If you're heading for Central Europe, there are some possibilities to consider.
A Children's Vienna program through March 31 offers various discounts at 87 hotels and pensions in all categories. The discounts, which can be as high as 50% off regular rates, apply to children up to the ages of 13 or 15 and sometimes also cover accompanying adults. In some cases, children sharing a room with adults stay free.
Details on participating properties can be obtained from the Austrian National Tourist Office, 11601 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2480, Los Angeles 90025-1760; (213) 477-3332.
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If you're going to Graz, Austria's second largest city, you can get a Graz Guest Card that entitles you to free rides on trams, buses and a cable car, a free city tour and free admission to museums and other attractions, including the trotting races. You also get free drinks and desserts at participating restaurants.
In addition, reductions are offered at various stores and other establishments, including a casino.
The card has to be bought in Graz. It costs about $12 to $13 for one day, $16 to $17 for two days and $21 to $22 for three days.
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In neighboring Switzerland, prices have gone up for the Swiss Holiday Card. But this card is still a bargain inasmuch as it offers unlimited travel on most trains, city-to-city bus service and lake boats at rates that range from $120 for four days in first class to $80 second class. An eight-day pass is $140 first class and $95 second class; 15 days, $165 first class and $115 second class, and one month, $235 first class and $160 second class. Children from 6 to 15 pay half-price.
This pass also provides 20% to 50% reductions on transportation tickets (aerial tramways, funiculars, etc.) to mountaintops.
Half-fare cards allow you to buy an unlimited amount of full-fare tickets on regularly scheduled rail lines, buses and lake boat rides at a 50% reduction. A 15-day half-fare card has been eliminated. A one-month card costs $37, with a new one-year pass priced at $56. You have to indicate the first day you plan to use the half-fare card, which is not a requirement with the other version.
The cards can be bought in the United States from travel agents or the Swiss National Tourist Office, 250 Stockton St., San Francisco 94108; (415) 362-2260.
The cards can also be bought in Switzerland; the above U.S. rates are fixed, whereas in Switzerland you would have to pay in local currency and face any fluctuations in the value of the dollar.
Under the family ticket plan of the Swiss Federal Railways, parents pay full fare, children under 16 travel free and unmarried family members between 16 and 26 ride half fare.