(MONEY Magazine) – CHUNNEL VISION For the first time since the 1994 debut of the Eurostar, the train that speeds under the English Channel, round-trip tickets purchased in the U.S. are on sale. Until the end of the year, round-trip economy-class tickets between London and either Paris or Brussels are $158, or 34% off. You must stay at least two nights at your destination, and once you make a reservation it can't be changed. Call 800-387-6782, or go to www.raileurope.com for details. One last thing: Before you book, try calling Eurostar's overseas office at 011-44-990-186-186. Depending on when you're traveling, it sometimes offers even better fares.
FREE MONEY (WHILE SUPPLIES LAST) Next time you buy something online, consider doing it through Ebates.com or Cashbackclub.com. They kick back to you one of their main sources of revenue: the 2% to 30% commissions they get for referring you to certain shopping sites like Wine.com (10% cash back at Ebates) and Gear.com (16% at Ebates). Cashback pays out when your total hits $25; Ebates cuts you a check every three months. Just hurry: This dubious business model may not be long for this world.
OH, CANADA You don't have to go north to take advantage of the weak Canadian dollar. Shopping at Canadian websites effectively cuts prices by as much as 50%. And most ship anywhere in the U.S. in seven business days. For a list of Canadian retailers, go to Yahoo! Canada (ca.yahoo.com) and click "Canadian sites only." At Chapters (www.chapters.ca), the Canadian Amazon.com, we found Pokemon videos for $12.94 (U.S.) each, including shipping, or 53% off Amazon's price. One note: You must spend less than $200 (U.S.) an item and request shipment via regular mail to avoid duties and taxes, which could cancel the savings.
AROUND THE WORLD Star Alliance offers a stellar round-the-world deal until the end of 2000: For $3,099, fly as many as 29,000 miles anywhere in the world on any of its 13 airline partners, including United, Lufthansa and Air New Zealand. The rules are a bit complicated: Your trip must last at least 10 days but no more than 12 months and include at least three stopovers but no more than 15. You must make at least one transatlantic and one transpacific crossing. You can change flight dates and times without charge, but last-minute city changes are $75. Call 800-538-2929, or go to www.staralliance.com for details.
YOU ARE HERE The government recently ended its practice of degrading the signals picked up by civilian global positioning systems. The devices are now 10 times more accurate--yet in many cases still available for under $300. Rand McNally's StreetFinder, which clips onto a Palm III or V, toggles between maps and step-by-step directions to your destination. The cost: $179 for Palm IIIs, $199 for Palm Vs. If you don't have a Palm, try Garmin International's $299 eMap (at left). And hikers will like Garmin's $120 eTrex, which stores up to 500 location points to create a virtual "bread-crumb trail."
Reported by Brian L. Clark, Borzou Daragahi, Leslie Haggin and Grace Jidoun