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Youth Beat

Visiting 17 European Countries on a Eurailpass

November 20, 1988|LUCY IZON | Izon is a Canadian travel journalist covering youth budget routes.

Next year for the first time, travelers who use Eurailpasses will be able to visit Hungary.

Eurailpasses are tickets valid for unlimited rail travel in 17 European countries. The tickets will be honored for first-class travel for a variety of periods, ranging from seven days to two months.

Travelers under 26 years are eligible for special youth versions of the passes that are valid only for second-class travel.

If you plan to travel during the first half of 1989, consider buying a Eurailpass before the new year. On Jan. 1 the price of a one-month Youthpass will rise from $320 to $360 U.S. The present $420 two-month Youthpass will cost $470.

Passes must be bought from a travel agent before leaving the United States. You have to begin using the ticket within six months of its date of issue.

No Extra Charges

Also, Youthpass holders will not be required to pay extra charges to use the special fast trains of Europe, such as the TGV in France and the TALGO in Spain.

When you first use a Eurailpass, you will be asked to sign it. Consider covering that signature with clear tape. Several young travelers have reported that after pulling the passes in and out of their pockets a number of times and carrying them in wet weather, the signatures get smudged, causing problems with rail authorities who will compare the cards with passports.

Also, visas cannot be obtained at the border when you enter Hungary by train. You can obtain visas, however, within 24 hours at Hungarian embassies and consulates. Visas also can be obtained, in less than one hour, at highway border stations, Budapest International Airport and the international shipping dock in Budapest. Two photographs are needed.

Travel agents (in the United States and Europe) can give advice about the locations of Hungarian embassies and consulates.

Help With Accommodations

You can get help finding budget accommodations in Hungary through the Hungarian youth travel service, Express.

Between July 1 and Aug. 25 hundreds of student dormitory rooms will be available to young visitors. you can make room arrangements while waiting at Express offices.

They don't normally arrange for you to share a multibed room. If you arrive alone you are given a single room for about $12. A room shared by three or four friends will cost about $4 per person.

You can find an Express office at the departure side of Keleti Railway Station in Budapest. It's open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations can also be made at the Express office at V. Semmelweis u. 4 (closest subway station is Astoria).

Express also offers special Hungarian budget accommodation packages for independent travelers through the OJHW youth travel service in Vienna.

Save on Shared Rooms

For example, two people can get a double room in a simple hotel in Budapest, with breakfast for three nights, for 102 Deutsch marks (about $57 U.S.).

During July and August a young single traveler can get a five-night package for 90 marks that includes accommodations in a shared three- or four-bedroom dwelling, plus five coupons valid for lunch or dinner at a variety of restaurants.

These packages must be booked 10 days in advance. You will find an OJHW office in Vienna at Freyung 6/St. 11/5a.

You can get more detailed information about visiting Hungary on a limited budget in the popular guidebook "Let's Go: Europe," by the Harvard Student Agencies. It's updated annually and is available through retail bookstores.

Next spring a new budget travel guidebook, "Eastern Europe on a Shoestring" by David Stanely, will be released by Lonely Planet Publications. It will also be available in retail bookstores.

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