Young travelers are shifting their interest in international destinations this year, says a leading youth travel service.
"We've definitely noticed more people inquiring about Northern Europe (Scandinavia) and the South Pacific," says Gillian Bathchilder of the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE).
Fortunately, both areas offer some good opportunities for young visitors.
In Stockholm, you can stay on a clipper ship in the city harbor for less than $10 a night. If you have a Eurail Youthpass your passage on the Silja Line between Helsinki and Stockholm is included; if you're quick enough you can claim one of the free berths in the second-class section for a good night's sleep.
Denmark offers the type of flat terrain that is excellent for cycling, and Copenhagen welcomes young visitors with their own information center and lounge in the central railway station.
For young people who enjoy hiking, a highlight of a trip to the South Pacific would be challenging one of New Zealand's famous tramping trails such as the Milford Track. If you want to investigate Australia's Barrier Reef or the outback, bus companies in that country offer economical unlimited travel passes.
Travel on Limited Funds
If this is the year you are going to make your first trip abroad, some simple steps will help you learn of opportunities available for young travelers on limited funds.
First, invest in a guidebook for the area you plan to visit, but make sure it's specifically designed for young visitors. There is hardly an area of the world that hasn't been covered for student-style budget travelers by one of three publishers: Harvard Student Agencies (its LET'S GO: guide series covers Europe, North Africa, North America and Mexico); Lonely Planet, which has more than 29 budget travel guides to a variety of places, and Moon Publications (guides to the Pacific area and some of the Caribbean).
If you have problems finding student-style guidebooks, check your telephone directory for bookstores that specialize in travel.
Shop around for air fares and be sure to check with travel agencies about staying at university and college campuses even if you are not a student. Chances are that you won't get as much service as at a regular travel agency, but they are the experts in student and youth fares.
Contact tourist information offices for the areas you are going to. The agent who is booking your flight should be able to help you with addresses (See listing elsewhere in this issue). Some national or regional tourist bureaus will supply such free information as lists of youth hostels and campgrounds and perhaps cycling maps.
You also may learn about transportation opportunities that are not highly promoted in North America. For example, you can buy a rail pass for 21 days of second-class travel in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland after you arrive in Scandinavia. The cost would be about $155, the exact price varying with the exchange rate in the country where you buy it.
Check to make sure that you are covered for medical emergencies abroad. You may have travel coverage you don't know about, through a policy a parent has at work. You can get a list of English-speaking doctors who charge moderate set fees by joining the International Assn. for Medical Assistance to Travellers. No set membership fee is charged but donations do keep this service going. Contact IAMAT at 736 Center St., Lewiston, N.Y. 14092.
If you plan to head toward the South Pacific, there are several new sources of information for student-style adventures.
A third revised edition of the "South Pacific Handbook" by David Stanley has just been published. Coverage includes Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, the Marquesas, Pitcairn, Easter Island, Galapagos, Cook Islands, Tonga, Pago Pago, Western Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. The retail price is $13.95.
Since graduating at Guelph University, Stanley has backpacked through 103 countries. This year he has also produced a new guide called "Micronesia Handbook," designed to help the budget adventurer in the area between Hawaii and the Philippines. It's available in retail bookstores for $7.75.
Both Stanley books can also be ordered from Moon Publications, P.O. Box 1696, Chico, Calif. 95927. Include $2.50 for delivery by UPS, $1.25 per book for first-class postage.