For those who also like their travel news on shiny paper . . .
"This is a terrible time to go to Europe," wails the June Frommer's Budget Travel. Then, after thoroughly depressing us, the magazine lays out four smart strategies.
One, vaguely reminiscent of fake designer perfumes -- "If you love Tuscany . . . try Le Marche!" -- spins you toward cheaper, less-crowded versions of Euro-icons. Another rounds up no-frills airlines and tips you to a Web site with links (www.nofrillsair.com). And in case you weren't aware, "Hotels are for suckers"; better to rent a villa. Finally, who knew you could camp in Paris's Bois de Boulogne, 15 minutes from the Champs Elysees, in a Seine-side mobile home?
If you insist on sticking to old favorites, June's Conde Nast Traveler digs up deals in Rome, Paris, London and more -- although the mere mention of a moderate hotel in print may soon render it crowded and overpriced.
Cicadas are the symbol of Provence in southern France. So in their buggy honor, we bring you the January/February issue of Pays de Provence (in French), which has just burrowed its way up to U.S. newsstands. Even if you don't parlez francais, the 10 farm vacations -- some quite cushy-looking -- are easy to suss out, and don't bite the budget . . . If you're willing to pay in sweat, the June Utne suggests volunteer vacations on organic farms, offered in 65 countries around the world (www.wwoof.org) . . . And for the truly cheap, Backpacker reveals cool hike-in cabins, yurts and lookouts around the United States and Canada that start at . . . free!
-- Gayle Keck