Let the Web plan your trip

From the ever-changing world of Internet travel: A new website allows searches by price instead of by date, and a pioneering website has added vacation packages to its mix.

FareFacts, launched Tuesday at http://www.farefacts.com . When you enter a destination, it returns a list of fares from which you may choose after you click on "Check the facts." This lists, among other details, blackout dates for those fares.

"People are finding that the lowest fare isn't always the best value," said Chief Executive Terry Trippler. Meanwhile, Sidestep, one of the first sites to use the technology that allows it to search other websites for prices, has launched a new vacation package finder.

At http://www.sidestep.com , you'll find a "Vacations" button. Choose where you want to go and the service will come back with packages from Pleasant Holidays, National Leisure and Orbitz.

Sidestep is planning to add more companies, said Phil Carpenter, vice president for corporate marketing.

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Legoland's new wild sideLegoland California, the Carlsbad theme park known for such gentle pastimes as strolling through clever constructions of the trademarked toy bricks, is going ballistic.

On Thursday, it will debut a ride called Knights' Tournament, in which 15-foot-long robotic arms will toss seated thrill-seekers back and forth and topsy-turvy. It's patterned after a ride in Legoland Deutschland near Gunzburg, Germany.

Riders will choose the ride's intensity, from Level 1, with fairly tame motions, to Level 5, "where you spend a lot of time upside down," said park spokeswoman Julie Estrada.

Legoland, which is up for sale along with three other parks owned by Denmark's Lego Co., spent most of its $6 million capital investment budget this year on Knights' Tournament, Estrada said.

Park admission is $44.95 for adults and $37.95 for ages 3 to 12. Hours vary.

Information: (760) 918-5346, http://www.legoland.com .

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Missing out on vacationJust can't get any time off these days? Think about moving to Canada or Europe.

Employed adults in the U.S. this year will earn about 12 vacation days, which is fewer than their counterparts in Canada, Britain, France, Germany or the Netherlands, according to an online survey in the six nations.

The French, averaging 39 days, will earn the most.

Worse, nearly a third of Americans usually don't take all the vacation time they earn, according to the survey, commissioned by Internet travel seller Expedia.com and conducted in April by Harris Interactive.

That was more than any nationality except the Dutch, 42% of whom give up days.

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Scenic train back on trackThe Skunk Train, plying a scenic route through redwoods in Northern California, will begin making full 45-mile runs for the first time in two years.

The train, which went out of business in 2003, is now operated by Sierra Entertainment in Oakdale, Calif. It has run 10- and 20-mile trips for a year.

Starting Saturday, it will run five days a week between Fort Bragg on the coast and Willits to the east. Those four-hour round trips cost $60 per adult.

Various shorter trips will also be offered.

Information: (866) 457-5865, http://www.skunktrain.com .

— Times staff

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