Young travelers looking for information on Britain will find that the British Tourist Authority has free 1986 editions of their publication, "Young Travelers' Guide."
The booklet provides general information and contacts for a variety of subjects including transportation, accommodations, entertainment, youth travel specialists, work opportunities, exchange programs, study and pen pals and other information helpful to know before you go. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Two good investments you can make before you leave home are a BritRail Youth Pass and a copy of the guidebook "Let's Go: Britain."
The BritRail Youth Pass is available to travelers age 16 through 25 but it must be purchased from a travel agent before you leave North America. The ticket allows you unlimited economy-class travel throughout Great Britain for a predetermined number of consecutive days.
BritRail Youth Pass for seven days costs $95; 14 days for $150; 21 days $190, one month $225. If you plan on traveling on the Continent or in Ireland, you can add sea passage to your ticket but this must be done when you buy it. The cost for travel from London to any Continental port BritRail serves is $26 one way, $52 round trip. Sea passage to Ireland is $38 one way, $76 round trip. You must begin to use the BritRail pass within six months of date of purchase and your sea tickets within six months of the date you begin to use the BritRail pass.
"Let's Go: Britain" by Harvard Student Agencies is packed full of information for the student-style visitor. It's available through retail bookstores for $9.95.
When you fly to England, both Heathrow and Gatwick airports have economical transportation to London. Heathrow is connected by subway and has bus service; Gatwick is a 30-minute train ride from downtown.
At London's Victoria Station you can find an official Tourist Information Center which will make lodging reservations on the spot for a small fee. Although reservations are not made for youth hostels, a list with addresses and phone numbers of youth facilities is available.
A word to the wise: Some cons prey on new arrivals--stick to a reputable reservation service and exchange your money at a bank. If you are going to make your own lodging arrangements, call ahead and check for space before carrying your luggage across town. If you aren't using an official reservation service, don't pay until you see your room.
Riding London's double-decker buses is fun, but the most economical way to get around town is by using the tube (subway) Travelcard. Last year a seven-day pass for the central city cost under $7. You need a photograph for the ticket but special photo machines are located at some subway stops.
Good values for visitors are the various London walking tours. You'll find them advertised in newspapers and magazines. Take your student card; some walking tour companies do offer a small discount.
Museums to Pubs
Participants meet their guide at a particular subway stop, pay about $4 for a two-hour tour. Areas covered can be as diverse as Jack the Ripper's London or the British Museum to favorite pub haunts of authors such as Charles Dickens. Pub tours are also a good way to meet other travelers.
Students who have International Student Identity Cards are also eligible for discounts at some theaters. The way to find out which productions are giving the reductions is to check for an "S" within a circle in show advertisements in newspapers and magazines.
Non-students can get reduced theater tickets at the Half Price Ticket Booth in Leicester Square; there is a small charge.
For free copies of "Young Travelers' Guide 1986," contact the British Tourist Authority, 612 S. Flower St., Los Angeles 90017.