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Scandinavia's always been an expensive region to travel in, and the weak dollar hasn't made it any cheaper. Enter the Skanplus hotel pass. Skanplus is a discount scheme covering more than 170 hotels in Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and Finland, and a few in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands.
With the 60th anniversary commemoration of the Normandy invasion now past, we can look to less-serious reasons to visit the continent. Today, we've got two nifty deals that put you in some affordable digs in almost any country; one includes airfare no less, and all are budget friendly.
You'll find it possible to see a civilization where the majority still live close to the earth, bound to till the land as did their ancestors. And four-legged transport of all kinds (camels, elephants, donkeys, horses and more) still carry the load for much of the nation's daily commerce. Best of all, the color, the odors of spices and plants, and the noises make India a special place to visit.
Apparently, Cathay Pacific had great success with their super-low April fare to Bali, because they're duplicating the deal this month. The fare is simple, and great: $599 (plus $80 or so tax) from LA, San Francisco or New York to Denpasar, Bali. We expect this fare will sell out very quickly, so book it now if you can.
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Reader's Voice
From Jane B.: "Sometimes you can find a real gem at price that doesn't bust the bank. My vote for all time favorite budget hotel is La Quinta/Airport in Salt Lake City ($45/2003). The room was huge and beautiful, nicer than home! I didn't want to leave. The complimentary breakfast had fresh fruit, juices, cereals, hot and cold dishes. Two other contenders, due to location, are the oceanfront Atlantic Motel in Wells Beach, ME and the Anchor Inn in Hyannis. Both are small, family run motels that offer all of the basics at a fair price. Unfortunately, that price has gone up in the past few years, but I'll mention them anyway."
From Amanda Robinette: "Hi, We are planning a weekend getaway over the 4th of July. We've only lived in Philly about a year and don't know the good getaways, but would prefer something "country" right now. The Poconos come to mind, but we are very open to other options since they seem expensive. Any knowledge of the Poconos (good inexpensive lodging, things to see and do) or of other outdoorsy/small town type places would be appreciated."
From Carcassone France: "As I'm looking for last minute deals to Europe, I just realize that my kids' passports will expire in Oct. I was thinking about France which does not require a visa for US nationals. Will it be OK? I don't want to pay the expedite fees since I don't have everything lined up. Has anyone out there travelled with an almost expired passport?"
From wildreddeb: "What tourist site, community event or festival should we not miss in Australia, Tasmania, & New Zealand? We will be here in Melbourne for the 3 years."
From yoamogreg: "I am a native Oaklander and I get frustrated with the poor reviews given of my city by the bay. Oakland has beautiful hills filled with majestic redwood trees and miles of biking and hiking trees that one could traverse for miles and forget there was a freeway close by. Not to mention Chabot Space and Science Center. It has been remodeled and the site offers one of the most panoramic view of the East Bay anywhere. Give Oakland a little more credit than what is reviewed. You won't be disappointed."

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