Car not necessary for Yellowstone visit

November 06, 2005|By MICHAEL MARTINEZ | MICHAEL MARTINEZ,KNIGHT RIDDER / TRIBUNE

My wife and I are planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park. Can you provide information about the nearest airports and whether we need to rent a car?

If you're traveling in the fall or winter, your best option is the airport in Bozeman, Mont.

There's no public transportation, but Karst Stage (karst stage.com) runs a shuttle service during the winter to West Yellowstone (the town adjacent to the park's west entrance) and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.

Most lodges have already closed for the season, but two, Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins, have availability in winter, usually around late December.

To find out the dates of operation, visit the Web site travelyel lowstone.com, which lists all park hotels.

A rental car isn't necessary. The nonprofit Yellowstone Association (yellowstoneassocia tion.org) has several programs that allow you to experience Yellowstone, either for day tours with a naturalist or stays from two to five days that include lodging, educational seminars, transportation and most meals.

The association's two-day wolf-watching program, for example, starts at $299 per person, double occupancy.

You can also take part in one of the Yellowstone Association's "Ed-Ventures," in which visitors spend a day with a naturalist for wildlife watching or snowshoeing. Trips can also be customized. The fee is $350 for a group of up to seven.

For more information, call 307-344-2294.

I want to use my ATM card in Italy, but I've heard that cash machines there don't accept PINs with a first digit of 1 or 0. Is this correct?

You don't have to worry about specific numbers on your debit card's PIN (personal identification number), but to avoid problems, you should have a card with a four-digit PIN. Also, if your PIN uses letters rather than numbers, convert them to numbers before leaving home.

Durant Imboden, whose Web site europeforvisitors.com has valuable information about using ATMs in Europe, also warns that travelers should be aware that maximum withdrawal limits might not match your limits at home.

If your cash limit is $300, for example, you may not be able to withdraw that equivalent in euros. If you need more cash, try another machine or wait a day, he suggests.

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