One of the advantages of traveling when you are young is that you're eligible for a variety of special transportation discounts. Here's a selection of reduced rail rates available to young travelers this year.
A Eurail Youthpass is one of the most popular tickets for young visitors to Europe because it allows a terrific amount of freedom. You don't have to stand in line to get tickets and, with the exception of Spain, you don't have to worry about any reservations or boarding passes.
You can travel at your convenience, using the second-class rail services of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and West Germany.
The Eurail Youthpass is available to anyone under the age of 26. It must be bought from a travel agent or European railroad office here before you go abroad. The one-month Youthpass costs $320, a two-month version is $420.
If you live in Europe for at least six months, and you are under 26, you are eligible for the alternative unlimited travel pass, InterRail. The InterRail ticket is valid for second-class travel, for one month, in 21 countries.
It covers the same countries as the Eurail Youthpass, plus Britain, Ireland, Morocco, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia and the European area of Turkey.
The one hitch to the InterRail ticket is that you must pay half-fare to travel in the country where you buy the pass. The current price in France is 1,380 francs (about $262 U.S.).
If you assume that an unlimited travel pass would cause you to feel pushed into moving every day to get full value for the ticket, here's how you can travel more slowly: Eurotrain and Transalpino tickets are available at student and youth travel agencies throughout Britain and on the Continent. Point-to-point rail fares, available to anyone under 26, allow you to take up to two months to complete your journey. In London you can buy Eurotrain tickets at the Travel CUTS office at 295-A Regent St.
Other discounted rail fares for young (or student) travelers are available in Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, India, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and West Germany.
Your best bet is to contact the tourist board of the country you intend to visit for specific details. You'll also find information on 105 rail passes, special youth fares and tips on day-trips in the 1988 edition of "Eurail Guide--How to Travel Europe and All the World By Train," by Marvin L. Saltzman ($12.95).
Not all of the unlimited travel passes make you feel that you must move every day to get full value. This year the Irish Youth Rambler Pass has been changed so that an eight-day ticket can be used on any eight days over 15 days. The price is $82. The 15-day pass can be used over 30 days; it costs $111. A 30-day pass, which must be used during a 30-day period, costs $145. You must be between 14 and 26 to be eligible and must buy the pass from a travel agent before you go to Ireland.