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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS : Inexpensive Japanese Inns

Question: Are there inexpensive bed and breakfast inns in Japan?

Answer: There are three types: pensions, small Western-style inns (about $50 per person); minshuku , private homes (about $35), and ryokan, traditional inns with shared bath and toilet (about $30).

Q: Which cruise lines engage elderly men to act as hosts for dancing and bridge playing during a voyage? Do passengers pay them for their services?

A: Royal Cruise Line, Royal Viking, Sun Line and Crystal Cruises offer such hosts. There is no fee to passengers for their services.

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Q: Has Hungary recently waived its visa requirement for U.S. citizens?

A: Americans staying less than 90 days need only a valid passport.

Q: I know some travel agents handle only cruises. However, do any deal only with train travel?

A: While most agencies can book train trips, the only one specializing in rail travel exclusively is The Train Lady, 6234 Royalton Drive, Dallas, Tex. 75230. The Train Lady is operated by Barrie Gravel, who also publishes a newsletter available free on request.

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Q: Are tours available to Albania?

A: Canadian operators are marketing such trips. In April, however, they will also be available from American operators: Pecum Tours, 2002 Colfax Ave. South, Minneapolis, Minn. 55405; Sterling Cruises & Tours, 1106 Clayton Lane, Suite 105E, Austin, Tex. 78723; Vega International Travel, 201 N. Wells St., Chicago, Ill. 60606-1394, and Kompas, 630 Fifth Ave., Suite 219, New York 10111.

Q: Where can I get information about fishing in the Florida area?

A: Free information is offered by the Fish Florida Referral Service. Call (800) 741-5873 for information.

Q: We’re driving to the east and want to do some bargain shopping along the way. Is there a directory of manufacturers’ outlet stores?

A: A list of 250 outlet malls is available for $3 from Outlet Malls USA, Box 3308, Crofton, Md. 21114.

Q: Do rental cars in Europe come with automatic transmissions?

A: Although most companies don’t have them, they’re available if requested. However, be prepared to pay more.

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Q: We’re a family of four and want to ski in Switzerland. Can we rent equipment at the slopes?

A: Rental gear is available at major ski resorts at reasonable cost (under $100 for six days). Boots also are available at about $32 for six days. For more information, contact Swiss National Tourist Office, 222 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 1570, El Segundo 90245, (213) 335-5980.


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