Sailing on small ships gets closer to the treasures

Cruising by gulet — traditionally small, two-masted sailing vessels — is a wonderful way to explore places like Turkey, Greece and Italy. Peter Sommer Travels specializes in such adventures and offers small-group journeys (maximum of 18 people) aboard gulets to explore the cultural and archaeological treasures of those countries. For an even more interesting experience, the company will do custom gulet charters that can be based on its regular itineraries, or you can build your own itinerary. The cost for a one-week regularly scheduled cruise in Turkey runs about $3,260 per person double occupancy. If you charter and have a group of eight or more, the cost would be about the same. For a group of 12 or more, you get a better rate. In addition to room and board on the gulet, tours include a specialist guide and local guides when ashore, entrance fees, wine with dinner and more. Info: 855-443-3027,

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The great outdoors and Wi-Fi

Reconnecting with nature and the outdoors was the No. 1 reason cited by fans of camping, according to the 2015 North American Camping Report. The report was based on a survey of nearly 3,000 people in the U.S. and Canada that was commissioned by Kampgrounds of America (KOA). Interestingly, despite the desire to get away, 70 percent of those polled said they go online at some point while camping, and free Wi-Fi was among the top three most important camping amenities. Clean and well-maintained restrooms/bath houses was easily the most-desired amenity, at 50 percent. Kid-friendly campgrounds earned the second spot at 20 percent, and Wi-Fi tied with acceptance of pets at 19 percent. Tents are the most common camping accommodation, at 54 percent, and the typical North American camper is likely to have started camping with parents before the age of 18. Read the whole report at

Students travel with a cause

Parents looking for summer opportunities for their high-school- and middle-school-age kids might want to consider VISIONS Service Adventures, which exposes participants to different cultures while they lend a hand to those less fortunate. In the U.S., for example, there are two- or four-week programs in northern Montana helping out on the Blackfeet reservation with home rebuilds or perhaps playground construction. In Cambodia, work might be a mix of construction and social-service activities. During off-hours participants are immersed in the local culture. There are also programs in countries where Spanish or French are the primary languages, giving kids a chance to strengthen their foreign-language skills. All programs have a leader-to-student ratio of 1 to 4 or 5, and to ensure that technology doesn’t get in the way of the learning experience, all electronics are collected and stored until the end of the program. An FAQ on the website covers the bases. Info: 406-551-4423,

Marty is a freelance reporter for Tribune Newspapers.

Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune

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