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It happens all the time: you see a great deal, a terrific deal, an impossible deal. But it's from Joe Schmo Travel, which you've never heard of. How can you figure out whether Joe is a pro, or whether he's just a schmo -- and you're getting ripped off?
To reinforce its ghostly image, the commonwealth infamous for the Salem Witch Trials is dragging some old skeletons out of the closet and rattling a few chains again this fall featuring travel specials on or about Halloween. With a few weeks to go, here are some highlights you might want to consider.
In many cities your travel experience will be richer and finer, if you stay in neighborhoods just off-center.
It's coming soon, the fall and winter travel discount season for Spain, where British old age pensioners instigated the first "cheaper there than at home" extended vacations. You needn't be interested in staying for three months, or even one month, in order to enjoy the quiet plazas, half-empty restaurants and deserted churches these seasons provide, however. We've rounded up plenty of shorter- term packages at jolly good prices.
Hotel junkies are well aware that many establishments are not just places you sleep -- some of them have witnessed extraordinary events, hosted famous people and, through the years, developed unique atmospheres that alone make a stay necessary. Thanks to the "The National Trust Historic Hotels of America" many famous hotels have been meticulously preserved and opened to the historically inclined. If you're one of them, here's a sampling of current offers.
If a tree falls in the forest but the excursion to see it is sold out, does it really fall? Who knows, but to help assure that that doesn't happen, cruise lines are offering prebooking and pre-reserve programs for decisive passengers. But how do you choose which excursion to do? Read here for the answers, Grasshopper...
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Reader's Voice
From JulieDelgrosso: "We're planning to take one of those great deals to London in March. Has anyone had any experience with Off Peak Traveler, Go-Today or Virgin Vacations for this package? They are all pretty much the same to look at so I'd appreciate any help you could provide. Thanks!"
From Brenda Landgrover: "Has anyone used Marnella Tours on the trip to Lima-Cusco-Machu Picchu? How would you rate them? Also, what can be expected from flying with Aero Continente from Miami to Lima? We are planning to go in November."
From Wendy Chennault: "Hi! I just came back and I have lots of tips! Please learn from my mistakes!"
From Sylvia Selverston: "I'm a grandma who likes to travel and am thinking about a trip to Spain in October. I'm wondering about joining a tour or traveling on my own. Any thoughts would be welcome. Auto Club suggests Brendan tours but I know nothing about them."
From Craig Ellerbrock: "My 15-year old son and I just visited Williamsburg. Because our time there was short, I engaged John Sutton of Williamsburg Private Tours to lead us on a personalized 5-hour tour of Williamsburg and Yorktown. John was able to customize our tour to our desires and time frame, and he was more that generous with his time."

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