Travel Weeklys Europe E-letter: Sept. 29, 2004

MIDNIGHT TRAINS: Rail Europe and DER are offering savings of up to 50% over full fares on Elipsos overnight trains between Spain and France, Italy or Switzerland that are booked at least 14 days in advance. Elipsos runs between Madrid and Paris, and also between Barcelona and Paris, Zurich and Milan, with three classes of service: Gran -- which includes private bathroom and shower, as well as dinner and breakfast -- Club and Tourist. New one-way value fares, identical on all routes, are available through June 15 for doubles in Gran, at $174; Club, at $124; or Tourist, at $74, class; value fares are 50% refundable and exchangeable up to three days before travel. Agent pay is 5% to 7%, depending on method of booking. To book, contact Rail Europe at or (888) 382-7245, DER at or (800) 782-2424.

GREAT SCOTS: VisitScotland will woo the estimated 11 million Americans of Scottish heritage with a new tourism promotion to launch in October, which is Family History Month. According to tourism officials, one of every five U.S. visitors to Scotland already visits to research family roots. The tourism effort is said to include the debut of a new Web site, an aggressive public relations campaign, the creation of hotel and tour packages and, of course, advertising. The site,, will launch Oct. 1 and feature travel itineraries themed around the history, castles and sites of seven of the most famous Scottish clans -- Morrison, Gordon, MacDonald, Mackenzie, Scott, Wallace and Sinclair -- as well as genealogy links, resources and tips.

NOT HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Several operators to the Czech Republic are offering Thanksgiving packages to Prague for the holiday-phobic:
" Czech Vacations peddles a $489 stay, valid Nov. 1 to Dec. 12 when purchased by Oct. 29, that includes air to and from New York, three nights in a three-star hotel, private transfers and a half-day city tour; seven nights are available from $529. Call (800) 321-2999 or visit
" For its part, Gate 1 has a four-night -- Nov. 23 to 28 -- independent package for $399 per person, with air fare from New York, accommodations and arrival transfers; contact (800) 682-3333 or
" Summit International Travel offers Thanksgiving in Prague from Nov. 19 to 26 starting at $725 per person, including air fare from New York, accommodations, private transfers, city tour, half-day excursion to Karlstejn Castle and a Czech brewery dinner with unlimited beer. Call (800) 527-8664 or visit

LAST-MINUTE DEAL: Destination Europe, Auto Europes package division, offers fall and winter fly-and-drive packages to 200 European cities, starting from $249 per person from Boston to London. Agents earn a minimum 10% commission on packages, which include roundtrip economy air fare; three-day economy, manual-transmission car rental with time and mileage; and a free cell phone. Other options, as well as upgrades and add-ons, are available. Tickets must be issued by Sept. 30. Contact Auto Europe at (800) 223-5555 or

MORE PARADORS: Spain will add 10 properties to its network of paradors, or historic inns and hotels, by the end of next year. Three accommodations outlets -- each housed in a former monastery -- opened this year, while seven more such hostelries are set to join up in 2005. Rates at the newest paradors -- the four-star Parador de Limpias in Cantabria; the five-star Parador de Leon Hostal de San Marcos in Leon; and the four-star Parador de Santo Estevo in Noguiera de Ramuin, Galicia -- range from $117 to $175 per room, per night. The expansion of the state-run parador system will result in a 12% jump in capacity, according to tourism officials. Contact Marketing Ahead -which pays U.S. agents 8% on bookings -- at (800) 223-1356 or


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