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SPECIALTY TRAVEL

For a Custom-Tailored Trip, Whatever Your Niche

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

You're out to conquer the world, one vacation at a time. And to help you along the way, we scoped out niche resources covering 10 popular travel categories, from dietary (vegan tours to Italy, anyone? Anyone?) to pet-friendly (including info on pet sitters). Here are umbrella organizations, travel agents, Web sites and phone numbers to help you plan the Next Great Trip.

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African American

* Pathfinders Travel Magazine for People of Color (215-438-2140, http://www.pathfinderstravel.com; $18), also offers a free e-mail newsletter with travel tips and deals.

* Travel Professionals of Color (866-901-1259, http://www.tpoc.org) is a trade organization with several members in Washington, Maryland and Virginia.

* The African American Travel Conference (330-337-1116, http://www.aatconline.com) is an organization of more than 2,500 travel planners focused on African American travel. Its site is mostly for travel agencies but also lists contact info for its members.

* The Black Boaters Summit, a popular event held in the British Virgin Islands, is arranged by Honey Let's Travel (510-222-6308, http://www.honeyletstravel.com), an African American-owned travel agency in California.

* The nonprofit National Association of Black Scuba Divers (800-521-6227, http://www.nabsdivers.org) arranges dive trips and is a clearinghouse for dive-related information and education; Underwater Adventure Seekers ( http://www.uasdivers.org) is the Washington chapter.

* National Brotherhood of Skiers (773-955-4100, http://www.nbs.org) is an umbrella group of more than 75 ski clubs across the country. One area club, Black Ski Inc. (301-231-3900, http://www.blackskiinc.org), organizes year-round ski and non-ski travel events.

* SoulofAmerica.com ( http://www.soulofamerica.com) publishes online city guides focused on African American culture and heritage. The site includes information on passport rule changes, photo galleries and Caribbean island highlights.

Family

* For those planning a destination family reunion, Groople (888-447-6675, http://www.groople.com) is an online agency that specializes in group travel. The Group Cruise Wizard also gives the option of having everybody select and pay for his or her stateroom online, so one person doesn't get stuck with the bill.

* The Transportation Security Administration has a page with tips on air travel with children ( http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/index.shtm).

* Single Parent Travel ( http://www.singleparenttravel.net) has answers about documentation for traveling abroad, organized tours, a monthly newsletter and personal ads, and is aimed at "single parents, grandparents, big sisters/brothers and married parents traveling without a spouse": anyone traveling with children in tow.

Gay and Lesbian

* The nonprofit International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (800-448-8550, http://www.iglta.com) has a searchable database of GLBT-friendly tour operators, events worldwide and cities' convention and visitors bureau Web sites.


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