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Women's itineraries from Fès to Sicily to Seattle

The bird's-eye view of San Francisco, and beyond. The bird's-eye view of San Francisco, and beyond. (DOMINIC CHAVEZ/GLOBE STAFF)
Email|Print| Text size + By Richard P. Carpenter
Globe Correspondent / January 6, 2008

There is a new twist to women's travel. According to a survey of American Express travel agents, not only is the trend of women vacationing together increasing, but the trips are becoming, longer, more luxurious, and more active. A sampling:

The Women's Adventure Program at Country Walkers features several trips for 2008, including Morocco: From Fès to Marrakesh, April 19-30. Mosques, souks, mountains, valleys, and pink-sand dunes await walkers, who stay in accommodations ranging from a palace to a tented campsite. The cost is $4,448, with guides, all meals, and transportation during the trip included. To avoid paying a supplement, solo travelers can ask for a roommate; if none is available, the supplement is waived. In addition, the company's Women Giving Back program contributes financially to worthy local initiatives.

Visit countrywalkers.com and click on Women's Adventures or call 800-464-9255.

Massachusetts based Serendipity Traveler is touring San Francisco and the California coast Jan. 19-25. After seeing the sights and sounds of the city by the bay, travelers will head for the wine country of Napa and Sonoma counties for tastings. The journey continues along the Pacific Coast Highway, stopping in Monterey before spending a few days in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Included are luxury accommodations, continental breakfasts, some lunches and dinners, guide services, admissions, land transportation (but not airfare), tips, and hotel taxes. The cost is $2,195. A similar June trip is planned, with the dates and price to be announced.

Visit serendipitytraveler.com or call 800-975-2357.

Women inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love" can follow in her footsteps on a trip through Italy with Gutsy Women Travel. One of at least five such small-group trips being offered is the nine-day Tastes of Sicily, March 8-16. Groups will explore Sicily and visit historic Palermo, the ancient cities of Cefalù, Etna, and Catania, and the coastal city of Taormina. Airfare, accommodations, guide services, and 16 meals are included. The price begins at $3,499, or $2,739 land only.

Visit www.gutsywomentravel.com or call 866-IM-GUTSY (464-8879).

Women Traveling Together, which has been in business for more than a decade, has posted its 2008 calendar, and already some trips are fully booked and others have just two or three spaces left. Lots of space is still available on several trips, however, including Seattle & the San Juan Islands, Aug. 17-23. After exploring Seattle, a ferry takes travelers to the San Juan Islands (part of the San Juan Archipelago in the northwest corner of the continental United States) with their unique ecosystem that includes orca whales and sea lions. The cost is $1,830 for members (annual membership is $45) or $1,905 for nonmembers. Included are six breakfasts, two lunches, and two dinners.

Visit women-traveling.com or call 800-795-7135.

Women on safari are more than welcome at the Djuma Game Reserve, a state-owned park in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve that borders South Africa's Kruger National Park. With the highest density of lions and leopards in Africa, Djuma offers wildlife viewing and photo-snapping from open-air safari vehicles, as well as bush walks and nighttime relaxation by an open-air fire. Safari vacations, available year round, start at $360 per person per night.

Visit www.djuma.com.

The Offshore Sailing School is planning a Women's Sail-Spa Escape Week Aug. 3-9 at Pink Shell Beach Resort & Spa in Fort Myers Beach, Fla. Included are the school's Learn to Sail course with certification, six nights for the price of five at the resort, six hours of seminars, 14 hours of on-water instruction, a practice sail without the instructor, a certificate for up to three spa packages at the on-site Aquagëne Spa, a welcome reception, a healthful dinner gathering, a graduation dinner, a women's sailing guidebook, and a T-shirt and hat. Prices start at $1,965.

Visit offshoresailing.com or call 800-221-4326.

Let us not forget the more traditional getaways like the two-night Girlfriends' Celebration Package at The Osthoff Resort at Elkhart Lake, Wis. It begins with a champagne toast and chocolate, followed by a treatment at the Aspira Spa. The next morning, it's off to a culinary school to learn to cook French classics. The package is available for Sunday-Wednesday check-in and accommodations are in a two-bedroom suite. Also included are two breakfasts, $125 a person in spa credits, the cooking class, and unlimited use of resort amenities, including exercise room, pools, saunas, and whirlpools. Through April, the price is $199 a person per night, with the third person in a room paying $146 and the fourth person $137. May-October rates are $247, $179, and $164 respectively.

Visit osthoff.com or call 800-876-3399.

Okemo says thanks

Throughout this month, Vermont's Okemo ski resort is offering a tribute to US military veterans, police officers, firefighters, and ambulance personnel every Tuesday and Thursday. When they show an identification card or badge and a photo ID at the Mountain Services Center in the Okemo Clock Tower or Jackson Gore base areas, they will get 50 percent off the price of a full-day, full-price adult lift ticket. All season long, military personnel who show active-duty identification get half off the price of full-day adult lift tickets Monday through Friday, except holidays. They also receive $15 off full-day adult lift tickets on weekends and holidays.

Visit okemo.com and click on Rates & Rentals, then Steals & Deals.

$179 NYC hotel rate

Through March 15, the Salisbury Hotel in midtown Manhattan has A Winter in New York nightly rate of $179 Sunday-Wednesday and $199 Thursday-Saturday for a standard double room.

Visit nycsalisbury.com and click on Special Offers or call 888-NYC-5757 (888-692-5757) and mention winter rate promotions.

Spectacular scavenging

If you have an adventurous spirit and $9,900 to spare, consider the fourth annual Global Scavenger Hunt, April 11-May 3. Fifty travelers, in 25 teams of two, will compete in this competition and charity event, with members of the winning team being awarded the trademarked title of The World's Greatest Travelers. In this highly indirect journey from Los Angeles to New York, teams will conduct cultural-oriented scavenges in at least 10 nations on four continents, as well as meditating with monks, training like a ninja, taking flamenco lessons, learning yoga, learning Asian cooking, riding elephants, and decoding local languages to unravel clues.

Visit globalscavengerhunt.com or call 310-281-7809.

When not included, hotel taxes, airport fees, and port charges can add significantly to the price of a trip. Most prices quoted are for double occupancy; solo travelers will usually pay more. Offers are subject to availability and there may be blackout dates. Richard P. Carpenter can be reached at carpenter@globe.com.

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