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Jerry Hulse's Travel Tips

January 05, 1986|JERRY HULSE | Times Travel Editor

Hal Taussig is back on the job providing new destinations for the Untour he made popular by taking the stress out of travel. It's a vacation package aimed at Americans who've grown weary of regimentation. All that business of riding a travel carrousel at breakneck speeds.

Instead of rushing from country to country, Taussig's travelers stay put in one place. A chalet in Switzerland or an apartment in Austria, Germany or London. Or perhaps a farmhouse in Scotland.

An ex-college professor, Taussig kicked off his program 10 years ago by housing vacationers in chalets in Switzerland. He chose picture-book villages with forested slopes and meadows flowing with wildflowers. Although Taussig began his Untour program as a lark, it took off like an avalanche. A leprechaun of sorts, the little professor soon learned that Americans were weary of the whirlwind tour. His idea was a simple one: Place vacationers in a Swiss chalet, give them a Swiss Holiday Card and allow them to explore Switzerland on their own by train, bus, lake steamer (traveling by day, returning home by night). No rush, no panic, no fuss. And best--no packing or unpacking.

Although the Swiss Untour is still the top of the line, Taussig has branched out with similar programs in Britain, Germany and Austria. To get an idea of prices, his Austria program figures out to $780 per couple for three weeks, including an orientation session with an Untour representative in Austria, newsletters and suggested side trips. In Germany, a family of five is accommodated for three weeks in the Rhine Valley for $775. Or less than $7.50 per person per day.

A two-week stay in central London costs $464 per person in a studio apartment with a kitchen, bath, daily maid service, luggage assistance from the airport, an escorted tour of off-beat London, dinner in a pub, a newsletter and suggested day trips.

Says Taussig: "The idea of our program is to make Americans feel as if they are temporary residents of the country they are visiting."

And it works.

This year Taussig is introducing the Scottish Untour with a stone cottage near Loch Voil and the church where Rob Roy is buried for as little as $375 a week/$475 for two weeks. The cottage sleeps five guests.

Details from Idyll Untours, P.O. Box 405, Media, Pa. 19063. Telephone (215) 565-5242.

Lazy Man Tours

Taking a cue from Taussig, George Henck of Pasadena is putting travelers up in four- and five-star hotels in Switzerland, four weeks at a crack. Like Taussig, he gives the guest a Swiss Holiday Card that's good for unlimited travel on trains, steamers, buses. A double with two meals a day, the Swiss Holiday Card and a $300 travel allowance figures out to $1,787 per person (double occupancy) for 28 days. Contact Henck c/o Lazy Man Tours, 180 S. Lake Ave., Suite 335, Pasadena 91101. Telephone (818) 449-3106.

New York

If you're traveling on a budget to New York, here's another one of those agencies dealing in B&Bs. The operator claims she can save you up to 50% over hotel prices (rates from $28 to $75 a night). Credit cards OK in most establishments. Rooms, apartments in nearly every neighborhood of Manhattan. Contact Laura Tilden, New World Bed & Breakfast, 150 Fifth Ave., Suite 711, New York 10019, or telephone toll free (800) 443-3800. In New York call (212) 675-5600. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., New York time. Note: The same company offers unoccupied apartments for visitors desiring complete privacy.

Desert Art Show

If Palm Springs is on your itinerary, drop by the Desert Museum between Jan. 16 and March 9 for a look at masterpieces from the Armand Hammer collection. Five centuries of art by Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Monet. Tickets ($3) on sale at all Ticketmaster Centers, or call the museum at (619) 325-0189.

Reader Recommendations

Vermont--James Hay, Los Angeles: 1811 House, Manchester Village, Vt. 05254. "This is a B&B with warmth, comfort and elegance. Innkeepers Mary and Jack Hirst carefully restored the inn to the Federal period. Fireplaces in all of the public rooms and in three of the 11 bedrooms. All bedrooms have private baths. English-style pub where guests pour their own. Rates from $65 to $105."

Washington--June Storch, Los Angeles: Jenie's Bed & Breakfast, 3498 W. Blaine, Seattle, Wash. 98199. "In the Magnolia section of Seattle. A retired French teacher has turned an entire level of her modern, all-glass exterior home overlooking Puget Sound into a B&B apartment with two bedrooms. No champagne brunch even approximated the breakfasts set before our eyes. The total tab for the two of us was $42.50 per night. We even had the pleasure of eating dinner with our hosts one evening, for which our hostess absolutely refused to allow us to increase her fee for that night."

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