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Trip Tips

Your picture could be worth a trip to a national park

The National Park Service is looking for a few good photos. If you took an outstanding picture at a US national park this year, it may end up as the image on 2002's National Parks Pass. And if it does, it will win you a trip for four to any national park.

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The National Parks Pass was introduced in April to allow unlimited entry to any park that charges a per-vehicle entry fee. The first pass featured a winter shot of bison in Yellowstone National Park. The 2001 image is of Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park in Maine. Will your photo be featured on 2002's pass?

Complete rules and an entry form are available at www.NationalParks.org or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to National Parks Pass Photo Contest Rules, PO Box 5220, Young America, MN 55558.

Cruise news

Vacationers have been able to book reservations with any airline via travel Web sites such as Expedia. But the same wasn't true for cruises - until Lee Rosenbluth set up Cruise411 (www.cruise411.com).

Enter a destination and date you'd like to go, and up pops a page of choices (the database includes 10,000 sailings). Then select up to four cruises and compare them side by side. You can view ships and deck plans, and if you've already booked a cruise, Cruise411 allows you to take a peek at your cabin.

Cruise experts Larry Fox and Barbara Radin Fox have an informative Web site, www.romanticgetaways.com, which will help travelers find the right cruise at the right time. It's packed with insider advice and up-to-date information on new cruises.

Beyond B&Bs

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When you bunk at a friend's house on your vacation, the cost is much less than if you stay in a hotel. That's the idea behind two "lodging clubs." Members open their homes to other members at no cost (Free-Stay) or for a modest gratuity (Evergreen Bed & Breakfast Club, which is for people over 50). The membership fee for Evergreen, which was founded in 1984, is $60 for one person, $75 for two. Free-Stay, which is new, charges $50 per year, but waives the fee if you register before Jan. 1. More information is at www.free-stay.com and www.evergreenclub.com.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society