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Youth Beat

Tours Offer Low Cost, Group Safety

April 17, 1988|LUCY IZON | Izon is a Canadian travel journalist covering youth budget routes.

Considering travel in the United States on a tight budget this summer? Here are some low-cost opportunities open to young travelers.

Trek America, a tour operator that caters to the 18- to 35-year-old group, will operate 20 tours this year that range from 14 days to nine weeks. Tour groups are limited to 14 people and the prices are low because most nights are spent camping. Tours are marketed internationally, with passengers possibly from a variety of countries.

For example, you could cross the country on a three-week Trek America between New York and Los Angeles, stopping in Las Vegas, at the Grand Canyon, in Texas, New Orleans, Alabama, Tennessee and Washington, D.C., for $695 to $835, depending on your departure date. On all Trek America tours there also is an extra $30-a-week charge for shared food supplies.

New York to Miami

A 14-day Trek America tour between New York and Miami is from $555 to $645. A 14-day tour circling from Los Angeles visits San Diego, Yuma, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and Death Valley and ranges from $495 to $580, plus $120 for a two-night stay on a ranch.

One of the advantages of youth tours is that operators can offer inexpensive options to reach a site that might not be convenient or that might feel uncomfortable to people traveling on their own.

For example, one of Trek America's programs is a 25-day Klondike trip that leaves from Seattle and includes Vancouver, Prince George, Whitehorse, Dawson City, Fairbanks, Mt. McKinley, Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula, Portage Glacier, Kluane and an Inside Passage cruise. From $1,095 to $1,290.

Services of Driver/Guide

Rates include the services of a driver/guide, transportation in a 14-person vehicle, camping equipment and admission to some sights. You must provide a sleeping bag and should be prepared to pay a small extra charge for hotel accommodations in areas where camping is not possible.

Information brochures are available through travel agents or by contacting Trek America, P.O. Box 1338, Gardena 90249.

It's always a good idea to compare programs from several companies. Your travel agent should be able to supply you with details about competitive operators.

If you are hoping to tour by bike but just haven't found the right type of program, you can get some help from the fifth edition of "Bicycle U.S.A. Tourfinder," a listing of more than 100 tour operators that organize trips in North America and abroad.

Information for Bicyclists

The listings cover how far bicyclists will have to pedal each day, the skill and fitness required, if sag service (baggage transport) is available, type of accommodations used, availability of equipment rental, tour schedules and price ranges.

"Bicycle U.S.A Tourfinder" is published by the League of American Wheelmen. Copies are available for $4 from L.A.W. Touring Department, 6707 Whitestone Road, Suite 209, Baltimore, Md. 21207.

Inexpensive hike, bike and tour by mini-van programs also will be available through American Youth Hostels this year. Trips range from nine days to six weeks. There are separate departure dates for different age groups, from teen-agers to adults 50 and over.

The tours are low-priced because accommodations are in dormitory rooms in youth hostels and small inns. Some camping also is offered.

Adirondacks Hike

A nine-day hiking program in the Lake Placid region of the Adirondacks in upstate New York costs $260. A 16-day hiking program in the Southwest, using hostels and camping, costs $555. It circles from Phoenix, Ariz., and includes hiking into the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, along old Indian trails and in four national parks in Utah.

For $890 in July, you could join a 14-day hiking, river rafting and llama trekking adventure in the Pecos Wilderness area of New Mexico. This tour circles from Albuquerque and includes staying in hostels and camping.

AYH offers 64 trips in 24 countries this year, including special "shoestring" hiking programs in Iceland, Jamaica, Switzerland and Ireland. For further details contact your local youth hostel association or write for the free "World Adventure 1988" catalogue. It's available from A.Y.H., Dept. 860, P.O. Box 37613, Washington, D.C. 20013-7613.

Low Rates at Motel 6

If you plan to travel independently and have your own transportation, one name you might want to note is Motel 6.

Motel 6 gained popularity by providing inexpensive no-frills accommodations. The concept was that if you didn't need the services of a coffee shop, a TV in your room or free ice, why should you have to pay for it? Motel 6 is still offering very economical accommodations but now also includes a few extras.

There are 425 Motel 6 locations in 40 states. The greatest concentration is in California, which has 183. The average rate for a room is $21.95 for one person and $6 for each additional person.

When you stay at a Motel 6 you get color TV, two free in-room feature movies each day, free local phone calls and no service charges on long-distance telephone calls. Most warm-weather locations also have swimming pools.

A free directory listing locations, prices and telephone numbers is available by calling the National Reservations Center at (505) 891-6161, or by writing to Motel 6, Dept. D, 14651 Dallas Parkway, Dallas 75240.

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