Doggone Alaska; Irish Spring

Sunday, December 29, 2002

• With Daman-Nelson Travel, experience the fur-flying thrills of the Iditarod race with an Alaska package costing $499 for land only -- though the company can tack on discount air to Anchorage. The per-person deal includes: five nights at the luxury Alyeska Prince Resort, where rooms start at $145 a night; orientation breakfast; three-day activity card, including snowshoeing or downhill or cross-country skiing; and day trip to Anchorage for the start of the race. For air, the company is currently citing $536 for a round-trip flight from Dulles, plus $72 for transfers. Depart Feb. 26; book as soon as possible, as space is limited. 800-343-2626, www.skirun.com.

• To celebrate the return of Aer Lingus to Baltimore, Sceptre Ireland is offering a trio of Emerald Isle packages starting at $599 -- and even better, you don't have to take connecting flights or go in the dead of winter. All packages include round-trip air from BWI to Shannon (flights usually start at around $500), six nights' accommodations, double; full breakfast and an Irish coffee welcome reception; and rental car. For $599, stay in a "city" hotel the first night and a choice of 450 rural farmhouses thereafter. For travelers who prefer to be closer to civilization, pay only $36 more for a choice of 3,000 village B&Bs with private baths. And for the royal treatment, pay $799 and spend the last night in a five-star castle, such as the Adare Manor, where rooms typically go for $375 a night. Travel midweek, April 1-May 31; book by Jan. 13. About $69 in taxes extra. 800-221-0924, www.sceptreireland.com.

-- Andrea Sachs

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