Tours & cruises

Beat D.C.'s summer heat -- and high prices -- by booking the Hotel Monticello's elegant Summer Promotion Package, which takes you around our nation's capital with grace and ease, then lays you down to sleep on a sumptuous pillow-top bed in Georgetown. Hot tip: Ask a guest-service agent if you can borrow a memory-card-equipped digital camera; it's free to use.

Dates: Through summer.

Price: $299 per night, including two tour-bus tickets, two all-day Metro passes (for weekend stays), cold treats from a local ice creamery, Starbucks coffee (take it iced), breakfast and Wi-Fi.


A capital experience

Info: Hotel Monticello, Washington, D.C.; (800) 388-2410, hotels/monticello.


Art, beauty, food

Get close during Dooley Vacations' Romantic Florence Fling City Break, an inclusive four-night getaway in Tuscany's capital. Get swept up in Michelangelo's David, the Piazza Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery; punctuate your days with some of the world's most enjoyable cuisine.

Dates: Select travel dates between Nov. 1 and March 7; see website for specifics.

Price: From $599 (double), including round-trip airfare from New York City or Newark, N.J. (other cities are available at higher rates); four nights at Hotel Meridiana and daily breakfast.

Info: Dooley Vacations, Lynbrook, N.Y.; (877) 331-9301,


Laden with history

Delve into an exotic country's tumultuous past and dynamic present during Friendly Planet Travel's eight-day

Taste of Vietnam tour, enhanced with history-laden guidance from English-speaking locals who are licensed

guides. They'll lead you to the Museum of Ethnology and Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the Hanoi Hilton, among other places.

Itinerary: Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) to Hanoi.

Dates: Oct. 6 to 14; other dates are available at higher prices.

Price: Starting at $1,099, including round-trip airfare from Los Angeles, all ground transfers, all intra-Vietnam flights, six nights in hotels, daily breakfast, all entrance fees and guided sightseeing tours. Additional tours are available at extra cost and can include the Mekong Delta, Halong Bay or the Viet Cong's Cu Chi Tunnels.

Info: Friendly Planet Travel, Jenkintown, Pa.; (800) 555-5765,


Safari boots on the ground

Explore Zambia's deep wilderness on Absolute Travel's nine-day Zambian Amble, a private walking safari on which travelers hike to hidden bush camps.

Itinerary: Itineraries can be customized but might include Nkwali, Chindeni Camp, Kapamba Camp, Chongwe River Camp in the South Luangwa, Kapamba River and Lower Zambezi regions. Seeing Victoria Falls is recommended.

Dates: Departure dates are flexible and ongoing.

Price: From $6,800 (double; a minimum of two travelers must participate), including camp stays and the guidance of an experienced naturalist and game scout, as well as intra-Zambia flights.

Info: Absolute Travel, New York, N.Y.; (800) 736-8187,

-- Avital Binshtock

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