SAN DIEGO SAVINGS. Whether you like it or not, the holidays are right around the corner. From Nov. 18, 1998, through Jan. 17, 1999, more than 75 hotels (ranging from budget to deluxe) will offer special discounted room rates. A list of participating hotels is included in the booklet, San Diego for the Holidays, which is available free by sending your name and address to the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, 401 B St., Suite 1400, Dept. 700-H98, San Diego, CA 92101-4237, by calling 1-800-45-SHINE or on the Web at (http://www.sandiego.org). The booklet also includes discount coupons (some of them minimal) at major attractions such as SeaWorld San Diego, the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
- THE TRAILING OF THE SHEEP. In mid-October, Ketchum, Idaho's monied mountain town, pays homage to the Old West. Shepherds move their flocks from summer pastures in the mountains north of town and south through the Wood River Valley, through the heart of Ketchum. It's a traffic stopping event and people who are so inclined are invited to walk behind the herds, reliving a bygone era and keeping an eye out for sheep dip. In the early 1900s, Ketchum was second only to Sydney, Australia for sheep exports. A festival, referred to as the Trailing of the Sheep, takes place Oct. 11-13. Events will include a cultural fair in Hailey (12 miles south of Ketchum) on Saturday featuring regional artisans who work with wool (carding, spinning and weaving; making sheepherder bread, shearing sheep and stock dog herding. On Monday, hundreds of sheep will be moved down Main Street in Ketchum and alongside Highway 75 south out of town. If you're interested in walking with the sheep, meet at a local cafe for an orientation prior to the beginning of the trailing. For more information call 1-800-634-3347.- AUTUMN IN THE APPALACHIANS. Western North Carolina is one of the best places on the East Coast to see fall foliage. Yellows, reds and oranges begin to appear at higher elevations as early as late September. The area has a large diversity of trees that makes for a variety of colors. The season lasts about five weeks in the mountains around Asheville. For a color update, consult the Web at (www.ashevillechamber.org/leaf.htm), or call 1-800-921-9698.
- WASHINGTON, D.C., WEB SITE. Our nation's capital has a new and improved Web site. The address is (www.washington.org). It lists hotels searchable by rates and location, special hotel packages and seasonal discounts, a calendar of events and suggested tour itineraries.
- WILLIAMSBURG TURNS 300. The historic Virginia settlement will mark its 300th birthday with celebrations throughout 1999. May Day weekend (May 1 and 2) will be the official birthday party with special concerts and other activities. For a list of events or for ticket information, call 1-800-368-6511. To arrange accommodations, call the Williamsburg Hotel/Motel Association at 1-800-446-9244.
- LUXURIOUS ACCOMMODATIONS. Relais & Chateaux, an organization of exquisite hotels and restaurants around the world, has just published its 1998 guide, which includes 22 new members. A hold-in-your-hand copy is available for $8 by contacting Relais & Chateaux, 11 E. 44th St., New York, NY 10017, call 1-212-856-0115, or access the guide on the Internet at (www.relaischateaux.fr/).
- APARTMENTS IN PARIS. Why stay in a hotel when you can live in an apartment? Orion Apartment Hotels opened new properties in the French capital. The company offers three-star quality apartments to visitors. The Orion Louvre opened last November. It's near the Louvre off the rue de Rivoli. The renovated turn-of-the-century building has 24 studios (for one or two people) at $130 per night and 10 two-bedrooms, with space for six people. They rent for $335 per night. Discounts are available for people who rent for at least seven days or one month. The apartments are decorated in a modern style and feature fully equipped kitchens. Prices include a weekly cleaning and linens change. For information, call 1-800-755-8266.
- BELLAGIO HOTEL TO OPEN OCT. 15 IN LAS VEGAS. Rates at the luxury hotel-casino will range from $155 a night for a room to $400 a night for a suite. The property will have 16 restaurants, including five or six four-star eateries. The hotel will cater to an upscale clientele.
- FILM UPDATE. According to the magazine Travel Holiday, the new "explosion detection systems," high-powered scanners for scanning checked luggage, may harm film. "Recent tests showed that these X-rays left streaks and fogging on unprocessed film," says the magazine. To protect it, carry it with you in carry-on luggage. If you put it in checked luggage, pack it in inexpensive lead-lined pockets. The new scanners are currently in use at major airports in New York City, San Francisco and Atlanta.
- ROOM AT THE INNS. Grand Canyon National Park Lodges, at the South Rim, expect to have plenty of rooms available this fall. The number of tourists from Asia has dropped significantly because of the area's economic crisis. The crown jewel of the South Rim lodges is the El Tovar Hotel, which was built in 1905 and fashioned after a European hunting lodge. Bright Angel Lodge and Cabins overlook the rim. It was built in 1935. For reservations, call 1-303-297-2757, or visit the Web at (www.amfac.com).