U.S. travelers to Lithuania can no longer purchase visas at the Lithuanian border, but must obtain them before departure from a consular office or the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington, according to the Lithuanian Consul General in Westlake Village. The change in policy, which occurred May 15, is an effort to make the process of entering Lithuania smoother and to cut down on time spent at the border. But, in another change, holders of valid Lithuanian visas now may travel freely to the other Baltic countries of Estonia and Latvia, according to the embassy. Before this spring, separate visas were required for each Baltic republic. The processing fee for visas, good for up to three months, is $25. For further information contact the Lithuanian Embassy, 2622 16th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009, (202) 234-5860, or the Consul General of Lithuania, 3236 N. Sawtooth Court, Westlake Village, Westlake, 91362, (805) 496-5324.
Travel Quiz: Through what states did the Oregon Trail, which is celebrating its sesquicentennial next year, travel?
Crackdown on Canine "Calling Cards": Tourists who have gotten used to stepping around the "evidence" that Paris dog owners are blase about their pets' bathroom habits will welcome a new law that went into effect last Monday. Aimed at decreasing the estimated 11 tons of waste deposited daily on city sidewalks, the law requires Parisians to clean up after their dogs or face a fine of up to $250. Officials are vowing a serious crackdown and have committed some 50 plainclothes agents to the streets, ready to pounce. According to a survey done by City Hall, 8 out of 10 Parisians--including 6 of 10 dog owners--favor the measures.
No More European Life: Don't expect your June issue of European Travel & Life to show up soon. The magazine has fallen victim to harsh economic times. After seven years of publication, the periodical that prided itself on providing lifestyle and service articles aimed at the sophisticated traveler, has ceased publication and sold its subscription list to Conde Nast Publications. Travel & Life subscribers will receive Conde Nast Traveler to fill out their subscription periods.
New and Cheap to Tahiti: Service begins tonight between Los Angeles and Papeete, Tahiti, on the new carrier AOM French Airlines. Special introductory air fares for the weekly flights between LAX and Tahiti will be bargain-priced at $499 round trip/economy, through June 17. Tickets must be purchased by June 3. (Air Qantas and Air New Zealand have similar specials.) Economy fares will then rise to $699. Now the largest privately owned airline in France, AOM was created last December by the merger of Air Outre Mer and Air Minerve.
State Department Nigeria Warning: Americans are being advised to defer all nonessential travel to Lagos, the capital of Nigeria, according to a May 13 State Department warning. Demonstrations in Lagos May 12 and 13, which involved violence, have disrupted road traffic and restricted access to the international airport. U.S. travelers who must visit Nigeria are being asked to register immediately upon arrival at the U.S. Embassy in Lagos, 2 Eleke Cresent, telephone locally 610097, fax 6353397, or the U.S. Consulate in Kaduna, 2 Maska Road, telephone 201070. For more information, contact the Department of State, Citizens Emergency Center, Washington, D.C. 20520, (202) 647-5225.
Quick Fact: Alaska Airlines turned 60 this month by putting into service the first of 22, 737-400 aircraft that it has ordered to replace its fleet of 727-200s, which are said to be noisier and less fuel-efficient than the new planes.
Self-Help for the Physically Challenged Traveler: Last week, representatives in Japan joined a network of people, called "Travelin' Talk," that now stretches across all 50 states and 18 countries, providing information and services for "physically challenged" travelers. Founder Rick Crowder, who himself is disabled, traveled across the United States in 1987 and said he learned firsthand how hard it was to get reliable information on accessibility and services. When he returned to his home in Paducah, Ky., Crowder began gathering names of people willing to share information on their hometowns (including spot-checking the wheelchair accessibility of different sites). Joining the network costs from $1 to $10 for individuals, depending on income. Network members get the quarterly "Travelin' Talk Newsletter," a list of members and their services. A directory due out in June lists travel agencies and information on equipment rentals. Request a membership application and details by sending a SASE to P.O. Box 3534, Clarksville, Tenn. 37043-3534, (615) 552-6670.
From "Me" to "We": The move from the "Me Generation" of the 1980s to the "We Generation" of the '90s is now affecting travel behavior, according to results of a just-released telephone poll of 800 Americans who typically travel with one or more companions. Four out of 10 Americans surveyed said they spend more time with travel companions--either spouses or friends--on vacations today than they did in the past, and 51% said that's more time than people spent together in their parents' generation, according to the American Express/Gallup poll.
Comparatively Speaking: Cruise ship sanitation scores for ships inspected in April (a score of 87 or higher indicates acceptable sanitation): Azure Seas, 83; Ecstasy, 94; Regal Princess, 74; Seabourn Pride, 99; Song of Norway, 92; Star Princess, 94; Renaissance I, 86; Vistafjord, 94; Ocean Princess, 82. (Source: Department of Health and Human Services.)
Fair Warning: For the fourth year, San Diego will host the Mainly Mozart Festival, May 30-June 7. Works by Mozart and other classical composers will be conducted by David Atherton, music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, in the Spreckels Theatre, 121 Broadway (between First and Second avenues), in downtown San Diego. Tickets range in price from $15 to $32. For reservations, call (619) 233-4281.
Quiz Answer: Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon.