Intrepid Travel tantalizes with far-flung Expeditions

Intrepid Travel's Expedition Djibouti tour includes getting close to whale sharks during a snorkeling adventure.
Intrepid Travel’s Expedition Djibouti tour includes getting close to whale sharks during a snorkeling adventure.
(Intrepid Travel)
Chicago Tribune

Veteran travelers tired of same-old, same-old destinations and itineraries will want to take a look at the Expeditions series of adventures offered by Intrepid Travel. The 12 new trips offered for 2016-2017 have limited departures and span the spectrum, from running a marathon on the Great Wall of China to heading into the mountain passes of Ladakh, India, in search of snow leopards. For a country that’s not on many travelers’ bucket lists, there’s Expedition Djibouti — Footsteps of the Afar. This is a 13-day/12-night exploration of the tiny country in northeast Africa and includes snorkeling with whale sharks, a hike in Day Forest National Park and a camel trek to Lake Assal, the lowest point on land in the African continent. The trip is scheduled for November and priced from $3,255 per person, double occupancy. International air is extra. You can browse all of the Expeditions at

Hottest hotel guests?

Time for another “best of” list, so you can either say, “What were they thinking?” or “Attaboy.” The list this time around is’s annual Best of the Best Hotel Awards. It compiles this by sending a list of categories to more than 200 travel correspondents around the world, adding some suggestions from the Jetsetter office and then making selections. There are 20 categories, and they range from the useful, such as Best Big City Sleep (Cotton House Hotel, Autograph Collection, Barcelona, Spain) to the frivolous, such as Best Looking Guests (Soho House Istanbul). European hotels dominated, with six, while the U.S. had five and the Caribbean, four. See what you think at

Holidays on the merry Mississippi


If “rollin’ on the river” sounds like a good way to celebrate the holidays, the American Queen Steamboat Co. has you covered. The company’s American Queen paddle-wheel riverboat will be traveling the lower Mississippi River from November through the end of the year with itineraries featuring holiday-themed events. Cruises will be between New Orleans and Memphis, Tenn., with the embarkation point alternating. All itineraries include some hotel days and will explore towns such as St. Francisville, La.; Natchez and Vicksburg, Miss.; and Helena, Ark. The Nov. 20 cruise will include a gala Thanksgiving dinner, while Dec. 4, 11 and 18 sailings will visit Christmas markets, have onboard holiday entertainment and be serenaded by carolers in some towns. The Dec. 25 itinerary, which starts with a hotel stay in Memphis, will include a New Year’s Eve gala aboard the Queen. Reduced prices are being offered for bookings before Sept. 1, with payment in full required. Info: 888-749-5280,

Phil Marty is a freelance reporter.


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