New Zealand is popular with young travelers for its adrenaline-pumping experiences. Bungee jumping was invented near the South Island resort town of Queenstown. Winter has begun starting Down Under, and the student service STA Travel has arranged several adventure opportunities for student-style travelers.
The STA "Awesome Foursome" packages combine transpacific air travel (Los Angeles to Auckland) with four activities: a high-speed jet boat ride down the Shotover River, a bungee jump from the 439-foot Nevis high wire, a helicopter flight over Skippers Canyon and white-water rafting on the Shotover.
Until Aug. 31, students and travelers under age 26 can buy the package for $999 plus tax (based on availability). For those who plan to head to Queenstown (the most popular ski center), two-night packages in double-room backpacker accommodations are available for $68 per person. For more details, contact STA Travel; telephone (800) 777-0112, Internet http://www.statravel.com.
In New York City, where finding budget accommodations is a challenge, eight YMCAs are open for shoestring travelers this summer. Many include free use of fitness facilities.
Manhattan locations include the centrally located West Side YMCA (close to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Central Park) at 5 W. 63rd St., tel. (212) 875-4273. It has a large fitness center. The Vanderbilt YMCA, 224 E. 47th St., tel. (212) 756-9600, was named for its founder, Cornelius Vanderbilt. The McBurney YMCA, 206 W. 24th St., tel. (212) 741-9226, is in the Chelsea neighborhood.
For details on other locations, visit http://www.ymcanyc.org.
For a short visit to a large city, you may not think that you need a whole guidebook, but some help would be a good idea. "Let's Go Map Guides" offer detailed, laminated maps with key tourist sites and public transportation routes, plus an average 28 pages of details on budget hostels and hotels, tourist sites, entertainment and emergency contacts.
"Let's Go" guides are researched annually by Harvard students. This year new map guides are out for Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Boston, Hong Kong and Amsterdam. They are available at bookstores for $9.
Lucy Izon is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Internet http://www.izon.com.