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San Diegan guide to cheap foreign travel

I'm cheap — fly me

For those of you who feel traveling fever as summer arrives, or who desire a change of scenery and atmosphere, rejoice! There are lots of alternatives available! Cheap means of travel can be found for student and non-student alike. So count up your pennies and see how far you can get.

If you are organized and can think ahead of time about the program you would like to follow, two very well-done and free publications can help you make up your mind: Tripping, put together by and for students, is well worth reading and sending away for. Write to Student Services West Inc., 235 E. Santa Clara Street, Suite 710, San Jose, CA 95113 or pick it up at the Student Services West office at U.C.S.D. or S.D.S.U. It is a very practical guide, full of useful tips acquired by experienced travelers. The other is rather fun if you have a special interest: Festoon, a travel guide to European festivals all through summer and fall. It will tell you all about the York Medieval Mystery Plays at York in England, the Thessaloniki Trade Fair in Greece, and the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. You can get this publication by writing ASSU Travel Service Manager, 205 Tresidder Union, Stanford. CA 94305 or from your respective Student Services West offices. You will also find a score of other guides in the library. Let's Go: The Student Guide to Europe is one of the best; it is pul out by the Harvard Student Agencies for $3.95. For those heading south of the border, The People’s Guide to Mexico will tell you what to do.

Flying is, for most people, the cheapest way to get to Europe, and there are several types of charters that will get you there safe and sound, but as Bill Keller, director of Student Services West at UCSD, warns all you travelers: “Stay legal, check out your charter companies, because the Civil Aeronautics Board is cracking down on the companies that are not following the rules." If you are lucky enough to be a student, your college or university will provide all the information you might need. To put a charter flight together, the “affinity group” is a good way. A minimum number of bodies is required, whether belonging to the same club or the same campus. Organizers do not have the right to recruit passengers from different campuses, except in special cases. To qualify for a club affinity group, you must be a member of that club for six months or more. No self-respecting club will break that rule, or it might get into a great deal of trouble, and you might just be calmly bumped of a flight and your deposit never heard about again. Here is a sample of what UCSD students and extension members and their immediate families could expect: (the same is available to SDSU students and immediate families with different departure dates): on June 17th, 1974.UCSD students can go to New York for $110. A flight to Tokyo at an incredibly low price is also in the making for UCSD and it could make your summer a memorable one. Charter round-trip fares are cheaper sometimes than the regular one way fare. If you can make your mind up one month ahead of time, and. it might be a little late for this year, you might consider flying to New York by charter and then taking a ship across. The French Line, Cunard, and the Italian Line put a few spaces aside each year for poverty stricken students. You can enjoy all the advantages of a luxury cruise for a fraction of the price, and eat and eat, and eat some of the best food in the world.

For non-students, the best way should be to join a club such as the United European American Club in San Diego, which besides being a very active social organization, has a fantastic schedule of charters all over the world. Membership of six months or more is required as well as a small membership fee. Find out by calling 233-8812.

Some of the big international airlines often have good deals that are not as highly publicized as their usual flights. The U.S. youth fare will be abolished June 1, 1974 and a lot of young people are flying first to Canada to purchase a youth ticket, where it is still available. It's best to travel during the off-season from October through April. Also consider excursion fares, 21 to 45 days or more: national flights are often more expensive on weekends; ask about the midnight coaches, the flights that leave at unpopular hours, and the ones that do not include meals, be sure you find out from your friendly airline reservationist or travel agent, since they often do not volunteer low-price information. Another way of getting on a charter flight is the TGC: Travel Group Charter. You can reserve a seat without being a member of anything, but the snag is you must do it 90 days ahead of time, put down a deposit and pay the balance 60 days before your departure. But it does shave off a sizeable amount from the fare.

Once you have crossed the Atlantic, you will find that student organizations offer a much wider range of discount travel than they do in the U.S. Purchase an International Student Identity Card before you go, from any campus travel bureau or from Cl EE Student Travel Services, 777 United Nations Plaza. New York. N.Y. 10017. You will need to send a passport photo of yourself, proof of full-time student status and $2. That little card is essential to you for hundreds of discounts on anything from museum admissions to jet flights and train travel within Europe. Yes. it even entitles you to discounts at movie theaters in the Latin Quarter in Paris!

Unfortunately for the United States, the trains are still an expensive proposition; that isn't the case in Europe where traveling by train is both fun and reasonable, and an excellent way of meeting your next host. England can be visited on quite a low budget, especially if you have bought aBritRail pass before leaving the U.S. You can travel up to one month in economy class for $95 all through England. Scotland and Wales. With a Eurailpass, available to anyone in the U.S., you can travel all through Europe for SI90 for a month, and students pay only $165 for it. This is especially useful if you intend to try to swallow all of Europe in one gulp.

If you feel like taking your time and meeting the natives, you might consider hitchhiking, but some countries are friendlier than others. England is a good place and so are the Scandinavian countries. France and Spain like clean-cut types, and girls preferably. You will find, however, that people are always helpful if you try a few words in their native tongue. It works wonders. For enjoying smells and sounds, there is nothing quite like a bicycle, motor-driven or human-powered. An organization called Eurobike, 810 18th Street N.W. Washington D.C..promises to put you on any type of bike your heart and pocketbook desire. It is run by the Dutch government, an expert in bicycle matters. They will also put a tour together for you if you wish. Besides eliminating quite a few energy-related pains, you might lose a few pounds even after stopping at every luscious bakery on the way.

Camping trips are relative newcomers to the low-cost travel scene and are becoming increasingly popular. The most organized companies seemed to be based in England, such as the Contiki Travel Ltd. which specializes in camping trips through Eastern and Western Europe and as far south as the Sahara. Departures are from London. The price includes your travel expenses while camping — cars and mini-buses are used — and you have to put a small amount of money into the communal food-kitty—you will take turns in preparing the food. Judging from the contented, suntanned and excessively fed people in the brochure, the whole trip seems like a hilarious experience.

Even Russia is extensively included in their team trips. How about a 5 week camping tour of France, Spain. Portugal and Morocco for $304 plus S52 for food? There's nothing like waking up in the morning with a “friendly" camel staring you in the eye. Unforgettable, I tell you! (Contact your travel agent or Contiki Travel Ltd., 62 Oxford Street, London WIN. 9LD).

I found out to my surprise that Pan American has a new camping program called Going Places which does essentially the same thing as Contiki. All departures require at least 25 participants and the tours are as varied and they are interesting: 42 days in Scandinavia, Russia and Eastern Europe for $399. with departures from London. They even promise you the steppes of the Ukraine and the Transylvanian Alps, “favorite Hangout of Dracula!" The food-kitty will require $60 from you. and you will sample local culinary delights along your way. “Grand Europe with a Cruise" tour concentrates on the Mediterranean countries, although it does include Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and also a dreamy cruise of the Greek Isles for a week (well worth the entire trip) for S57S plus food-kitty expenses.

Always check with the student tourist office in the country you are visiting. Hundreds of low priced flights are available from Europe to various parts of the world from South Africa to India and anywhere in between. Your local student travel service can also provide details. They also give out lists of the cheapest (and usually) clean hotels in town, and most of them have a representative at the train or airport terminals. When totally lost, hang around the American Express, you will meet a lot of fellow-travelers eager to share information if not a stale piece of bread. If you prefer youth hostels.buy your hosteling card in the U.S. from AYH. National Campus. Delawaplane, VA , 22025.

Actually, Europe is only a small part of the wide world we live in, as the brochures would say, and some of you may elect to go to Mexico. Many local organizations put together such trips, but one that held my attention is the one concentrating on the Yucatan Peninsula. the cradle of the Mexican culture. Hundreds of pyramids and temples, many of them still fighting off the jungle vegetation, are becoming increasingly appealing to American travelers, whether poor or rich. You can take the train from Mexicali to Mexico City, change trains and proceed to Merida, capital of the Yucatan.for a very reasonable amount of money. I am told that once you get there you are still allowed to sleep on the beach, but if you are less adventurous and prefer the ready-planned tour. Pacific Western Tours in San Diego has pul together a very attractive package for ten days, including Chichen llza and Uxmal. two outstanding historical sites, for S399, everything included from San Diego. Yucatan apparently has already been beseiged by the Europeans, so hurry! Grossmont College is also putting together a summer tour that students and non-students can join. Call 465-1400, ext. 245, and talk to John Feare.

After these technical details. I would like to share a few tips that may be of some use to you vagabonds:

Tunisia: this very attractive and friendly Middle-Eastern country will be sponsoring a huge Jazz Festival through July and August. It will take place in Tabarka. where you will be able to sleep in grass huts on the beach. Ferries from Marseilles will get you across. Count on about $80 a week, although these rates may change.

Greece: one of the best countries for traveling students. Knowing French is helpful. Be sure to go to the student office, Lotus Student Travel, on Filelinon Street, just off Constitution square for the most reasonable ways to see everything.

I went around the Peloponesus for 5 days (Olympia, Mystra and Delphi) in luxury bus, stayed in first class hotels for $50 approximately. To get there take the train from Rome to Patras: it is an unforgettable experience, especially in 2nd class.

Morocco: more and more people are going there; the climate and vegetation are much like, if not exactly that of Southern California. They are on the same latitude. Morocco is still relatively inexpensive. The best way to get there is to take the ferry from either Malaga, or Algesiras. The crossing lasts a very pleasant four hours from Malaga. Be prepared for total culture shock on arrival. The natives will try to take advantage of you but don’t give in. Drugs are a scary proposition here. It is recommended to stay away from them, as pushers are very often informers. Short hair is “in”, as in most Middle-Eastern countries. The food is excellent in restaurants and hotels so, do not be afraid to taste local specialties, many delights are in store.

P S. This is by no means all the information available, but might prove to be a useful start. Bon Voyage!

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