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Some tips for planning a New Year's trip

For more information, call a travel agent. It's not too late to book a Dec. 31 trip, but keep in mind:

*Consider a cruise or package tour, and book through your travel agent. Hotels and airline seats will be at a premium.

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*Compare prices. You can probably book the same - or similar -cruise or tour a week or two later for less money. Decide how important it is for you to be there on the very day.

*Find out what's included. Since air fares may be at a premium, consider tours or cruises that include air.

*Most airlines will have tightened restrictions. You may have to buy within 24 hours of booking, and even some first-class tickets will be nonrefundable.

*If the tour or cruise you want is booked, put your name on the waiting list. There are always cancellations.

*Don't give up if your dream destination is sold out. For the past few blockbusters, such as the Olympics, space was available at the last minute. Keep trying.