The Netherlands is helping young travelers plan budget visits by providing two free publications--"Holland--A Young and Lively Country" and "Cycling in Holland."
The first provides tips and information on what to see, how to get around, where to stay, available entertainment and who to contact in an emergency.
For example, the least expensive accommodation for young visitors is at one of the young people's camping sites at Vliegenbos or Zeeburg. The fee is 5 guilders (about $2.50 U.S.) a night. Tents can be rented at the Zeeburg camping site for 8 guilders a night.
The booklet also lists youth hostels and student hotels that offer budget accommodations throughout the country. This year the rate for bed and breakfast at any of the 40 international youth hostels is 17.50 guilders a night.
Young visitors also get special travel discounts. For example, the "Benelux Junior Tourrail" ticket, available to travelers aged 12 to 25, is for unlimited rail travel throughout the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg for any five days during a 17-day period.
You can buy the pass at rail stations in three countries. A first-class ticket costs 148 guilders, second-class is 99 guilders.
The publication also helps in finding services such as NBBS Travel, which has more than 30 offices and has been providing budget services to students and young travelers for more than 60 years.
The Netherlands has about 11 million bicycles and 6,200 miles of special lanes and paths designated specifically for cyclists.
"Cycling in Holland" offers route suggestions and maps, plus information on bike rentals, events and travel packages.
In the Netherlands the wind direction is often south to southwest, so bicyclists can plan routes to keep it at their backs.
Also, the Royal Dutch Touring Club (ANWB) has placed thousands of numbered, mushroom-shaped posts, which can be used to check locations on club maps, on cycling routes throughout the country.
The booklet also suggests budget accommodations such as the hundreds of log cabins at camping sites. The unheated cabins will accommodate up to four people for up to three days. Last year's rate was 42 guilders. The cabins are open until Oct. 1.
For a free copy of either publication, contact the Netherlands Board of Tourism, 90 New Montgomery St., Suite 305, San Francisco 94105, (415) 543-6772.
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Special rates for more than 10 kinds of youth rail tickets and passes are available for travel in Europe.
For example, Spain's youth pass, Tarifa Joven, offers travelers ages 12 to 25 a 50% discount on rail services and sleeping accommodations for a two-month period. Journeys must be about 65 miles, or 130 miles round trip. Price is 2,500 pesetas (about $23 U.S.).
Belgium's Junior Tourrail ticket, available to travelers 12 to 25, is valid for unlimited travel for any five days during a 17-day period in the summer and over the Christmas holidays. It's sold at Belgian rail stations. The first-class version costs 1,800 Belgian francs ($50 U.S.), while the second-class ticket is 1,200 francs.
Some tickets must be bought before you leave the United States. For example, a special Irish Youth Rambler Pass, valid for unlimited bus and rail travel for travelers under 26, must be bought through CIE Tours, 122 East 42nd St., New York 10168. The price for eight days is $82 U.S., 15 days is $111 and 30 days is $145.
The best way to find out about special fares is to inquire at tourist information offices and travel agencies, or refer to guidebooks that specialize in youth or rail travel.
The annual "Eurail Guide" by Marvin Saltzman ($12.95) includes prices and conditions for 105 low-priced train passes worldwide.
The book is available through bookstores or can be ordered from Eurail Guide, 27540 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu 90265. The cost of $14.95 U.S. includes postage.