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Those Low, Low Fares

July 05, 1987|ERIC FRIEDHEIM | Friedheim is editor/publisher of Travel Agent magazine.

Question: How is it possible for some organizations to advertise air fares to Europe and the Pacific that are far below the official tariffs and not available from my travel agent?

Answer: Organizations called consolidators obtain unused airline space, canceled tour seats or bonus coupons bought from frequent fliers. A majority of travel agents refuse to handle such discounted tickets.

Q: Where is the highway called the Great River Road and is it suitable for recreational travel?

A: That 3,000-mile parkway extends from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico through the Mississippi River Valley. It passes through 10 states and two provinces, giving access to 1,600 historic sites and many tourist attractions and facilities. For more information, contact Mississippi River Parkway Commission, 220 S. Robert St., St. Paul, Minn. 55107.

Q: We want to see Australia by train. Is there transcontinental rail service?

A: The Indian Pacific, a first-class train, covers the 2,500 miles between Sydney and Perth in 65 hours. Many other shorter trips are available. Contact your travel agent or call Australia Travel Service at (818) 247-4564.

Q: We're planning an African photo safari. Does one need a license to take pictures?

A: Some African countries require permits and most forbid photographing airports, military installations, impoverished neighborhoods and other scenes considered damaging to the nation's image. On arrival, always contact the official tourist bureau for local rules.

Q: On our extended automobile trip, how much should we budget per day?

A: The American Automobile Assn. (AAA) estimates that for every 300 miles, a couple with two children will spend $178, allowing $80 for food, $77 for accommodations and $21 for fuel.

Q: Are there any scientific expeditions studying historic sites and wildlife that I can join?

A: Many such projects are open to the public through the nonprofit Foundation for Field Research, 787 S. Grade Road, Alpine, Calif. 92001-0380; phone (619) 445-9264. The price of field trips to various parts of the world is partially tax deductible and no experience is necessary.

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