Budget adventure travelIf you have a sense of adventure and don’t mind camping or staying in hostels or cabins, consider a trip with Budget Expeditions, a company that organizes expeditions aimed at 18- to 35-year- olds.

The company recently added Africa to its list of 2008 destinations. As an introductory offer, it is taking 15 percent off the price for those who sign up before Oct. 31 via the Internet.

For example, if you’ve always wanted to see rare mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, you can join the 16-day Mountain Gorilla Expedition. The trip includes Nairobi, Kenya, and its game parks; Uganda and the “QE2” game park; a trek into the Virunga Mountains to watch the gorillas; and visits to Kigali, Rwanda and Lake Bunyoni, the deepest crater lake in Africa.

The cost is $760 for the tour and $190 for a nonprofit local fund per person. It includes the services of a tour guide and driver, transportation by a custom-built expedition vehicle, accommodations in tents and hostels, most meals and all camping and cooking equipment.

If Africa is too exotic, there is also the 14-day Essential Europe trip. If you sign up before July 31, the company will take 15 percent off the price.

The trip visits the major highlights of France, Switzerland, Italy, Vatican City, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. The cost is $840 (plus 370 euros local fund) and includes camping accommodations (or cabin upgrade), services of a tour guide and driver, transportation on air-conditioned buses, service of an onboard cook, meals, camping equipment and cooking utensils.

Find details at

Christmas market cruisesIt might seem a bit early for Christmas plans, but if you’d like to avoid the hassle of land transportation on your travels during the holiday season, try a Christmas market river cruise instead. EuroRiver Cruises has several options.

For example, the five-day Danube River cruise visits the cities and markets of Vienna, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; and Bratislava, Slovakia. The cost per person (double occupancy) is $707 for a lower deck, $751 for a middle and $771 for an upper deck. It includes cruise accommodations, meals and two onboard parties. Departures are Dec. 9, 13 and 17.

Other holiday season cruises include a six-day Christmas cruise from Vienna to Nuremburg; a seven-day, round-trip New Year’s Eve cruise from Passau via Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava and Wachau, Austria; and seven- and eight-day Christmas market cruises.

The company also offers year- round cruises on other rivers, such as the Rhine, Moselle, Rhone, Seine, Douro, Guadalquivir, Po and Tisza. Other trips travel the Dutch waterways and Venetian Lagoon. Find details at

Hostel informationIf you prefer hostels for travel accommodation, check out The site lists property details and reservation services for hostels around the world, including ratings from travelers who have stayed in them.

It also offers tours in major destinations that can be booked in advance, ranging from a three-hour wander through Amsterdam’s Red Light District to a five-day cruise from Olympos to Fethiye, Turkey.

The site also has the latest in travel news, from free pocket guides to tips on contacting other travelers.

Best Bets DENMARK: Meet up with the Vikings at this weekend’s annual Viking Moot on Moesgård Beach in Aarhus. Originally a festival day during which Vikings from all over the region would gather, this modern-day version re-creates the early days. The largest such event in Scandinavia offers a crafts market, shows with fighting warriors on foot and on Icelandic horses twice daily, Viking food, entertainment and skills such as archery for visitors. The moot is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission to the moot and museum is 45 Danish kroner (about $8.30) for adults, 35 kroner for children. Details at

ENGLAND: Scarborough Castle returns to the World War II years this weekend for the Wartime Weekend Spectacular re-enactment. On the program are demonstrations of uniformed soldiers practicing field tactics, a military vehicle display and children’s activities. In the sky, authentic Spitfires battle it out in the day’s finale. Both days begin at 11 a.m. The cost is 5.50 pounds (about $11) for adults, 3.50 pounds for children. Check conEvent.1187 for details.

IRELAND: Fans of poet W.B. Yeats can indulge in the literary atmosphere of the Yeats Festival in Sligo, beginning Saturday and continuing through Aug. 10. On the program are poetry readings, concerts by musicians such as harpist Mary O’Hara and World Music group Dervish, Irish dancing, a drama workshop, art shows and lectures, all on or inspired by Yeats’ work. Get the schedule at sligofestival.html.

WALES: Originally a Roman auxiliary fort, Caerphilly’s castle is the scene of a grand historical festival this weekend. Included in the program are interactive re-enactment displays and encampments from periods in the country’s history, stalls selling Welsh crafts, a falconry show, fire eaters and troubadours, a food hall and carnival rides.

Admission is free. Details at

— Jayne Traendly

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