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YOUTH BEAT

Camping at Oktoberfest

September 17, 1989|LUCY IZON | Izon is a Canadian travel journalist covering youth budget routes.

Each year more than 7 million people take part in the world's most popular fall festival, Munich's Oktoberfest.

If you are going to be in England this month, you can join the fun through budget trips offered by Tracks, a 17-year-old tour company that caters to travelers 18 to 35 years.

Tracks' tours are coach and camping, or hotel, trips that leave from and return to London. Its programs range from seven-day hotel tours in Ireland (from $550 U.S.) to 60-day, 16-country programs.

A 36-day Europe, Greece and Turkey camping trip starts at $1,340. In addition to paying the regular tour rate, participants contribute extra into a communal food fund.

On trips of more than three weeks, there's a 39-passenger limit on buses.

The Oktoberfest programs are handled differently. Up to 53 people are packed into buses for a 24-hour ride to Munich. Often as many as 300 travelers set out on each departure date.

Six-day return camping trips depart London this Wednesday and Saturday. The cost is $258 U.S. An eight-day trip departs on Saturday for $280. Those rates include breakfasts and all camping equipment except air mattresses and sleeping bags, which can be bought at the Tracks office in London.

Two to a Tent

Participants stay in two-person tents that were designed to hold three people. Tracks maintains a permanent base with representatives at the Munich campground because it is used for their other European tour programs.

A shuttle-bus service operates from the grounds to the festival. Transportation also is provided to several popular tourist sites in the area, including Neuschwanstein Castle, the Olympics complex and the Deutsches Museum.

Travel agents have more information and can make arrangements. Or contact Himalayan Travel, P.O. Box 481, Greenwich, Conn. 06836, toll-free (800) 225-2380.

A 21-page booklet, "Young People's Guide to Munich"-- where to stay, how to get around and what to see--is available free from the West German National Tourist Office, 444 S. Flower St., Suite 2230, Los Angeles 90071, (213) 688-7332.

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