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Youth Beat

Finding Your Way With Free Help

August 03, 1986|LUCY IZON | Izon is a Canadian travel journalist covering youth budget routes.

When you arrive in a foreign destination, drop by the local tourist information office first.

Not only should you be able to get free maps, you'll sometimes discover free publications to assist young visitors specifically and may learn about interesting free services.

In Austria, for example, you'll learn some mountain resort areas offer free guided hikes to summer visitors.

At Kitzbuehel you can join such walks almost any day of the week. You don't have to register; just bring the special Kitzbuehel Guest Card to the meeting point--the tourist office in the Interstadt (old town) at the scheduled departure time. The card is issued after you register at a hotel or guest house.

There are four full-day walking tours a week (separate departures for seniors) until mid-August. From the third week of August until mid-October there are six tours a week.

Hikers are advised to bring walking boots, a rain jacket, a warm pullover, sun cream, sunglasses and a hat. You'll need pocket money for snacks and transportation if your route includes a cable car, chairlift, bus or short rail ride.

Your Kitzbuehel Guest Card is also valid for free two-hour tours of the town, conducted every Tuesday morning. It will be honored for reduced rates for indoor swimming, tennis, riding, miniature golf, cable cars and entrance at the local museum and wildlife park.

Membership in the Club

Innsbruck offers a similar hiking program. Anyone who stays at a hotel, guest house or youth hostel for at least three nights gets to join Club Innsbruck free.

Membership entitles you to join free daily hikes with guides from the Innsbruck Mountaineering and Climbing School. The hikes go on, in any weather, until the last Saturday of September.

To participate, you must register by 4 p.m. the previous day at your hotel, the Innsbruck Tourist Office or the central railway station.

Hikers meet at 8:30 a.m. at the convention center. If you don't have boots or a rucksack, you can rent them before the group departs.

Club Innsbruck cards also get reduced rates on tennis, golf, cable cars and museum and zoo visits.

Innsbruck is one of three Austrian cities that make a special effort to welcome young visitors by publishing a free guide booklet for the student traveler. "Innsbruck for Young People" contains a tiny map, accommodation listings and details on medical help, laundry facilities, youth travel agencies, inexpensive restaurants, sports facilities and night life.

Copies can be requested from the Austrian National Tourist Office before you go abroad. Vienna and Salzburg publish similar youth guides.

Innsbruck also provides a special youth information service and lounge in the central railway station. You can buy youth hostel memberships and books, and you'll find a notice board where you can leave messages for friends.

Just the Ticket

Another special offer for visitors ages 6 to 26 is the Austria Ticket. It's valid for unlimited second-class rail travel, plus the bus services of the Austrian Federal Railways and the Austrian Postal Service.

You can also use it on steamboats on the Danube and scheduled boats on some lakes. The card gets you reduced rates on boats on Lake Constance and many cable cars in the Alps.

The Austria Ticket, which costs 950 schillings (about U.S. $65) for 9 days and 1,350 schillings ($72) for 16 days, is available at railway stations in Austria and in major West German and Swiss cities.

For further information contact the Austrian National Tourist Office at 11601 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2480, Los Angeles 90025-1760; phone (213) 477-3322.

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