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Trips and tips for travelers

HOW TO SPOT A LEOPARD: African photo safaris, led by professional photographers, give tour members the chance to have their own photos reproduced on CD-ROM and in a coffee-table book, Focus on Africa. Land rates range from a four-day Kilimanjaro excursion at $695 to a 13-day elephant ride through Botswana at $8,495. David Anderson Safaris, Santa Barbara, Calif.; (800) 733-1789. . . . Bring your wheels along on these three- to seven-day inline-skating tours in California, Pennsylvania, the Netherlands or southern Minnesota's Root River Valley. Prices range from $485 to $1,665 and include accommodations, all dinners, guides, van support and local transportation: no skating over Amsterdam's cobblestones. Zephyr Inline Skate Tours, Minneapolis, (888) SK8-TOUR (758-8687).

TRAVELER'S FILE: Several companies specialize in booking discounted hotel rooms. They may even be able to get you into a good hotel in a city that is "sold out." These companies might be "hotel consolidators," meaning they buy blocks of rooms ahead of time at a big discount, or they might work with consolidators. Usually these services focus on major cities or popular vacation spots. Some say they get discounts of 65 percent or more. Here are a few of them:

Hotel Reservations Network: (800) 964-6835

Travel $avers: (888) 637-2837

All Hotels: (800) 469-7808

Quikbook: (800) 789-9887

National Reservation Bureau (Hawaii, Las Vegas, Reno/Tahoe): (800) 732-1191

San Francisco Reservations: (800) 677-1550

Express Reservations (New York City and Los Angeles): (800) 356-1123

Capitol Reservations (Washington, D.C.): (800) 847-4832

OTHER LODGINGS: Stay home and see Paris _ by booking a private residence. Stay five nights or more with Paris Sejour Reservation and rent anything from a $75-per-night, two-person studio to a $300-per-night, three-bedroom apartment. PSR/USA, 645 N Michigan Ave., Suite 638, Chicago, IL 60611; (312) 587-7707. . . . Portugal adds to its network of pousadas _ historic and unique regional inns _ with restored monasteries and convents in several villages. (800) 223-1356.

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