American Youth Hostels (AYH) will be operating 34 budget accommodation facilities near top ski areas this winter, with overnight fees for dormitory beds running from $8 to $25 per person, per night.
Hostels located near ski resorts in Colorado include the Winter Park Hostel, telephone (970) 726-5356, next to the Winter Park Mary Jane Ski Area. There are 20 lifts and 62 miles of cross-country ski trails. The hostel has many private rooms and can be reached via daily van service from Denver International Airport.
Alpen Hutte Hostel at Silverthorne, tel. (970) 468-6336, provides free shuttle to Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, near Copper Mountain. The Fireside Inn in Breckenridge, tel. (970) 453-6456, offers beds for $15 to $25. It's near the Breckenridge Ski Areas and Copper Mountain Ski Resort. There is a free shuttle to ski areas plus discounts on ski lifts and equipment rentals.
Other Hostelling International-American Youth Hostel ski facilities in Colorado are located in Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs and Pitkin. A new HI-AYH location was added in California recently. The HI-Sonora, tel. (209) 533-3039, is near Dodge Ridge and Bear Valley ski areas and Yosemite National Park. For reservations or more information on affiliated ski area hostels, contact: HI-AYH Ski Hostels, 733 15th St. N.W., Suite 840, Washington, D.C. 20005; tel. (202) 783-6161, fax (202) 783-6171.
Here are two free publications that have been created as promotional vehicles for guidebook publishers, but also provide helpful information to independent travelers. Rick Steves, author of "Europe Through the Back Door" (known for his PBS television series of the same name), offers travelers a free quarterly newsletter of the same name that promotes the products he sells, from tours to rail passes and travel equipment. The current edition includes reports on pub life in Ireland and Europe's 10 best beach hideaways. Two of the best beach hideaways (he judges them on maximum natural and cultural charms with minimum condos and concrete) are:
* Salema, on the Algarve in Portugal. This is a 15-mile bus ride from the closest train station in Lagos. Visitors will find a morning market, fishing boats, several restaurants and an inviting beach.
* Collioure, on the French Riviera next to the Spanish border. Expect pastel houses, a winking lighthouse, a castle and charm.
To find out about the other eight locations, you can request your free copy by contacting Europe Through the Back Door Inc., 120 4th Ave. N., P.O. Box 2009, Edmonds, WA 98020-2009.
Planet Talk is a 14-page free quarterly newsletter that highlights information from "Lonely Planet" guidebook authors. You'll also find heaps of handy tips for independent travelers, some contributed by fellow travelers. For example: About travel in India it says, "Reconfirmation of a return flight 72 hours in advance is very important. Precisely 72 hours before takeoff, all non-reconfirmed seats are automatically canceled, and there are some nail-biting moments to spoil your last couple of days' holiday until you are informed that you . . . can fly home as planned."
On protecting your money in Brazil it says: "Credit card fraud is rife in Brazil, and probably on the rise elsewhere on the continent. One scam involves running off a few extra vouchers when a transaction is being processed."
For free copies, write Lonely Planet Publications, 155 Filbert St., Suite 251, Oakland, CA 94607.
Izon is a Toronto-based freelance writer. She can be reached at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/izon