The new year is more than two months away, but 2005 travel catalogs are streaming in, presenting trips that aren't always inexpensive but provide a lot of material to dream upon. Here are some offerings:
Abercrombie & Kent's "Africa & Egypt" looks more like an elegant magazine than a sales pitch. Prices range from $2,525 for a nine-night "Highlights of Egypt" tour to $8,455 for a 12-night "Best of South Africa" excursion. Air fare is extra. The company notes that it has its own travel offices around the world and provides a high level of service.
Call 800-554-7016 or visit www.abercrombiekent.com. Catalogs for most other parts of the world are also available.
Interhostel's University Learning Vacations, for those 50 and older, are sponsored by the University of New Hampshire and cohosted by educational institutions in the region you visit. The spring catalog highlights a tour of the British Isles and Norwegian fiords aboard Royal Caribbean's new Jewel of the Seas, complete with onboard lectures and land excursions. The trip, June 18-July 3, costs $5,295-$6,095 for the cruise and land package only. Other trips in the catalog begin at $695.
Call 800-733-9753 or visit www.learn.unh.edu/interhostel.
Golfpac goes where the courses are, in the United States and Europe. Trips include accommodations, guaranteed tee times, daily prepaid greens fees, a shared cart for 18 holes daily, and all sales and resort taxes. For example, a package at the Pinehurst Resort and Spa in Pinehurst, N.C., which also includes dinner and breakfast daily, begins at $225 a night.
Visit www.golfpactravel.com or call 800-327-0878.
Hideaways seeks to put you in lodging that is unique: a former prince's palace in Switzerland, a movie director's private resort in the mountains of Belize, a stateroom in a boutique cruise ship, or perhaps a private island resort off the Florida Keys. Depending upon the property, prices can range from less than $200 to more than $1,000 a night. A year's membership in Hideaways costs $145.
Visit www.hideaways.com or call 800-843-4433 or, in New Hampshire where the company is based, 603-430-4433.
Overseas Adventure Travel guarantees there will never be more than 24 people in your group. Among other changes for 2005, the Cambridge-based company has expanded its European canal barge itineraries, adding hotel stays of three or four nights. Example: A 12-day trip, including air fare, begins at $2,095 and sails through the heart of France's Burgundy region. It includes hotel stays of two nights in Dijon and one night in Paris.
Call 800-537-3850 or visit www.oattravel.com.
Globus has catalogs for many parts of the world, including our neighbor Mexico. Its nine-day Copper Canyon excursion begins at $1,849 a person, excluding air fare, and is a two-nation vacation, beginning in El Paso and ending in Tucson, with visits to Chihuahua, Creel, Divisadero, El Fuerte, and San Carlos, Mexico.
See a travel agent, call 866-755-8581, or visit www.globusjourneys.com.
Victor Emanuel Nature Tours takes travelers to see creatures great and small in all seven continents. Its Kenya Bird Safari, for instance, is limited to 12 people and has two tour leaders who find flamingos, weavers, ostriches, touracos, and many more species. They say it is not unusual to record more than 100 species in a day. The 2005 trip runs Oct. 25-Nov. 14, with the price to be announced. This year's trip (Oct. 26-Nov. 15) is listed at $7,195.
Call 800-328-VENT or visit www.ventbird.com.
New Vegas hotel The $100 million Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel opens Dec. 3, three months ahead of schedule, with an introductory rate of $129 a night through Dec. 30. The 548-room hotel is a half-mile from the Strip, next to a monorail station, and calls itself the largest nongaming hotel in Nevada.
Call 866-352-3434 or visit www.renaissancelasvegas.com.
For the disabledGo to www.unitedspinal.org to order the free booklet "Accessible Air Travel: A Guide for People With Disabilities." The booklet explains the Air Carrier Access Act and provides travel information for wheelchair users.
Cultural getawayThe Nathan Hale Inn, a full-service hotel in Storrs, Conn., has a two-night classical and cultural package starting at $197 a person, double occupancy. Included are a deluxe room, daily full American breakfast, one cocktail coupon per person for Abigail's Lounge at the inn, a voucher of $25 a person for the inn's Blue Oak Cafe, two tickets for a production at either the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, Connecticut Repertory Theater, or von der Mehden Recital Hall, and admission to The William Benton Museum of Art, the university's Contemporary Gallery, the Jorgensen Gallery, and the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry. The package, 25 percent off regular costs, is available Nov. 1-April 30.
Business-class savings Cheapflights.com has added discount business-class fares to its website, with domestic and international offerings from consolidators, specialists, other travel websites, and low-cost carriers.
For early skiers Some of us shiver at the thought, but ski season isn't that far away. The Village at Squaw Valley USA, in Olympic Valley, Calif., has an early-season ski package for $119 per person, good any day but holidays until Dec. 16. In addition to one night's stay in a one-bedroom condominium, guests will receive two lift tickets to Squaw Valley USA, which is just steps from the Village.
(The fine print: The rate is subject to change based on early-season lift-ticket rates. A two-night minimum stay is required.)
Visit www.thevillageatsquaw.com or call 866-818-6963.
Mystic package You don't have to leave New England to see exotic creatures. With the Mystic, Conn., Marriott's "Mystic Family Escape" package, a family of four receives admission to the Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, as well as tickets to Mystic Seaport (The Museum of America and the Sea), and overnight accommodations. The package, available year round, starts at $259 per night.
Call 866-449-7390 or visit www.mysticmarriott.com.