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MARILYN HAGERTY: Winter travelers seek out best prices for flights, hotels, cruises

This winter is mild. It is also long. And a lot of people who want to "cut it in half" are traveling. They keep travel agents around Grand Forks busy on the telephone. Kathryn Aubol of Monarch Travel says all-inclusive air and hotel tickets to Me...

This winter is mild. It is also long. And a lot of people who want to "cut it in half" are traveling.

They keep travel agents around Grand Forks busy on the telephone. Kathryn Aubol of Monarch Travel says all-inclusive air and hotel tickets to Mexico are in demand. Some travelers have been buying five days in Cancun for as little as $1,100.

Matt Stengl at Stengl-Johnson Cruise and Travel notes that buying Allegiant flights to Las Vegas is "like a lottery." You have to watch the prices that can go as low as $300 to $600 for the air flight and hotel for four days. He says the prices can change in 30 minutes. They go up and down every day.

Allegiant Flights have been popular, with three going out each week from Grand Forks and four times a week anticipated for March. That's when spring break travel adds to the travel picture.

Cruises are always in demand, and Monarch Travel sells as many to Alaska in summer as to southern climates in winter.

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Bon Voyage Travel has been promoting tours of London in honor of the 2012 Olympics. Bonnie Rygg Haley, president, says Hawaii and Jamaica are popular destinations this winter, and clients have been going to the Dominican Republic. Her company is promoting a 75-day world cruise as well as a cruise on the Rhine River.

January, February and March are the busiest travel period, she said. But there is no time limit. A group is going to Greece and Ireland in April.

And for some travelers who like to dream of faraway places, the UND Alumni Association is endorsing a luxury cruise of Mediterranean and Greek Isles in October. There's a bonus savings for those who sign up by Feb. 29.

Pucks and hoops

The weekend arrives with the hockey Badgers from Wisconsin in Grand Forks to meet UND on ice in The Ralph tonight and Saturday evening...Fans will meet at noon today in The Ralph to talk about hockey and the men hoopsters game Saturday with Chicago State..."Inspecting Carol" is running this weekend in Red River High School... And Tyler Hajicek is king of the 2012 Snoball this weekend at East Grand Forks Senior High...With the East Grand Forks American Legion/VFW speech tournament Saturday in the Performing Arts Center.

The North Dakota Association of Dance and Drill competition is scheduled tonight and Saturday in the Alerus...And there's a Junior Gold Hockey Tournament in town this weekend.

The Art of Flight will be featured Saturday morning at North Dakota Museum of Art...The North Dakota First Lego League Robotics is on the calendar for Saturday...And there is a Rolling on the River Skate Sunday at the Alerus Center.

Ask Marilyn

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Q. Where can you find a really, really good sloppy joe?

A. Go to a basketball game at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. They are $4.50 and super. They lack a pickle or a potato chip, though.

Q. What are the most clever license plates you have seen lately?

A. I was driving the other day behind a van with license that said L84SURE. Then I saw REDTRUK on a red truck.

Gary and Karolyn

Cheerful people of the week: Gary La Douceur, Karolyn Roebuck.

Reach Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or (701) 772-1055.

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