Is it too early to start planning next year’s vacation? Not according to Globus. The travel company is discounting its 2013 Europe and North America tours by 10 per cent when booked (and paid in full) at least nine months in advance, plus prices are guaranteed against any fuel or currency fluctuation surcharges. Economy class air fare to Europe can be guaranteed as well, taxes not included. New tours for 2013 include the 13-day Northern Italy’s Highlights & Cinque Terre with Lake Maggiore, with an itinerary that reads more like a menu, with a Parmesan cheese tasting in Soragna, a Balsamic vinegar tasting in Modena, a risotto lunch in Vercelli and a wine tasting and visit to the local nougat confectioner in Asti. Prices start at $3,249 per person with nights in Milan, Parma, Lucca, Santa Margherita Ligure, Turin and Lake Maggiore. Another new tour, the nine-day European Highlights from London to Rome, includes nights in Paris, Lucerne, Milan and Venice (and London and Rome) for a lead-in rate of $2,369 per person. All prices are land only. See globusjourneys.ca.
FALL COLOUR BY TRAIN
Rail Travel Tours’ Superior Colours & Heritage Rail Tour has fall colour and potentially moose and bear sightings on a five-day journey round trip from Toronto’s Union Station. Running Sept. 27 – Oct. 1, the tour starts with a day-long jaunt on the Ontario Northland train the Northlander, up through the Muskoka region to Temagami. There’s a two night hotel stay in Sudbury (with a visit to the Northern Ontario Railway Museum and Dynamic Earth), then it’s on to White River on board VIA’s Rail’s Lake Superior region route. Travelling back east to Sudbury, the train winds its way along Lake Windermere and the Chapleau Crown Game Preserve. A stop in North Bay includes a visit to the Dionne Quintuplets Museum. The price tag for the trip leads in at $895 per person plus HST, double occupancy, with a $200 single supplement for solo passengers. The ONR’s Dream Catcher Express (from the Muskoka region to Temagami) isn’t running this fall, so this is the only organized rail tour taking in this part of Ontario, says Rail Travel Tours’ Daryl Adair. See railtraveltours.com.
SAVE ON STOWE
Best known for its skiing, Stowe, Vermont is a great summer destination too, with everything from hiking to golf and swimming in the cool clear streams of the Green Mountains. At Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, guests can save between 15 and 25 per cent off their room rates, by booking 15 – 60 days in advance. Pre-discount rates start at $199 (U.S.) per room, per night and include free parking and complimentary afternoon tea and cookies. Be sure to save some room for some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, the price of Vermont. See stoweflake.com.
BEST BUY OF THE WEEK
Book your Sunquest winter getaway by July 31 and you’ll receive one $50 Sunquest Visa pre-paid card per person, to a maximum of two cards ($100 total) per booking, to be used anywhere Visa is accepted. Travel must be taken Nov. 1, 2012 – April 30, 2013 to qualify. See sunquest.ca.
is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Prices quoted are subject to change and availability.
PICKS OF THE WEEK
Sunquest: Puerto Plata, air & hotel, $449 (+$374 taxes & fees) (Aug. 3). sunquest.ca
Air Canada Vacations: Six-night Madrid & Barcelona, air & hotel, $1,149 (+$502 taxes & fees) (Aug. 21). aircanadavacations.com
Nolitours: Varadero, air & hotel, $417 (+$276 taxes & fees) (July 26). nolitours.com
Signature Vacations: St. Maarten, air & hotel, $695 (+$320 taxes & fees) (Nov. 8). signaturevacations.com
Transat Holidays: Porto, air & hotel, $1,099 (+$395 taxes & fees) (Aug. 22). transatholidays.com
Hola Sun Holidays: Cayo Santa Maria, air & hotel, $498 (+$274 taxes & fees) (July 27). holasunholidays.ca
Bel Air Travel: London (air only), $399 (+$580 taxes & fees) (July 29). belairtravel.com
Sunwing Vacations: Three-night Nassau, air & hotel, $395 (+$330 taxes & fees) (Sept. 9). sunwing.ca
Sell Off Vacations: Paris, air & hotel, $889 (+$526 taxes & fees) (Aug. 16). selloffvacations.com
itravel2000: Five-night Miami, air & hotel, $429 (+$152 taxes & fees) (Aug. 9). itravel2000.com
WestJet Vacations: Anaheim, air & hotel, $879 (+$188 taxes) (Aug. 31). westjetvacations.com
Tour East Holidays: 10-night Singapore & Bali, air, hotel, transfers, meals, tours, $2,850 (+$470 taxes & fees) (through Dec. 31). toureast.com