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Y2K PACKAGES DISCOUNTED

A year ago, scoring a special trip to celebrate the dawning of 2000 seemed as remote as snagging a Super Bowl ticket. But with the event so near, the field is remarkably wide open -- and finding a seat for celebrating Y2K in style may not even cost as much as you feared.

The biggest reason for the turnaround: The exorbitantly priced, high-glitz, high-concept New Year's packages crafted by tour organizers scared off a lot of people. Even high rollers concluded it was preferable to sip champagne in their living rooms than pay $75,000 to circle the globe on the Concorde or $699 for dinner at New York's Tavern on the Green. The prospect of being far away while Y2K hell was breaking loose back at the office also dampened plans. According to a survey by the Travel Industry Association of America, 61 percent of Americans have opted to celebrate this New Year's at home.

Our advice: Travel by car whenever possible. If you must fly, try to get off the ground by Dec. 30.

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