A chance to break the theme-park habit

TRAVEL SMARTS

Tour packages cater to families who want an enriching experience

October 20, 2002

Many package tours are geared to seniors or the 18-to-35 crowd. Now, a company known for catering to senior travelers plans to offer a series of packages for family travel, designed primarily for parents with school-age children.

Tauck World Discovery has launched Tauck Bridges, a subsidiary that will start with a dozen itineraries next summer, six in the United States and six overseas. Destination themes include the American West; Hawaii; Alaska; Williamsburg, Va., and Washington; heli-hiking in the Canadian Rockies; Costa Rica; London and Paris; Italy; France; and Kenya and Tanzania. Each U.S. itinerary includes at least one national park.

The packages will include airfare, lodging, meals, admissions and activities, and will be offered during the summer vacation months. Tauck, based in Westport, Conn., ran a pilot family program whose success led to this effort.

"Families traveling with Tauck have increased by more than 20 percent over the past three years, and we saw the need to cater to this growing trend for enriching family travel," Robin Tauck, president of Tauck World Discovery, said in a news release.

Tauck plans to promote the packages as a better way for families to bond and share learning adventures than taking a theme-park vacation. Prices for the weeklong trips start at $1,780 per person, double occupancy, with discounts of up to $1,000 for children.

Brochures for the packages are available by calling 866-636-6500. Descriptions of the trips can also be found online at www.tauckbridges.com.

VIETNAM MEMORIAL MARKING 20 YEARS

The 20th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington will be marked Nov. 6-11 with a series of events, including a musical tribute, reading of the 58,229 names inscribed on the wall and the annual Veterans Day service Nov. 11.

On Nov. 6, 16 hours of musical performances will begin at 8 a.m. near the wall on the Reflecting Pool steps at the Lincoln Memorial.

The reading of the names occurs over four days starting at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 7. The sponsor of the observances, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, was seeking about 1,000 volunteers to help read the names. The group said this would be only the third time that all the names have been read aloud.

The Nov. 11 ceremony, set to begin at 1 p.m., is expected to attract more than 20,000 Vietnam veterans and their families. President Bush has been invited to give the keynote address. Among guests will be the wall's architect, Maya Lin.

For details, call the fund at 202-393-0090, or visit the Web site www.vvmf.org.

Halloween done right, in Salem

The city of Salem, Mass., celebrates Halloween with more vigor than most places, and its month-long Haunted Happen-ings series is now in full swing in the area where witch trials took place in 1692. In its 22nd year, the observance includes haunted houses, children's events, costume parades, ghost stories, gravestone rubbings, candlelight tours and live music. For details, check the Web site at www. hauntedhappenings.org or call 877-725-3662.

-- From wire reports

Plane crashes: Statistics show most survive

No one wants to think of an airliner crash, much less be in one.

But it turns out that despite our fears of certain death, the majority of crash victims do survive.

Some 82.2 percent of airline fliers do not think any crash can be survived, a poll by Noll Research of Mentor, Ohio, found.

In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board has reported, 78 percent of airliner crashes can be survived. The reason, the safety board said, is that most accidents happen during takeoff or landing, when the speed and impact are more likely to injure than kill.

Now don't you feel better?

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