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Rundown for the week of April 17, 1999

Didgeridoo: Sound of Australia
Music is a doorway into other cultures. When you travel across the world, you can gain insight into a people's traditions by hearing them perform native songs on native instruments. Perhaps one of the strangest instruments is the didgeridoo of Australia's Aborigines. Judith Kampfner learned on a recent visit that you don't have to go into the desert interior to find authentic Aboriginal sounds. There is much to hear even in the city.

Rudy talks to listeners about their spring break memories.

Tara Bahrampour Interview
Rudy talks with Tara Bahrampour, author of "To See and See Again," about traveling to, and memories of, Iran.

Flight Attendant Diary
There are about 100,000 attendants out there in the American work force and they're among the most visible and vulnerable targets in the travel industry...standing there smiling while we grumble about departure delays and cold coffee. It must take an awful lot of patience to handle the job. Not to mention a good sense of balance and a high tolerance for recycled air. The Savvy Traveler's Tom Verde recently tagged along on a routine flight from Dallas to Washington, D.C. for a behind-the-scenes look at these saints of service.

Deal of the Week

European Bus

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about Ameribus, the cheap way to see cities in the U.S. by hopping on and off a bus whenever the mood strikes you. The good news is that Europe has a program that's just as good. It's called Busabout, and you can buy a 15-day, unlimited travel pass for only $285 if you're a student or faculty member. The rest of us have to pay about $100 more.

The bus system consists of four main loops with access to about 60 towns in Western Europe. Busses pass through the same cities every two days or so, allowing you to get on and off whenever you want. Imagine being able to roam Italy and France, knowing your transportation costs ahead of time. There are even connecting busses that link the different loops, so you can roar up to Scandinavia once you've been there and done that in the lower countries of Europe.

And each bus has an on-board staffer who can help you find inexpensive lodging at hostels, campgrounds, or bungalows. If a grand European tour on a student's budget is on your horizon this summer, this is the way to go. I bet it's a great way to meet other travelers as well. Check it out at with a travel agent or by visiting Busabout.com. The deal is good from April through October.

Q&A II: General Questions
Rudy takes listeners' general questions about travel. He mentions:

At Risk in Greece?

  • At the moment, there is no State Department advisory for Americans traveling to Greece.
  • The consular information sheet mentions threats against the U.S. embassy in Athens and its officials because of U.S. invovlement in NATO operations in Serbia.
  • No threats have been aimed at private American citizens, tourists or attractions.
  • No reason to curtail a trip, but do keep a low profile. Don't advertise that you're an American:
    • Adjust dress to local customs. No Nike running shoes, logo t-shirts, shorts, baseball caps, sweat suits and fanny packs.
    • Speak softly in public places to avoid calling attention to the fact you speak English.
    • Be discreet with your passport. Don't flash it for all to see in crowded places.
    • Avoid revealing your nationality to strangers.
    • To stay safe, sample the local cuisine. Don't dine at blatantly American establishments like the Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood and McDonald's.
  • Visit The Savvy Traveler's "Before You Go" section for more pre-trip information.

Millennium in the Caribbean

  • The Golden Lemon in the Caribbean island of St. Kitts is a couples hangout, where kids will not be well-received. Phone: 869-465-7260.
  • Bitter End Yacht Club and Marina on Virgin Gorda. Rates start at $550 a night/double from December 23-26, 1999; $1,200 thereafter. Prices based on an all-inclusive program that provides three meals daily, some drinks, airport transfers and resort activities. Call 800-872-2392.
  • Four Seasons Villas has a one-week standard rental in Jamaica for $4,000. It's got a pool, full staff and beach club membership, They've got other Caribbean rentals, but prices are higher. 800-338-0474.

Hostels in Holland

  • There are 37 hostels run by Nederlandse Jeugdherberg Centrale. You can get a listing of these hostels by calling +31-20-551-3155.
  • If you join Hostelling International, you'll get a lower price on your room that will probably make up for the $25 membership fee. Plus, you'll get priority if a hostel is full. Call 202-783-6161.

South African Safari

  • The Savvy Traveler's Tom Verde did a story about safaris in South Africa. Check out his report before heading out.
  • The best time to go is between May and August. The rainy season runs from October to February. During that time, some parks and reserves may be closed.
  • If you're looking to stay within a budget, Spector Travel of Boston can provide you with a few options, starting as low as $1139. Call 800-879-2374.
  • For a more upscale safari, look into packages from Mountain Travel-Sobec. 800-227-2384.

Gondola Lessons
We're taking you to Venice to meet an up-and-coming gondolier: "Learning to drive a gondola on the Grand Canal is like learning to ride a bike on the Long Island Expressway." We're making a splash in Venice.

Next Week on The Savvy Traveler
Next week we're staying away from the water altogether and heading to the desert of Nevada...where tourists are no surprise...except if they're visitors from another galaxy.

"I saw this shiny object in the sky, which I thought at first was a jet, it kept traveling and suddenly it stopped in mid-air and made a right angle turn and zipped off."

The many compelling layers of Nevada. And a trip to a far-off place that most of us would never think of visiting.

"There's a small shack where a table has been neatly stacked with row upon row of skulls, so that future generations can never forget..."

It bears the scars of genocide, but Rwanda also holds many surprises..a traveler recalls her sojourn in a ravaged nation during next week's edition of The Savvy Traveler.

For tapes of the show
If you want your very own copy of The Savvy Traveler, order an audio cassette. It's easy. Just call 303-823-8000. The price is $15. As Rudy says, it's a steal.

The Savvy Traveler Newsletter
The Savvy Traveler newsletter is now available. For more information, call toll-free, 888-SAV-TRAV (888-728-8728), extension 3, or e-mail mail@savvytraveler.org.

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