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Travel newsletters let you read all about it

If you plan to travel more this year, or at least travel better, you might look at travel newsletters for inspiration and information.

Oxbridge Directory of Newsletters, (Oxbridge Communications, $295), available at most public libraries, lists 140 travel newsletters. Issued monthly or 10 times a year, newsletters focus on special travel interests and needs. Some popular titles:

"Consumer Reports Travel Letter": This monthly from Consumers Union emphasizes good value and service by highlighting industry developments and current events that may affect travel. Each issue features current travel tips; profiles a domestic and foreign city; rates airlines, cruise ships and hotels for comfort, service, cost and cleanliness, and keeps a scoreboard on long-distance telephone rates.

It also publishes reader comments and answers reader questions. The "Traveler's Notes" section and "Flash" insert page update discounted fares and list other timely items.

At $37 per year, $57 for two years, or $5 per issue, this is an all-round best bet for frequent travelers. Write Subscription Director, Consumer Reports Travel Letter, Box 53629, Boulder, CO 80322-3629.

"Travel Smart": A budget-oriented consumer monthly offers eclectic coverage of seasonal destinations, cruises, travel deals, senior citizen travel and business travel.

At $44 per year, $79 for two years or $4 per copy, from Communications House Inc., 40 Beechdale Road, Dobbs Ferry, NY, 10522.

"ALPS (AirLine Passenger Services)": This monthly evaluates airline club rooms, airport facilities and other aspects of airline travel. Lists in-flight movie schedules for domestic and international routes.

It's $75 a year from Carlson Publishing Co., P.O. Box 888, Los Alamitos, CA 90720. Also available are annual seating guides for U.S. ($39.95) and foreign ($44.95) airlines and guides to domestic airports ($6.95) and airline safety ($14.95).

"The Educated Traveler": Offers information on how to pursue special interests such as photo safaris, painting workshops, cooking classes, ecotourism, bicycle tours and pub crawls.

Cost for 10 issues is $75 from The Educated Traveler Inc., P.O. Box 220822, Chantilly, VA 22022.

"Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report": A monthly dedicated to peaceful vacations and executive retreats for the upscale traveler. Subscriptions limited to 15,000. Caribbean resorts, Canadian hideaways, ski or surf retreats _ historic and new _ are described in tantalizing detail.

Subscriptions are $90 per year, $7.50 an issue, from Harper Associates Inc., P.O. Box 300, Whitefish, MT 59937.

"Gardens & Countrysides": Subtitled "A Journal of Picturesque Travels," it details journeys to landscaped places ranging from elegant estate gardens to ornamental kitchen gardens.

Ten issues are $75, or $10 each for single or back issues, from Travel Publications Inc., 401 Austin Highway, Suite 209, San Antonio, TX 78209.