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Accommodations in Scandinavia range from the most basic, perhaps lacking private bathrooms, to the most deluxe. Outside of the big cities, you are likely to encounter first class in the top category instead of luxe accommodations. The one thing you'll not find is a truly cheap hotel. Even the most inexpensive hotels might be considered a bit pricey in some parts of the world. To compensate, many hotels, especially chain members, offer discounted rates on weekends when hotels lose their most reliable client -- the commercial traveler.

Our accommodation listings include service charges and taxes so you won't be shocked when the time comes to pay the bill and a lot of extras are added on, as is the situation in many European countries.

The most prevalent chain hotel in Scandinavia is Best Western (tel. 800/937-8376; www.bestwestern.com). It offers a Best Western Advance Card that allows you to take advantage of special "summer low" or "winter special promotion" rates, and grants such privileges as allowing one child 11 years old or under to stay free in a room shared with parents.

Alternative Accommodations

If you'd like to avoid a stay in a hotel, consider these other options:

Home Stays -- Friendship Force, 34 Peachtree St. NW, Suite 900, Atlanta, GA 30303 (tel. 404/522-9490; www.thefriendshipforce.org), is a nonprofit organization that encourages friendship among people worldwide. Dozens of branch offices throughout North America arrange visits, usually once a year. Because of group bookings, the airfare to the host country is usually less than the cost of individual APEX tickets. Each participant spends 2 weeks in the host country, the first as a guest in the home of a family and the second traveling in the host country.

Servas, 1125 16th St., Suite 201, Arcata, CA 95521 (tel. 707/825-1714; www.usservas.org), is an international nonprofit, nongovernmental, interfaith network of travelers and hosts whose goal is to help promote world peace, goodwill, and understanding. Servas hosts offer travelers hospitality for 2 days. Travelers pay an $85 annual fee and a $25 list deposit after filling out an application and being approved by an interviewer (interviewers are located across the U.S.). They then receive Servas directories listing the names and addresses of Servas hosts.

Home Exchanges -- One of the most exciting breakthroughs in modern tourism is the home exchange. Sometimes the family automobile is even included. Of course, you must be comfortable with the idea of having strangers in your home, and you must be content to spend your vacation in one place. One potential problem, though, is that you may not get a home in the area you request.

Intervac USA, 30 Corte San Fernando, Tiburon, CA 94920 (tel. 800/756-HOME [4663]; www.intervacus.com), is part of the largest worldwide exchange network. It contains over 10,000 homes in over 36 countries. Members contact each other directly. The cost is $85 plus postage, which includes the purchase of three of the company's catalogs, plus the inclusion of your own listing in whichever catalog you select. If you want to publish a photograph of your home, there is an additional charge of $15. Fees begin at $90, going up to $150.

The Invented City (tel. 415/846-7588; www.invented-city.com) publishes home-exchange listings three times a year. For the $50 membership fee, you can list your home with your own written descriptive summary.

Home Link, 2937 NW 9 St., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311 (tel. 800/638-3841 or 954/566-2687; www.homelink.org), will send you five directories a year for $130.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.