1. Archive

Look for the "I' for information

Question: We have visited more than 50 countries. Several trips were follow-ups to a package tour that we had taken, and the return was to revisit highlights too quickly passed on the tour.

Every traveler should be familiar with the big "I" for "Information" in any country. Most railroad stations and airports provide this kind of assistance.

We found that in the former Soviet-occupied countries, information is harder to come by because fewer people understand English. But, many of the local travelers who heard us stepped forward and, in English, offered to help, and this was in such an out-of-the-way place as Gdansk, Poland. _ Henry S. Banks, Bethesda, Md.

Answer: You make an excellent point about the "I" signs that are scattered throughout much of the world. They are an important resource, and a great meeting place.

A year in Ireland

Question: We are interested in spending six months to a year in Ireland. We'd like to rent a home or apartment. Can you suggest who to contact? _ Dorrel Mahon, Boynton Beach

Answer: Start your search by calling the Irish Tourist Board at (800) 223-6470 and stating specifically that you are interested in information for a long-term stay. Another source is B&B of Great Britain, which you can reach at (800) 454-8704. Call during the week so you can talk to a person, not just leave a message.

Working Yellowstone

Question: Last summer my daughter and I made our first trip to Jackson, Wyo., the Tetons and Yellowstone Park. I was so awed at the beauty and, like so many others, have an almost constant yearning to go back. I would like to go in the coming years for the summer months but would need to work to cover expenses.

I am a retired teacher, 62, in good health, a widow. I want to fill my days with experiences like last summer's adventure to the Tetons _ not long, non-productive days.

I find traveling companions at random now. If I could find a compatible group, it would help. _ Thelma Young, Martinsville, Va.

Answer: Yellowstone Park employs 3,500 or more temporary workers each summer. Jobs include bookkeeping, campground hosting, food and beverage workers, gift shop sales, room cleanup, bus and van driving, even musicians and stagecoach drivers. In addition to pay, workers get meals and lodging, though some of the lodging can be pretty rustic. There is time off for sightseeing in Jackson Hole and the Tetons.

To get specifics about work opportunities, contact the park you are interested in or district offices of agencies such as the U.S. Park Service and U.S. Forest Service. For Yellowstone specifically, contact YNP Lodges, P.O. Box 165, Human Resources, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190, or visit the Web site at http://www.

To find traveling companions, contact any travel matchmaker club, such as Travel Companion Exchange, P.O. Box 833, Amityville, NY 11701; call (800) 392-1256.

For touring information, contact the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 550, Jackson, WY 83001; call (307) 733-3316; or visit the site on the World Wide Web, http://www.

Normandy tours

Question: My wife and I are going to spend two weeks in Paris in 1999 and would like to visit the Normandy beaches area. Do you have suggestions? _ W.H. Johnson, Singer Island

Answer: First, ask a travel agent, who should be able to find a tour timed to your travel dates. We would strongly suspect that travel suppliers operating in Paris would offer such a tour. If so, your hotel concierge would know or could contact such a supplier.

One company that operates from April to October is the French Experience. This organization picks travelers up at their Paris hotels in a minivan and takes them on a four-day, three-night tour of the major sites of Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley. This package starts at about $1,400 a person. The New York office can be reached at (212) 986-3800.

Holts Battlefield Tours is a British company that conducts tours of several battlefields in places such as France, Belgium and Vietnam. Holts has a Web site at, or you can write Holts, 15 Market St., Sandwich, Kent, England, CT13 9DA, United Kingdom. Other sources are Galaxy Tours, (800) 523-7287, and Valor Tours, (800) 842-4504; both specialize in touring World War II sites.

The information in this column is culled from The Mature Traveler newsletter, P.O. Box 50400, Reno, NV 89513-0400. E-mail: A random sample copy costs $2; annual subscriptions are $29.95.

Note to readers

Gene Malott, my partner and lifelong travel companion, died this spring from complications after surgery. From the letters we had received over the years, I know you will miss him as a trusted travel adviser. Probably the most frequent question asked has related to traveling solo, something I have done when researching places appropriate for mature travelers. Now those trips will assume added dimension for me and for you.

Please keep me advised about topics and locations that interest you so that I can continue to supply the kinds of information you need and want to make your travels as rewarding as your dreams.