Turning a Trip Into a Big Event
One way to make the most out of your adventures abroad is to schedule your visit to overlap with local special events. Tourist boards usually produce annual calendars of festivities that can help you plan. Keep in mind, though, that accommodations in every price range will likely be booked, so it’s a good idea to contact a local hostel in advance so you can be assured of a bed at a reasonable price.
This summer in Britain, a special Festival of the Sea is being celebrated in Portsmouth Aug. 28 to 31, and one of the local youth hostels is offering reservations with special package rates.
During this summer’s festival, the city will be host to more than 1,000 classic and traditional vessels from all over the world. Local activities will also include an 18th century-style street market, exhibitions, hundreds of musicians and entertainers, and special night-time entertainment.
Portsmouth is known for its nautical heritage. It was here the Mary Rose was launched in 1545, only to sink almost immediately right under Henry VIII’s nose. The ship was raised from the harbor in 1982 and is now displayed in a specially humidified museum. The Youth Hostel Assn. Portsmouth will be offering budget travelers dormitory beds with half-board for $27, or a bed with full board for $32. The hostel is located in Wymering Manor, Old Wymering Lane, Medina Road in Cosham, tel. 011-44-1705-375-661, which is about four miles north of the city center.
Iceland is a fascinating but expensively priced destination that is available as a stopover on some air routes between North America and Europe. In the summer, Icelandair flies to Reykjavik from Halifax, Nova Scotia; Boston; Baltimore; New York; and Orlando, Fla., en route to destinations in Britain and Europe. Travelers can usually stop for up to three nights for no additional charge. Fortunately for budget travelers, there are special services that can help keep costs under control when they do get off the plane. This summer there will be 30 youth hostels open around the country, and at the Reykjavik hostel there is a travel service that offers packages for longer do-it-yourself budget adventures.
An airport bus travels the 30 miles from Keflavik International Airport to Reykjavik and its youth hostel for about $10 each way. The 108-bed Reykjavik Hostel is located at Sundlaugavegur 34, 105 Reykjavik; tel. 011-354-553-8110, fax 011-354-588-9201. It has the second largest swimming pool in the city. Hostel beds cost $16 for members of Hostelling International and $20 for nonmembers, in rooms shared by up to eight travelers. Breakfasts are available for $9, and there is a kitchen that guests can use to prepare their own meals.
The Youth Hostel travel service offers several packages designed for independent travel. Hostelling Around I includes a Full Circle Coach Pass, which is valid for all scheduled buses operated on Road No. 1 (a circular route around the country), plus vouchers for seven nights’ youth hostel accommodation. You can move at your own speed, but you must travel in one direction. The cost is $336.
Hostelling Around II includes an Omnibus pass and vouchers for seven nights’ youth hostel accommodation. The Omnibus is valid for one to four weeks of travel on all scheduled bus routes in Iceland. Using this pass, you can travel in any direction for a specific time period. The one-week version is $352, two weeks is $457, three weeks is $562 and four weeks is $612. Additional overnight vouchers can be purchased.
For information on Iceland, contact the Iceland Tourist Board at 655 3rd Ave., New York, NY 10017; tel. (212) 885-9747.
Izon is a Toronto-based freelance writer. She can be reached at https://www.izon.com.