Remember all those shocking stories about Tokyo's high prices? The Japan National Tourist Organization and the Financial Times of London have just completed independent surveys that show Tokyo now ranks ninth among the "most expensive cities in the world." London won the dubious honor of being No. 1. The British survey named New York the most expensive American city.
If you suddenly decide you want to flee Washington's dreary winter for a cruise in the sunny Caribbean, Cruise Lines International Association reports the "increased capacity and a higher than usual cancellation rate have brought down the traditional peak season 'sold out' signs." So you may still find a good cabin available on a ship sailing this month from Miami, Port Everglades or San Juan if you consult your travel agent. This summer the most exciting cruise news will be made by the Norwegian Caribbean Lines' S.S. Norway (formerly the France), when it begins regular one-week voyages in the Caribbean.
Belgium, France, Great Britain, Luxemburg and The Netherlands are host countries participation in "Operation Friendly Invasion," a series of 10-day tours for U.S. veterans of World War II, their families and friends. Marketed by Galaxy Tours of King of Prussia, Pa., the tours will commemorate the 35th anniversary of VE Day and include citizens with the visitors from abroad."
Airline passengers faced with steadily rising fares may see their more expensive tickets in a better light when they realize that U.S. airlines will have to pay $11 million more per day for fuel this year than in 1979. The Air Transport Association told the Civil Aeronautics Board recently that fuel costs are expected to average $29 million a day, compared with $18 million daily last year. In 1973, jet fuel cost 12 cents a gallon. The average price of a gallon may reach $1.10 by the end of 1980, the ATA said.
Speaking of air fares, World Airways Inc. has resumed its transcontinental and Hawaiian flights at prices 35 to 40 percent below other regular coach fares. In the Washington area the airline's DC10-30s depart from Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
There are no restrictions. "World's fares are available to everybody at all times," said Alfred E. Kahn, President Carter's adviser on inflation and chairman of the Council on Wage and Price Stability. "You don't have to be left-handed, you don't have to have pink eyebrows and you don't have to travel on alternate Tuesdays on leap years."
Though many major European capitals continue to suffer from serious inflation that, coupled with a sagging dollar, can mean an expensive summer vacation for American tourists who have enough dollar problems at home, there are still ways cut costs. One is to stay away from the luxury hotels unless you're traveling on an expense account. For example, 32 small hotels in central London, in cooperation with the British Tourist Authority, are offearing more than 1,000 rooms "at a guaranteed rate of $35 maximum" for a double until Oct. 31. Many countries give better value away from the big cities.
Countries such as Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain, where the dollar is relatively strong and prices are more palatable, remain good buys this summer. And don't forget our neighbors, Mexico and Canada.
Those planning longer stays in Europe should think about buying a Eurailpass or Eurail Youthpass, which permit rail travel with unlimited mileage in 16 countries. North Americans must purchase such passes before their departure. If you'd like a free copy of the 1980 Eurail Map showing the main rail lines of many countries and other information, write to Trains, P.O. Box M, Staten Island, N.Y. 10305.