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Last Call for Valentine's Day Travel Deals

January 30, 2004 -- It's never too late to say "I love you," a phrase that purveyors of Valentine's Day travel don't want you to forget, so take some time to look at a few more samples of the marvelous deals out there, from inexpensive to fancy-priced. And you don't absolutely have to travel by February 14 if you prefer warmer weather. You can plan and gift the vacation now, but go later, when Spring is here and the weather is more temperate.

Consider these trips to Rome or Florence valid through March 31 Splendida Italia, a subsidiary of Picasso Travel, is offering a four-night package to either city at prices from New York or Newark beginning at $429 per person, double occupancy, or a six-night package to both places beginning at $599 per person. The single-city package to either Rome or Florence includes roundtrip airfare, four nights at a centrally-located three-star hotel, and daily breakfast. The two-city deal includes airfare, six nights at three-star hotels (three nights in Rome and three in Florence), daily breakfast and a one-way intercity train ticket between Rome and Florence.

The cost varies depending on the US departure city, and you can upgrade to four-star hotels ($100 extra for a city package, $160 for the two-city package). Add-ons for other gateways include: $50 from Boston or Philadelphia; $75 from Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, D.C.; $100 from Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis and Phoenix; $125 from Denver, Los Angeles and Seattle; $150 from San Francisco and Portland OR. For more details, go to or phone 800/995-7997.

USA Deluxe

Many major hotels around the nation are planning special dinners and packages for those who can't take time off for a trip to Europe. One such example is the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle, which has a "Falling in Love with Fairmont" package available February 13-15. For $304 per night, you get a deluxe room, a bottle of sparkling wine and some chocolate truffles on arrival, continental breakfast for two served in bed, late checkout and free valet parking. If you want a Valentine's Day dinner for two in the hotel's Georgian Restaurant, add $150 for a dinner package available February 13 and 14 only. Contact them at 800/223-8772 or 206/621-1700;

Give the Gift of Later Travel

Buy now, boat it later, is what wants you to do, with a French Burgundy Canal Barge Cruise, starting in Paris and running between April 21 and June 10 from $2,339 per person if you purchase by March 15. Departures from June 10 on are higher. The deal, more highly priced than most else the firm has to offer, includes roundtrip airfare, hotel and barge accommodations, daily breakfast, meals and drinks on the barge, sightseeing, and more. While many inexpensive Go-Today packages offer only airfare and lodging (with breakfast), this program includes three nights at the Louvre St. Romain Hotel, six nights on the barge, open bar on the barge, daily sightseeing excursions by private bus (taking in the western part of Burgundy, the Chablis wine region, magnificent Vezelay, and beautiful Auxerre), all entrance fees and wine tasting, all transfers, and the amenities mentioned earlier. As nice as this is, you can upgrade your hotel in Paris for an additional fee. Check it out at