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Youth Beat

Card Carriers Obtain the Discounts

June 29, 1986|LUCY IZON | Izon is a Canadian travel journalist covering youth budget routes.

Students planning to travel during 1986 can save 25% on normal domestic air fares in Australia; up to 35% on domestic rail services from Copenhagen, and 50% on most rail fares in Egypt. That's just a random sampling. Thousands of special discounts are available around the world to students and young travelers.

The national student travel services of more than 50 countries banded together and developed a single standard identity card recognized as proof of student status around the world. It's called an ISIC card.

ISIC cards are good for discounts on air fares, ferries, accommodations, museums, theaters and ground transportation. Often a single discount can save you more than the $10 the card cost.

In Argentina, the ISIC card can be used for a 20% discount on bus travel. In Costa Rica, there is a 50% reduction on one-day snorkeling and fishing cruises. In Ecuador, you can obtain discounts on domestic air fares including (subject to special conditions) flights to the Galapagos islands.

Other Discounts

In Jamaica, students are offered a 33% discount on Air Jamaica flights to Caribbean destinations. In Japan, you can save up to 25% on domestic ferry routes. In New Zealand, you can save up to 50% on domestic air fares.

Greece offers discounts of up to 50% at most museums and reductions on most ferry travel. In Iceland, you can get 15% off on international ferry fares, and in Ireland students can obtain special standby theater tickets.

The ISIC helps with more than discounts. A handy 88-page booklet provided with the card lists youth travel agencies around the world and special programs they operate that individual travelers can join.

Through the Netherlands student travel service, NBBS, you can take a one-week sailing holiday on a Dutch clipper ship. The trips begin every Tuesday until Aug. 12. You are expected to help crew, and the cost is about $15.

India's student travel service, STIC, can arrange for visitors to spend four nights on a houseboat in Kashmir for about $9 or three nights at a four-star hotel in Nepal for about $70. Students are offered a further 10% discount.

Archeological Tours

Israel's student travel service, ISSTA, has arranged a 50% discount for entrance to archeological sites and offers a variety of short tours. For example, a bus tour to Egypt including three nights' hotel accommodation starts at $51.

Finland's student travel service, FSTS Travela, has arranged reductions of up to 50% on ferry travel between Helsinki and Stockholm and tours such as a four-day bus tour to Leningrad starting at $137.

Peru's student travel service, INTEJ, offers programs such as a $90 three-day package from Cuzco, which includes lodging in a three-star hotel, a city tour and a Machu Picchu excursion.

In Venezuela, ISIC discounts include a 50% reduction on long-distance domestic buses and the student travel service, ONTEJ, operates four-night trips from Caracas into the Acoima jungle for $149. This includes one night in a hotel and three nights in hammocks.

The ISIC discount booklet also tells of special services, such as the Korean student travel service, which arranges short home stays, or the special telephone numbers to call for English language assistance if you encounter communication difficulties while traveling in Japan. The booklet also explains each country's departure taxes, electricity and currency.

Additional Benefits

ISIC cards remain valid until December of each year. The ID card also provides you with automatic accident/sickness insurance anywhere outside the United States. For information about the cards, contact Council on International Educational Exchange, 1093 Broxton Ave., Los Angeles 90024.

Non-students under 26 are eligible for hundreds of travel discounts in 60 countries through a similar card organized by the Federation of International Youth Travel Organizations (FIYTO).

FIYTO issues the Youth International Educational Exchange (YIEE) card. It looks similar to an ISIC card and is sometimes mistaken for one, but it has its own discounts, covered in a 127-page booklet provided with the card.

You'll find that many of the youth travel services offering special packages through ISIC are also involved with the YIEE card so non-students can buy many of the packages.

YIEE cards are available for $8 with proof of age from the Student Travel Network, 2500 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 920, Los Angeles 90057.

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