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Some Tour Operators Are Voluntarily Bonded

October 11, 1987|ERIC FRIEDHEIM | Friedheim is editor/publisher of Travel Agent magazine.

Question: Does the federal government require tour operators to maintain bonds to protect travelers?

Answer: There's no such law, except for charter operators who must post bond and place your money in escrow until the trip is completed. Members of the U.S. Tour Operators Assn. voluntarily are bonded, as are about 40 tour firms belonging to the American Society of Travel Agents. Your agent can identify them.

Question: Where is next year's Australian World's Fair and how can I obtain information about tours and tickets?

Answer: World Expo 88 takes place in Brisbane from April 30 to Oct. 30. Contact your agent for various tour offerings; ticket details are contained in brochures obtainable from the Australian Tourist Commission, 2121 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 1200, Los Angeles 90067, phone (213) 552-1988.

Question: Has Corregidor been converted as a memorial and tourist attraction?

Answer: Long neglected, the historic site is to be restored by the Philippine government and private interests in time for a campaign to encourage visits by World War II veterans.

Question: Are there any round-the-world cruises by freighter, and, if so, what's it cost and how long is the voyage?

Answer: Several freighter lines make worldwide calls and carry passengers. Fares range up from $5,000. Contact Freighter World Cruises, 180 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena 91101, phone (818) 449-3106.

Question: We want to book a cruise for the Christmas season but won't know until late fall whether we can definitely get away at that time. Will we have to pay a cancellation fee if we book now but cancel later?

Answer: Most lines require an immediate 25% deposit to reserve space and will give full refunds if cancellation is made at least 30 days before departure. Cancellation less than 30 days from departure date almost always incurs a fee, although it varies from line to line. Check with your travel agent or the cruise line when you book to be sure that you understand the cancellation policy.

Question: While in Switzerland we want to visit Liechtenstein. What's to see and the best way to get there?

Answer: The tiny scenic principality is a couple of hours by train from Zurich (there is no air service) and it also can be reached by road. There are no border formalities. Aside from the usual Swiss watches and products, there are several fine art museums, including one with an excellent collection of French and Dutch paintings.

Question: A cruise seems to be the ideal way to see the Greek Islands, but if I'm going to travel that far I'd like to see more of Europe, too. Can I combine the two in a two-week vacation?

Answer: Dozens of companies specialize in that kind of package, with trips as short as one week and as long as a month. Check with your travel agent for the best combination of price, itinerary and time.

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