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Help for travelers who have special requirements
For every traveler who has a special need or interest, there are agencies, Web sites and other resources that can help.
AFS Intercultural Programs Inc.: It has work, community service and study programs for students 16 and older and young adults. 71 W. 23rd St., 17th Floor, New York, NY 10010; (212) 807-8686, fax (212) 807-1001, https://www.https://usa.afs.org.
Amigos de las Américas: This group sends student volunteers to rural Latin American communities. Its projects emphasize community development and health care. 5618 Star Lane, Houston, TX 77057; (800) 231-7796 or (713) 782-5290, fax (713) 782-9267, https://www.amigoslink.org.
Experiment in International Living: This nonprofit group has educational trips, study-abroad and language training programs, and work exchanges for young adults. 63 Main St., Putney, VT 05346; (802) 387-4210, fax (802) 387-5783, https://www.experiment.org.
Hostelling International-USA: Even though this group is attracting more families and seniors, youthful travelers are still its focus. It has more than 110 hostels in the U.S. offering budget accommodations and other travel services. 733 15th St. N.W., Suite 840, Washington, DC 20005; (202) 783-6161, fax (202) 783-6171, https://www.hiayh.org.
Let's Go: The popular student-researched guidebook series contains basic destination information for young, budget-minded travelers. Its Web site has government travel advisories, a forum for exchanging information and features. 67 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, MA 02138; (617) 495-9659, fax (617) 496-7070, https://www.letsgo.com.
Putney Student Travel: Programs offer high school students language and service trips. 345 Hickory Ridge Road, Putney, VT 05346; (802) 387-5000, fax (802) 387-4276, https://www.goputney.com.
STA Travel: STA issues international student and youth identity cards good for discounts worldwide. It also books student air fares, tours, packages and budget accommodations. Its Web site links to study and volunteer programs. Several offices are in L.A. and Santa Monica; (800) 781-4040, fax (480) 592-0876, https://www.statravel.com.
StudentUniverse: A good online travel service with economical air fares. You also can research international rail fares, book a hostel bed and get information on destinations and on studying and volunteering abroad. 100 Talcott Ave. East, Watertown, MA 02472; (800) 272-9676, fax (617) 321-3133, https://www.studentuniverse.com.
Visions Service Adventures: Summer programs combine community service, outdoor activities and intercultural living in Alaska, Montana, South Carolina, Peru, Australia, the Dominican Republic, British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe and Dominica. P.O. Box 220, 110 N. 2nd St., Newport, PA 17074; (717) 567-7313, fax (717) 567-7853, https://www.visionsserviceadventures.com.
Connecting Solo Travel Network: This not-for-profit, member-driven organization was founded by experienced solo traveler Diane Redfern. It publishes a newsletter six times a year and maintains a Web site with tips, news and information on companies friendly to single travelers. Membership is $25 on the Internet, $35 by mail. 689 Park Road, Unit 6, Gibsons, BC V0N 1V7, Canada; (800) 557-1757 or (604) 886-9099, fax (626) 608-2139, https://www.cstn.org.
O Solo Mio: The company offers tours for singles and can match you up with a roommate. 160 Main St., Los Altos, CA 94022; (800) 959-8568, fax (650) 941-5334, https://www.osolomio.com.
Travel Alone and Love It: Flight attendant Sharon B. Wingler is author of "Travel Alone & Love It" (Chicago Spectrum Press, $14.95). A Q&A, tips and resources are on her Web site: https://www.travelaloneandloveit.com.
Travel Companion Exchange: A long-established service that helps solo travelers find companions (one way to avoid the single supplement) and publishes a newsletter ($48 for a year, $6 for a sample) with tips and bargains. P.O. Box 833, Amityville, NY 11701; (631) 454-0880, fax (631) 454-0170, https://www.travelcompanions.com.
FAMILIES, SINGLE PARENTS
Baby Center, Parent Center: Baby Center seems like an online shopping site, but look further (under "Topics A-Z") and you'll see travel advice for expectant parents and those with toddlers. The affiliated Parent Center has destination stories, tips, bulletin boards and useful travel information for parents of older kids. https://www.babycenter.com, https://www.parentcenter.com.
Fodors: On the guidebook series' Web site you'll find tips for traveling with kids, information on buying car seats and kid-oriented city guides. https://www.fodors.com/familytravel.
Family Travel Files: Started by sisters Nancy Nelson-Duac and Lisa Kamps-Duac, it has an e-zine with suggestions on where to go, advice (check out its "Ask Mom" feature) and guidebook reviews. 16913 Rolling Rock Drive, Tampa, FL 33618; (813) 968-4799, https://www.familytravelfiles.com.
Family Travel Forum: The member-supported, subscription-based organization has a postings board where single parents exchange travel tips, review resorts and seek travel partners. The site also publishes useful features and travel accounts, many by single parents, that can be accessed in the Family Issues section of its archives. https://www.familytravelforum.com.
Quality Time Travel: A company that specializes in trips for single parents. P.O. Box 1141, Commack, NY 11725; (888) 758-9386 or (631) 543-4009, fax (631) 543-0806, https://www.qualitytimetravel.com.
RelationTrips: This Web site has advice, articles and services for nearly every type of traveler -- families, single parents, gays, seniors. 10230 Van Thompson Road, Fairfax Station, VA 22039; (703) 690-3787, https://www.relationtrips.com.
"The Single Parent Travel Handbook": This book (Global Brenda Publishing, $17.95) by Brenda Elwell, a single parent, has stories by other single parents, advice and destination suggestions. Elwell's Web site, https://www.singleparenttravel.net, has more of the same, including bulletin boards for exchanging tips and finding travel buddies.
Travel With Kids: This part of About.com (https://www.travelwithkids.about.com) offers trip ideas by the region, including family resorts, cruises and deals.
The world offers plenty of deals for people who have reached a certain age. Here are a few places to start the search:
AARP: This group, formerly the American Assn. of Retired Persons, publishes the magazines Modern Maturity and My Generation. The organization's Web site has travel stories, consumer tips and information on discounts. 601 E St. N.W., Washington, DC 20049; (800) 424-3410, https://www.aarp.org/travel.
Elderhostel: Elderhostel is the grande dame of senior travel organizations. The not-for-profit group for adults 55 and older offers study trips. 11 Avenue de Lafayette, Boston, MA 02111; (877) 426-8056, fax (877) 426-2166, https://www.elderhostel.org.
FirstGov for Seniors: Web site, maintained by the Social Security Administration, has travel tips, advisories and useful links. https://www.seniors.gov/travel.html.
The Mature Traveler: The monthly newsletter ($29 a year) has deals and destinations for "49ers-plus." Once a year it compiles a list of airline discounts for seniors. P.O. Box 1543, Wildomar, CA 92595; (800) 460-6676, fax (909) 461-9598, https://www.thematuretraveler.com.
"Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get Unless You're Over 50": The latest edition of the book by Joan Rattner Heilman is packed with advice as well as the names of organizations offering discounts to seniors. (McGraw-Hill/Contemporary Books, $14.95.)
GAYS AND LESBIANS
Damron: Online and print guidebooks list gay-friendly accommodations, bars, restaurants and more. P.O. Box 422458, San Francisco, CA 94142; (800) 462-6654 or (415) 255-0404, fax (415) 703-9049, https://www.damron.com.
International Gay and Lesbian Travel Assn.: The trade group's search engine lists member hotel and travel agencies. Click on "Members." 4331 N. Federal Highway, No. 304, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308; (800) 448-8550 or (954) 776-2626, fax (954) 776-3303, https://www.iglta.com.
Navigaytion: Portal features destination stories, packages and a free newsletter. 955 N. Vista St., Los Angeles, CA 90046; (323) 512-2922, fax (323) 512-2924, https://www.navigaytion.com.
Out & About: Publishes travel guides and a newsletter. The online site mostly offers teasers to buy guides. An electronic subscription to the newsletter costs $20 a year; print is $39. PlanetOut Partners Inc., P.O. Box 500, San Francisco, CA 94104; (415) 834-6411, fax (415) 834-6560, https://www.outandabout.com.
Rainbow Destinations: Lists gay-owned and gay-friendly accommodations worldwide. https://www.guesthouses.net.
Travel Alternatives Group: Publishes a free newsletter, and its Web site has destination stories, deals and gay-friendly accommodations and agencies. 584 Castro St., Suite 834, San Francisco, CA 94114; (415) 437-3800, fax (415) 552-5104, https://www.gaytravelnews.com.
These organizations, companies and Web sites may make travel easier for people with disabilities and special needs:
Access Northern California: A nonprofit organization with resources, tips and other information for Northern California visitors with physical disabilities. Has a free guide. 1427 Grant St., Berkeley, CA 94703; (510) 524-2026, https://www.accessnca.com.
Accessible Journeys: An agency that arranges travel for people with mobility problems or disabilities. Its online newsletter is Access to the Planet. 35 W. Sellers Ave., Ridley Park, PA 19078; (800) 846-4537 or (610) 521-0339, fax (610) 521-6959, https://www.accessiblejourneys.com.
Accessible San Diego: A nonprofit information center for San Diego-area visitors with disabilities. It publishes an access guide, and its Web site has useful links. P.O. Box 124526, San Diego, CA 92112; (858) 279-0704, fax (208) 460-9487, https://www.accessandiego.org.
Emerging Horizons: A quarterly magazine with news, destination articles and resources for "people with mobility disabilities, from wheelchair-users to slow walkers." Subscription $14.95. C&C Creative Concepts, P.O. Box 278, Ripon, CA 95366; (209) 599-9409, fax (209) 599-9482, https://emerginghorizons.com.
Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality: A nonprofit educational and advocacy organization for travelers with disabilities. It publishes a magazine. Membership is $45. 347 Fifth Ave., Suite 610, New York, NY 10016; (212) 447-7284, fax (212) 725-8253, https://www.sath.org.
Sprout: A private, nonprofit group that arranges trips for people with developmental disabilities. 893 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10025; (888) 222-9575 or (212) 222-9575, fax (212) 222-9768, https://www.gosprout.org.