. This must be booked 35 days in advance. The price is $198 Canadian.

Student and youth travel agencies in Vienna offer budget-priced packages for individuals who want to visit Budapest. You can also make arrangements before you leave North America. The Canadian Hostelling Assn. offers packages that include five nights’ accommodations in four-bed rooms in a student hotel, plus vouchers for five lunches or dinners, for $72 Canadian.

Couples can have three nights’ accommodations in a two-star hotel in Budapest, with breakfast, for $39 Canadian per person.

The association also offers packages for budget-priced stopovers in Iceland. You get three nights of accommodations in a youth hostel in the capital of Reykjavik, a return ferry trip to Vestmannaeyjar Island with a night’s hostel lodging, and a bus tour to Gullfoss and Geysir with another night at a hostel. This package is available between June 9 and Aug. 21 and costs $179 Canadian.

The trips are designed for travelers between 18 and 40 but there are no age restrictions, just that you be “young at heart.” You must, however, be a member of a national youth hostel association.

You can get more details on the Canadian association’s tours by contacting Aventours, 1600 James Naismith Drive, Gloucester, Ottawa, Ont., Canada K1B 5N4, (613) 748-5725.

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Meanwhile, STI Travel, a California-based youth tour operator, has announced that it will include China in its 1989 tour program. The new 22-day tour for 18- to 30-year-olds visits the Great Wall, Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Suzhou, Shanghai and Qufu, the birthplace of Confucius. A cruise on the Li Jian River is also included.

Rates range from $2,895 to $2,975. To obtain STI’s new 52-page brochure, contact STI Inc., 8619 Reseda Blvd., Suite 103, Northridge 91324, toll-free (800) 637-7687 (California) or (800) 225-2788 (out of state), or (818) 886-0633.


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