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YOUTH BEAT

Riding the Rails to Savings in Europe

April 08, 2001|LUCY IZON | Lucy Izon is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Internet http://www.izon.com

If you are younger than 26 and want to explore both Britain and the Continent this year, Rail Europe has a special offer.

Any traveler of this age can find an attractive fare by using a Eurailpass Youth, Europass Youth, Eurailpass Youth Flexi or the new Eurail Selectpass Youth. For the third consecutive year, anyone who buys any of these fares is also eligible for a 50% discount on selected BritRail passes.

Youth fares are also available on the popular high-speed Euro-star rail service between Britain and Europe. The Eurailpass Youth is good for unlimited second-class travel on the 100,000-mile rail network in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Those under 26 can buy 15 consecutive days of travel for $388, 21 consecutive days for $499, one month for $623, two months for $882 and three months for $1,089.

The Eurailpass Youth Flexi Pass is valid for unlimited second-class train travel in those 17 countries for 10 or 15 days. For any 10 days of travel within two months, it costs $458; for 15 days of travel within two months, it's $599.

The Europass Youth is designed for shorter periods of travel in a smaller region of Europe. Pass-holders get unlimited second-class travel in France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Spain. Within a two-month period, second-class travel for any five days costs $244; any six days, $272; any eight days, $322; any 10 days, $370; and any 15 days, $482.

You can add associate countries-this includes Austria-Hungary, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg), Greece and Portugal-for $42 each, or two choices for $70.

The new Eurail Selectpass Youth is valid for unlimited second-class travel in any three adjoining Eurail countries that are connected by train or ship. Within a two-month period, any five days of travel costs $230, six days is $294 and 10 days, $334. (When riding an overnight train, a travel day begins at 7 p.m. on Day 1 and ends at midnight on Day 2.)

The passes must be purchased together in North America by Dec. 31. When you purchase any one of these passes, you get a 50% discount on selected BritRail passes.

The BritRail Flexipass is valid for four, eight or 15 days of travel in a two-month period. The special youth version of the 15-day pass costs $179.50, compared with $359 for the regular, standard-class BritRail Flexipass for 15 days. You can buy eight days of travel for $119.50 or four days for $92.50.

To qualify for youth fares, you must be under 26 on your first date of travel, you must purchase before you travel abroad and you must begin using your pass within six months of purchase.

For more information or to make bookings, contact a travel agent or Rail Europe at (888) 382-7245 or (888) 422-2748, or visit Rail Europe's Internet site at http://www.raileurope.com.

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