Plastic Fantastic

Every 2.7 seconds somewhere in the world another Tupperware party is starting, says company spokeswoman Lawrie Platt, who can hardly contain her enthusiasm. A trip through the Museum of Historic Containers at Tupperware's world headquarters in Kissimmee, Fla., documents the history of food containment (in my house, it's called food detention) from 4000 B.C. to the present. Fortunately, all those historic holders -- reeds and grasses and wood, earthenware, stone and glass -- had long been emptied of their historic leftovers by the time the curator assembled them.

Not long after the most recent Ice Age -- when refrigerators as we know them came on the scene -- American inventor Earl Tupper brought us out of the Stone(ware) Age and into the Plastic Age, inventing the "Tupperware," or airtight, seal, along the way. But people have been storing food as long as they've been eating: I have some tuna noodle casserole that may date back to the Mesozoic era myself. Perhaps the museum has a historic foods' SWAT team that could be dispatched ... For more information: 800-858-7221. Token Tourists

In San Francisco, the prospect of all those hills drives the typical tourist to public transportation. In Boston, it's the drivers -- and the cow paths, er, streets -- that send them underground, and to the abundant buses, trackless trolleys and streetcars. Plenty of locals do likewise too, relying on two booklets -- the "San Francisco Bay Area Regional Transit Guide" and "Car-Free in Boston" -- for information on local fares, routes, schedules and transportation companies.

Long before Charlie got stuck on the M(B)TA, Bostonians had been great "T" riders. Bay Area residents really learned to love their public transport after the big shake-up last year, ultimately increasing ridership on BART (the subway under the bay) by 15 percent to 20 percent. The guides are available in bookstores in their respective cities. Or, for a copy of the San Francisco guide, send a check for $5.25 (which covers postage) to Metropolitan Transit Commission, Technical Services Dept., 101 Eighth St., Oakland, Calif. 94607; for Boston, send a check for $6.20 to the Association for Public Transportation Inc., P.O. Box 192, Cambridge, Mass. 02238. Hot Tickets

If theater lovers headed for London could secure tickets in advance, they'd be less likely to miss "Saigon." British Airways will reserve seats for its transatlantic round-trip passengers for shows at more than 38 theaters in Britain, and for performances of the London symphonies, the Royal Opera and Ballet at Covent Garden -- as well as special events like the Edinburgh Festival. Reservations can be booked seven days before departure.

A surcharge of up to 10 percent covers handling, and vouchers for seat and performancecan be traded in at two ticket offices in the West End. Tickets can be reserved through travel agents or by calling 800-247-9297. UP IN THE AIR

Once you get to Alaska, you're practically in the Soviet Union anyway. And now that Alaska Airlines will be inaugurating the first scheduled passenger jet service to the U.S.S.R. from the West Coast on June 17, you can actually get there (to Magadan and Khabarovsk) from there (Anchorage). It's certainly faster than the old Atlantic route to this easternmost part of the U.S.S.R.

Flights will go three times weekly in summer and take about 4 1/2 hours to Magadan ($1,100, round-trip coach) and eight hours to Khabarovsk ($1,500). Package tours for five-, six- and eight-day stopovers are also available. (The eight-day tour includes a stop in Siberia's Irkutsk.) To put some Russian dressing on your next West Coast foray, call 800-468-2248 for information and reservations. TRAVEL TRIVIA In what country do sheep outnumber people 20 to 1? ANSWER BELOW TRIVIA ANSWER: BAAAD NEWS FOR NEW ZEALAND WITH, AT LAST COUNT, JUST MORE THAN 3 MILLION PEOPLE AND ABOUT 60 MILLION SHEEP. ADVISORY WATCH

Colombia. Some areas east of the Andes and on the north coast are dangerous because of guerrilla and narcotics activities. Kidnapping for ransom or political purposes is an ongoing threat, and crime is a problem in Bogota and at airports.

El Salvador. Avoid travel in the eastern and northern parts of the country, where guerrillas are active. Remain indoors after 1 a.m., and avoid government-designated "conflictive zones," where Americans arrested without prior clearance have been detained.

Haiti. Because of possible civil disturbances in connection with the recent election, Americans should defer all non-essential travel.

Northern Ireland. Because of recent terrorist campaigns in the Belfast and Londonderry areas, and several bombings in Belfast, Americans traveling in these areas should exercise caution and follow the advice of local authorities.

Thailand. Trekking in certain remote areas in Northern Thailand along the Thai-Burmese border can be hazardous and should be avoided, due to the presence of bandits and armed drug traffickers.

For details, and the most current information, contact the State Department's Citizens Emergency Center, 202-647-5225. FREE FOR THE ASKING

New Zealand is giving it away -- travel information, that is. There are two new beefy brochures available: "See New Zealand" focuses on the country's 12 national, forest and maritime parks. "New Zealand Outdoor Holidays Guide" lists activities that range from the tame -- golf and fly fishing -- to the adventurous, like sea kayaking, trekking, "black-water" rafting and bungy jumping. Call 800-388-5494 for copies, and pass the kiwi tart.

The European Travel Commission has just published "Planning Your Trip to Europe," packed with useful tips, maps and information on sights and special events in its 24 member countries, from Austria to Yugoslavia. It is available free from European Travel, P.O. Box 9012, East Setauket, N.Y. 11733 (allow four weeks for delivery).

Whatever your Vermont fantasy -- autumn in the woods in a log cabin, winter in a chalet on a moonlit mountainside -- it's probably for rent. "Vermont: Four Season Vacation Rentals, 1991" has more than 400 year-round listings and is available free from Seasonal Rentals Kit, Vermont Travel Division, R 110, 134 State St., Montpelier, Vt. 05602.