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Rundown for the week of March 13, 1999

St. Pat's in Butte
If you're looking for the best St. Patrick's celebration in the West, with plenty of green beer and parading leprechauns, you should think about a trip to the "Ireland of the West", Butte Montana. Though Butte couldn't look less like Ireland's emerald shores, Celtic heritage runs deep through generations who originally went there to mine copper. It's a celebration Hal Cannon of the Open Road likes to attend whenever he gets the chance.

Q&A Quilt
Rudy talks to listeners about a variety of subjects from past shows.

Mobil Guides Interview
In Europe outstanding hotels and restaurants receive the prestigious Michelin awards - the golden fork - for exemplary service and quality. Here in the States and Canada similar awards have been given by Mobil for almost forty years. Instead of giving forks, the best in the industry receive stars, with a rating system ranging from one to five. Each year their four and five star winners are listed in a guidebook called "America's Best Hotels and Restaurants." Bob O'Leary is the Director of the Mobil Travel Guide Program and he joins us to tell us how to recognize a four or five star hotel.

Radio Free London
With Burger King and McDonald's on the streets of Berlin, Baby Gap all over Scotland and now Ikea in China, it's hard these days to get that authentic THIS FEELS FOREIGN travel experience. But if you find yourself in London, wanting to go native, The Savvy Traveler's Wesley Weissberg has a suggestion.

Deal of the Week

Go all the way 'round!

If you feel like taking a long trip, why not go all the way? All the way around the world, that is. Because for just a few dollars more than a trip between a city in the U.S. and, say, Beijing, you can do the world.

I called two travel companies that specialize in putting together around-the-world tickets. Both are located in San Francisco, and both have toll-free numbers and web sites.

Air Brokers International: 800-883-3273

I asked the first company, Air Brokers International, for a Washington, D.C. departure. They suggested I stop first in London, then travel overland to Paris or Amsterdam. Then fly to Delhi and on to Hong Kong before returning home. Price: less than $1,600.

High Adventure Travel: 800-428-8735

High Adventure Travel said they'd take me from L.A. to Paris, Delhi, and Bangkok, then I'd make my way overland to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and fly back to L.A. Fare? About $1,400 during the shoulder season that begins the first of April.

You'll get the best deal if you can book three to four weeks ahead of departure, but last-minute tickets are available, too. And here's the best part: you can change your flight dates as you travel. So you can spend more time in any city that strikes your fancy. By the way, you usually have a year to wrap up your trip. Hey--you have to come home eventually.

Around the world for less--that's MY Deal of the Week

Air Brokers http://www.airbrokers.com

Rudy takes listeners' general questions about travel. He mentions:

Pilot Background Chec

  • There is no way for a passenger to check the background of a pilot. What you can do is check on the safety performance of the airlines themselves before booking your ticket. Check it out at this website: airsafe.com.

Greece-Italy Connections

  • Call the Greek tourism offices in New York at 212-421-5777
  • For flights between Athens to Florence or Milan, try these airlines. AirOne, +390-64-88-800 or on the web at www.air-one.it (it's in Italian). Or Meridiana, +390-789-52-600. You can also try Virgin Express at +44-171-744-0004 or online at www.virgin-express.com.
  • There's no shortages of places to see in Tuscany. Some notable websites for B&Bs, villas and hotels are Best in Italy, Italianvillas.com and The Best in Tuscany.

Historic Sites in Boston

  • Most of the major historical sites (Old North Church, Paul Revere's house, etc.) are located along the Freedom Trail and are best explored by taking a self-guided walking tour.
  • Organized tours are available. Beacon Hill Stroll at 617-426-1885 and Boston's Beginning at 617-635-7412 are two.
  • For a more Kennedy-centric tour that includes a visit to his birthplace, Harvard and the JFK library, call 617-482-3275.
  • For information on accommodations, call the Visitors Information Center at 800-888-5515 or the Bed and Breakfast Agency of Boston, 800-248-9262.

Wedding in Rio

  • Varig Brazilian Airlines suggested consolidators for low-priced tickets.
  • Portuguese Tours at 800-526-4076 can find reduced airfare and hotel rooms in Rio.
  • American Airlines Group Sales Desk said for every 20 tickets you buy, you get one free. 800-221-2255.
  • Try toll-free numbers for chain hotels in Rio ( Inter-Continental, Meridien or Sheraton). It's pretty much a matter of policy that they'd have group rates. Best Western also has a couple hotels in Rio.

Antarctica with an Eight-Year-Old

  • The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators have agreed to keep the number of visitors to 10,000 per year.
  • If you want to go during the 1999-2000 season (mid-November to Mid-March) call ASAP.
  • Children are welcome on most tours. The naturalist lecturers aboard the ships work hard to keep kids entertained when they're in the audience.
  • You'll have to fly to Ushaia, Argentina to hop aboard the ships. Most of them are converted Russian research vessels and hold under 50 passengers.
  • Take seasickness medication with you. Ships go through the Drake Passage, considered to be the roughest seas in the world.
  • Water safety is very important. Before you go, read "Endurance" by Alfred Lansing. The true story of Sir Earnest Shackleton's 1915 voyage to, and escape from, Antarctica. This is possibly the best adventure story ever told.

There's the side of Cabo San Lucas that's glitz, glamour and a surefire spot for celebrity sightings. And then, there's the other Cabo:

"That was when I saw it, just under the surface: a luminous, shimmering aqua, the color dancing under the waters like some spectral image, a burst of flickering color that seemed to catch in my chest and flutter."

Next Week on The Savvy Traveler
We head to the Middle East for a spa vacation at the Dead Sea:

Clip: "I'm putting black mud all over me. This is kind of hard to do"

We get the real scoop on taking a singles vacation. And speaking of singles, what happens when you get an airplane ride all to yourself?

Clip: "Good evening Liz, this is Art, your captain speaking. We hope you enjoy your flight, Liz, so sit back and relax. Yeah - my captain, my crew, my flight!"

Find out more about Liz's solo journey when you come along for the ride in next week's edition of The Savvy Traveler.

For tapes of the show
If you want your very own copy of The Savvy Traveler, order an audio cassette. It's easy. Just call 303-823-8000. The price is $15. As Rudy says, it's a steal.

The Savvy Traveler Newsletter
The Savvy Traveler newsletter is now available. For more information, call toll-free, 888-SAV-TRAV (888-728-8728), extension 3, or e-mail mail@savvytraveler.org.

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