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The Independent Travel
Anyone planning to take advantage of a standby airpass will find the chances of getting on board much higher when travelling solo. The latest North American airpass, being marketed in the UK by AirPass Sales (01737 555300), covers the ground from Calgary to San Francisco and Vancouver to Idaho Falls. This unlimited travel pass is offered by the US regional airline, Horizon Air. It allows as many journeys as you wish in a week for pounds 175, or three weeks for pounds 298, travelling on a space-available basis. The carrier has a dense network of flights around the north-western US, spreading into south-western Canada. To get started on the pass, Flightbookers (0171-757 2000) has a range of two-centre trips for around pounds 330, combining New York or Chicago with San Francisco - where you can pick up the standby trail.

The ideal adjunct for the lone traveller is membership of Hostelling International, offering low-cost accommodation around the world. Join the appropriate organisation: contact the YHA for England and Wales on 01727 855215; the Scottish YHA on 01786 451181; or the YHA for Northern Ireland on 01232 324733.

David Hempleman-Adams, who was the first person to walk solo to the north magnetic pole, is running a group expedition taking "eight ordinary Britons" to the magnetic pole in April/May 1996. This involves a 300-mile walk from Resolute Bay in Canada's North West Territories The cost per person is pounds 15,000, and applicants will undergo a full medical (including psychological) assessment before selection. Call 01793 823741 for further details.