Budget travel U.S destinations are sweetening the pot for Canadians

January is one of the best times of the year to visit San Diego. That is when thousands of gray whales pass within 1,500 metres of the city’s shoreline. As many as 200 whales a day have been counted in mid-January, the height of the migration season. Whale- watching excursions by boat cost as little as $8 U.S. for two hours. At least one cruise operator, Invader Cruises Inc., is offering special rates for Canadians.

For a full listing of the discounts available in San Diego in January, write the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, 1200 Third Ave., Suite 824, San Diego, CA 92101.

A number of other cities in California and tour operators are also taking part in the state-wide promotion of Maple Leaf Days during January. For example, California Parlor Car Tours gives Canadians a discount of 20 per cent on any of its tours during January and February. The company offers, among others, a three-day tour of the spectacular coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

wheretogoIf you want to keep track of all the special discounts for Canadian travellers to the U.S., a new organization called the Canadian Funds at Par Club plans to publish a directory of them. The directory is not yet available. The club also has a toll-free number you can call to find out whether discounts apply to goods and services anywhere in the United States. Club members, who pay $35 a year for membership are promised that lists new discounts for Canadians.

Discounts are mainly available in Florida and northern border states which receive a lot of Canadian visitors. If you travel in other parts of the U.S., you may not find many discounts.

Information on the club can be obtained from the CFAP Club, 666 Kingston Road, Toronto M4E 1R4. January is also a good time to get the lowest prices on a number of ski trips. For example, Jet Tours is offering a seven-night package to the French Alps on Jan. 16 for only $648 per person, including air fare from Toronto or Montreal, transfers and accommodation in a studio apartment in Chamonix, one of the oldest Alpine resorts.

If you prefer to ski at the modern resort of Les Arcs, a similar arrangement with the addition of a rental car with unlimited mileage for a week and a ski-lift pass for six days costs $898 per person if you leave Jan. 9. It is $998 on other dates in January, but rises to $1,358 for some February departures. Jet Tours, a subsidiary of Air France, also has a number of packages to other tourism resorts in the French Alps, including such trendy spots as Val d’Isere and Courchevel.

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