QUESTION: I expect relatives from Europe to visit in the spring. Are there air passes for foreign tourists similar to Eurailpasses?
ANSWER: Most U.S.-based airlines that fly from Asia or Europe to the United States offer discounted travel for foreigners.
Generally these consist of booklets of coupons, sold at the airlines' offices overseas, where buyers must present proof of residence.
As a rule, each coupon can be used for one flight; making a connection to a second flight requires another coupon.
Usually, coupons must be used within 60 days after using the first one or 120 days after arrival in the United States, whichever comes first.
The examples cited are for those flying in on trans-Atlantic flights; there are similar programs for those flying from Asia. The prices are for coupons to be used in the continental United States and Canada; coupons for Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean cost more.
Generally, to buy coupons for domestic flights, passengers must fly into the United States on the airline they travel on.
However, in American Airlines's Visit U.S.A. program, travelers not flying in on American can buy its coupons, though at a higher price. American sells a minimum of three and maximum of eight coupons.
Except for the summer, when prices will be higher, coupons cost $100 each in conjunction with an American Airlines trans-Atlantic ticket and $130 without one. (Tickets are sold in local currencies, so prices may vary according to the exchange rate.)
Those using coupons must reserve the first trip inside the United States before arriving here. Subsequent flights can be booked at any time.
Northwest has a variety of options. One is a two-coupon pass costing $186 in most countries; all reservations must be made before arriving in the United States. A second is a package of four coupons, for which an itinerary must be set before leaving; there is a $50 charge for changes made after arrival. The cost is $379 ($399 in July and August), with additional coupons $35 each. A third option is the Open Pass, $439 for four coupons for which reservations can be made at any time. Each additional booklet of four coupons is $140.
There is also a Standby Pass by which overseas travelers, flying standby, can travel unlimited mileage in the continental United States and Canada for 30 days for $399.
The United Airlines program offers 3 to 10 coupons, for routes that travelers establish before they leave, though the dates are left open for all but the first. The price depends on the itinerary. As one example, using four coupons to fly from Chicago to San Francisco, then to San Diego, back to San Francisco and then to Chicago, would cost $415.
QUESTION: I will be in San Diego for a month and want to take a train to Los Angeles and visit the Getty and Huntington museums and the Museum of Contemporary Art. How can I get to them from the train station?
ANSWER: The Museum of Contemporary Art is housed in two buildings. One of them, in a converted warehouse called MOCA the Temporary Contemporary, is at Central Avenue and First Street, about a 15-minute walk from Union Station.
From there, you can get to the museum's other building, at 250 South Grand Avenue, via the Downtown Area Short-Hop (DASH) shuttle, for 25 cents one way, from First and Central to Grand Street, a long block's walk to the museum.
The shuttles run each six to eight minutes every day but Sunday. Museum of Contemporary Art, 150 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, Calif. 90012; (213) 621-2766.
To get to the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino get the No. 79 bus at Alameda and Macy near the train station and get off at Huntington Drive and San Marino Avenue in San Marino, three blocks from the Huntington.
The bus costs $1.10 and takes roughly 30 minutes. A cab is $22 each way, according to the museum. Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, Calif. 91108; (818) 405-2141.
To get to the J.Paul Getty Museum from Union Station you can take the No. 2 bus from Broadway and Sunset Boulevard, near the station, which takes about an hour and 50 minutes to get to Sunset Boulevard and the Pacific Coast Highway, the closest stop, a half-mile from the museum. The cost is $1.10.
In the morning, there is an express bus, No. 434, costing $2.30, which runs from Alameda and Macy Streets at 6:18 a.m., 6:58 a.m. and 7:53 a.m., taking about an hour and five minutes to get to Sunset Boulevard and the Pacific Coast Highway.
Passengers going to the Getty must get a museum pass from the bus driver. The No. 434 leaves the Pacific Coast Highway and Sunset Boulevard at 3:20, 4:26 and 5:06 P.M. Cabs between the museum and Union station are roughly $30, a museum official said. J.Paul Getty Museum, 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, Calif. 90265; (213) 458-2003.
Transit information: (213) 626-4455.
QUESTION: My wife and I wish to attend the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. How can I get tickets?
ANSWER: Olson-Travelworld has been named the sole ticket distributor in the United States for tickets for events in the winter and summer Olympic games. The company says it will issue a brochure late this month listing events and prices and will put tickets on sale some time next month. The company will also offer accommodations packages of from one to three weeks. A weeklong package at either event will be about $3,000 not including tickets or air fare, the company said. The company is taking names of those who wish to get information: Olson Travelworld, Post Office Box 92734, Los Angeles, Calif. 90009; (800) 874-1992. - Editor's Note: In addition to the purveyors listed in this column, check with your local travel agent.