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Rundown for the week of April 24, 1999

Why New Zealand?
Y'know, here at The Savvy Traveler, we get mail from folks all over the world wanting to report on their own travel experiences. But what they don't know is that it's not all about flying off to some exotic locale...one of our regulars, Judie Fein offered to give you the inside scoop.

Q&A I: Getting Your Way
Rudy talks to listeners about how they've kvetched on the road.

Singles Vacation
A lot of people ask me about pre-packaged singles vacations. Are they just thinly veiled meet-markets? Would I be comfortable in that situation? The answer, of course, is that you have to take it on a case by case basis...just do a little research ahead of time. To help you out, we sent someone who was very uncomfortable with the idea, to check out a Club Med vacation. Now, to set the scene, you should know that Club Med isn't really a club. It's a bunch of so-called villages sprinkled along the equator and each holds roughly 600 visitors at a time. The villages are divided into three categories: Family, Everyone and Adult--no one under 18 admitted. It was to an adult village on the Pacific coast of Mexico, Playa Blanca, that we sent reluctant reporter Alex Blumberg. He discovered that famous African proverb's Club Med corollary: It takes a village to act like a child.

Deal of the Week

A Freebie for Mother's Day

Get your pencils ready to write this one down, because you're going to have to act quickly by this Monday the 26th, to take advantage of this week's deal. It's free lodging in Stowe, Vermont, for Mother's Day, May 8th.

For the second year, all lodges in the Stowe area are providing free rooms in order to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Coalition. Every dollar you spend in Stowe that weekend goes to the charity. And local attractions, like the world headquarters of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, offer free tours. When you check in to your room, you'll get a voucher for other activities including in-line skating or a round of golf.

Here's why you have to act fast. Last year, all 600 rooms were claimed in about six hours. You can make reservations beginning at 9 a.m. East Coast time on Monday, April 26th. And if last year is any indication, you ought to dial early and often. Ready for the reservations number? It's 800-247-8693.

Travel Poetry
If you've been tuning in the last few weeks you know we've been celebrating National Poetry Month by hearing travel poetry written by our listeners.

Q&A II: General Questions
Rudy takes listeners' general questions about travel. He mentions:

England Attractions

  • To find WWII airbases that dot the countryside of Southern England, check out the Royal Air Force Museum website. There, you'll find a listing of units and bases. Or you can call for information, +44-181-205-2266.
  • Royal Shakespeare tickets may be purchased and a schedule of performances obtained online at whatson.com.
  • Cross Country International can arrange riding at the Hill's farm. Call them at 800-828-8768.

Coach Tour of Scotland

  • Whyte's Coach Tours offers four- and five-day Heart of the Highlands tours in late July and late August. You can add on trips to the Orkney Islands and the Inner and Outer Hebrides. Call +44-1651-862211.
  • Elderhostel also offers longer tours, like their 17-day Castles & Gardens of the Highlands of Scotland for $3,800, out of New York. Call 877-426-8056.
  • The top-notch Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh recommends Scotline Tours coach tours if you'd like to stay in Edinburgh and take day trips to the surrounding areas. Loch Ness, Loch Lomond, St. Andrew's and the Borders areas are all offered. Call +44-131-557-0162.

Horse (and People) Lodging

  • The National Park Service can provide a list of phone numbers of all the national parks. Call 202-208-6843.
  • The Horse & Mule Trail Guide USA will probably be a better resource. It's a state-by-state listing of stables and trails, with information about nearby people lodging.

Rwanda Revisted
We're taking a considerable departure as we travel to a far-off place that most of us would never think of visiting. It bears the scars of genocide, but Rwanda also holds many surprises. Kitty Felde recalls her sojourn in a ravaged nation.

Next Week on The Savvy Traveler
Next week we're going to another place that's seen it's share of turmoil. Martin Stott takes us to Belfast, Ireland. You might be amazed by what he's discovered.

"People always talk about undiscovered gems - and now I've found one. The troubles have frightened so many tourists away from Northern Ireland that you've got it to yourself practically. The place is wonderful and so peaceful."

The heartwarming surprises of Belfast. We hear the music you've got to have with you when you hit the road. And if you've ever dreamed of going into space, next week's guest thinks your fantasy could come true.

"I would say that at least half the average population ought to be able to make space flights."

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin stops in to talk about the future of space travel. Hear what it's like to blast off into the stars during 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.

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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