SOURCE: United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA)

March 19, 2007 09:55 ET

From Mongolian Huts to European Castles, Tours and Packages Offer Unusual Accommodations

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 19, 2007 -- From luxury tenting to castles in Europe, travelers who want to trade high-rise hotels for something more exotic can find a variety of vacation packages and tours with unusual accommodations.

The U.S. Tour Operators Association recently asked its members -- who send more than 11 million people on vacation yearly -- whether they offer unusual or offbeat lodging. More than 60% said they offer vacation packages and tours with some type of non-traditional lodging.

Taming the Wilderness

Experience the outdoors in style on a luxury tenting trip to Africa and other far-off destinations offered by tour operators such as Abercrombie & Kent, Goway Travel, and Tauck World Discovery. SITA World Tours offers tenting in India, while International Expeditions has accommodations in traditional gers, or native huts, in Mongolia. In the U.S., TrekAmerica arranges outdoor tours with tent and cabin accommodations. And if you're between 18 and 34 years old, you can check out Euro-camping in Europe with Top Deck.

Rustic Comfort

Outdoors-lovers can find more solid accommodations and rustic comfort by choosing wilderness lodging in Alaska on a Cruise West Vacation, or in Latin America on a holiday from ISRAMWORLD, while Sunnyland Tours offers eco-lodge and farm stays in Costa Rica. Other companies offering stays in eco-lodges are Goway Travel in Australia and New Zealand and International Expeditions in Africa and South America.

"At Home" Stays

Travelers can book Bed & Breakfasts in Ireland through Brian Moore International Tours, and Irish farm houses, villas, or manor houses through Celtic Tours World Vacations. Mayflower Tours offers home-hosted and home-stays in New Zealand, while Image Tours can book you into family-run hotels and chalets in Europe.

Moving up the Comfort Notch

While a man's home may be his castle, you can stay in the real thing in Ireland through Avanti Destinations. Both Collette Vacations and Globus offer castle stays in Europe. Avanti Destinations can set you up with a chateau in France, while in Spain and Portugal travelers can experience an authentic Parador or Pousada (traditional country inn) through Escapade Vacations.

And for the 18 - 35 set, Contiki Holidays has escorted motor coach tours that stay in resorts throughout the U.S. and Europe.

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