The city of Basel, Switzerland, is offering an unusual incentive for young travelers to stay in its hotels this summer.
For guests up to 25 years old, hotel prices will be based on age. They charge one Swiss franc for each year of age when staying in one-, two- and three-star hotels. At a four- or five-star hotel, the rate is a guest's age in Swiss francs multiplied by two.
For example, if two travelers aged 21 and 22 stay in a one-to-three star hotel, the rate is a total of 43 Swiss francs (about $30 U.S.) a night.
This special arrangement will be available between June 15 and Aug. 31. For further details, contact the Basel Tourist Office at Blumentain 2, 4000 Basel.
If these prices are still going to strain your budget, you might want to obtain a free copy of the Swiss youth hostel map, which is available from Swiss National Tourist Offices.
Swiss youth hostels do not impose age restrictions, but when space is limited, young people under 25 have priority.
One drawback is that many of the hostels close at 10 p.m. The largest advantage is the price: Rates average 6 to 14 SF ($4 to $10 U.S.) a night.
Copies of the Swiss youth hostel map are free, if you request them before you leave North America. In Switzerland they are sold for 1 SF (70 cents). For copies or additional information, write to the Swiss National Tourist Office, 250 Stockton Street, San Francisco 94108.
Train Pass for 21 Nations
Young travelers who live in Europe for at least six months are eligible to buy a special train pass that offers unlimited travel in 21 countries. The inter-rail pass is valid for one month of unlimited second-class railway travel. It is only sold to persons under 26.
The countries in which it can be used are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, German Federal Republic, Greece, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Morocco, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Yugoslavia.
There's one hitch when traveling in the country in which you bought your pass: You must pay 50% of the regular rail fare. In other countries, travel is free.
From time-to-time there are reports of the card being sold to travelers who have not been living in Europe. The rule is that you must be a resident for at least six months to be eligible to buy the ticket.
Inter-rail passes are sold by youth travel agencies throughout Europe. Recently they were selling in Switzerland for 400 SF ($280).