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Youth Beat

Canada's VIA Rail Trains, Others Offer Savings

October 18, 1987|LUCY IZON | Izon is a Canadian travel journalist covering youth budget routes.

VIA Rail has introduced student discounts for travel within Canada. Full-time students with a student identity card are entitled to a 33% discount on one-way coach fares.

But there are restrictions. The discount is not available on trains leaving between noon and 6 p.m. on Fridays and Sundays from points between Windsor and Quebec City.

The reduction also is not available on some Atlantic services and between Dec. 18 and Jan. 4, 1988.

But it's not always necessary to be a student to get discounts. Thousands are available to anyone under age 26. An identity card and a booklet listing many of the discounts are offered by the Federation of International Youth Travel Organizations (FIYTO).

The federation's network has 188 member organizations in 40 countries that provide youth tourism services and arrange discounts.

Need Proof of Age

The card is called Youth International Educational Exchange (YIEE). It costs $6, but you must provide proof of age and a photograph.

New cards are issued in the fall, remaining valid until the end of the next calendar year.

When you buy the card, make sure you get free copies of "Discounts for Youth Travel," a 152-page listing of more than 4,000 discounts available around the world, and "Youth Travel Services," a listing of the 188 federation members.

There are several advantages to having the card: It has its own discounts, resembling student identification so closely that it is sometimes accepted for those reductions, too.

For example, you'll find an E under many of the European listings, which means that those offices sell Eurotrain tickets that are "point-to-point" reduced rail fares.

Other listings indicate reductions on tours such as ISSTA, the student travel service of Israel, which offers a 10% discount on safari tours and budget trips to the Sinai Desert and Egypt.

Includes Day Tours

The discounts also include day tours, museums, transportation, budget accommodations, entertainment, photography stores, restaurants and sport facilities.

For example, you can visit 81 museums in Spain free; get a 25% discount on second- and third-class rail travel in Thailand, and you save 25% to 50% on various ferry routes between Europe and Britain, Ireland, Israel, Turkey and Morocco.

In Ireland, card holders are given free Irish Countdown Cards, which are valid for 1,800 discounts.

In Mexico, card holders can obtain free Youth Discount Cards from the CREA Youth Tourism Agency, which can be used for reductions on domestic transportation, sightseeing tours and admission to historic sites.

U.S. Discounts Limited

Discounts in North America are still limited. Services offering reductions include a youth tour operator, some key tourist sites (such as the Empire State Building) and sporting goods rentals.

This year the federation is operating a special contest with three prizes of 2,000 French francs (about $350) each. It is open to anyone 16 to 26 years old who submits a black-and-white or color photograph illustrating international understanding between young people.

Each photograph must be accompanied by one-half to one page of text explaining what the entrant experienced through meeting young people from other counties.

Entries may be submitted through a member organization of the federation.

Additional information and memberships are available through Student Travel Network, 2500 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 507, Los Angeles 90057; phone (213) 380-2184.

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