TRAVEL TIPS

Victorian restoration workshop. Have you wondered how to restore your Victorian home? In the resort town of Cape May, N.J., a 10-day Victorian Week will feature house tours, fashion shows, vaudeville, and a ``Glorious Victorian Dinner and Concert.'' Plans also include a workshop on restoring houses from the 1820-1920 era. On Oct. 13-17, nationally known experts James Massey and Shirley Maxwell will speak on interior and exterior restoration of Victorian houses. Lectures will discuss topics such as marbleizing and graining, and 19th-century American furniture, silver, and floor coverings, and there will be tours of works-in-progress and hands-on workshop sessions. For last-minute reservations call (609) 884-5404 at the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, PO Box 164, Cape May, NJ 08204. Paddling through the Everglades. Southern-bound nature seekers can enjoy the quiet of paddling and camping in the Florida Everglades this winter. For the eighth year, North American Canoe Tours Inc. is offering escorted wilderness trips lasting seven to 14 days from Nov. 15 through April 11. All canoes, tents, and meals (home-cooked style, prepared from scratch at the campsite) are supplied. Campers need pack only clothes and personal belongings. The cost of the trips ranges from $495 to $770 per person. Discount air fares to Miami are available and trippers can be picked up at Miami International Airport. Contact Dave Harraden, North American Canoe Tours Inc., 65 Black Point Rd., Niantic, CT 06357, or call (203) 739-0791 for details.

Getting a visa for France. A recent ruling requires that all United States citizens obtain a visa before leaving for France. You may go to a French consulate in one of several US cities to fill out an application form and present a current passport and one other form of identification displaying a photo. The fee is $9 for three months or $15 for one year. Or pick up an application from a travel agent or an airline office and mail it with a current passport, a money order for $9 or $15 (payable to Consulat de France), and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the nearest French consulate. Write the French Embassy, 4101 Reservoir Rd. NW, Washington, D.C., or the French Government Tourist Office, 610 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10020 for the address of the nearest consulate.

Emergency auto repair. What do you do when your car breaks down? A difficult question, especially if the proper tools are not at hand. According to the Shell Motorist Club, there are certain items that should be carried at all times. Among them are jumper cables, a flashlight, an adjustable wrench, insulated pliers, a plastic water-filled jug, one quart of oil, light fuses, and a fuse puller. For more information, write the Shell Motorist Club, PO Box 2463, Houston, TX 77001 or call (713) 241-4255.

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Opera in Eastern Europe. A blend of tradition and modernity makes Eastern European cities ideal for operagoers. The itinerary of the Metropolitan Opera Guild's three-week Exotic Eastern European tour includes visits to older, untouched houses, such as East Germany's well-known Gewandhaus in Leipzig. In the newly restored houses of Prague and Budapest, tour members will hear such operas as Mozart's ``Cos`i fan tutte'' and Verdi's ``Simon Boccanegra.'' Also on the agenda is museum-going, dining, and gallery hopping. The tour appropriately ends in Vienna, ``the city of music,'' where Puccini's ``La Boh`eme'' and Smetana's ``The Bartered Bride'' will be seen. For information on this and other guild tours, write Shirley Bakal, director, Members Travel Program, Metropolitan Opera Guild, 1865 Broadway, New York, NY 10023, or call (212) 582-7500.

New Zealand's national parks centennial. New Zealand's 13 national and maritime parks will celebrate their 100th birthday during the 1987-88 season. The first national park was inspired in 1887 by the native Maori people, who donated their sacred volcano mountains to the government. Covering more than 13 percent of the country, the national parks preserve spectacular mountains, fjords, glaciers, and rain forests, as well as the world's second-highest waterfall. For information on the centennial, write to the New Zealand Tourist and Publicity Office, 630 Fifth Ave., Suite 530, New York, NY 10111, or call (212) 586-0600.

Executive limo service in London. Now there's a New York-style limousine service in London, complete with a telephone and a selection of daily newspapers. Geared to the corporate executive, Executive Link's fleet of graphite-colored Jaguars promises efficient transportation throughout the London area. Regular clients can pay with their Executive Link card, which can also be used for some limousines in New York City. For more information write Executive Link Ltd., 67 River Court, Kings Reach, London SE1 9PB.

Russian winter from a train window. Finnair has announced four winter trips by rail. The tours are scheduled from October through April and feature some of the Soviet Union's famous trains, like the Red Arrow from Leningrad to Moscow, which carried the news of the October Revolution in 1917. Tour lengths vary from the eight-day tour called ``The Russian Adventure'' to the 10-day ``Russian and Baltic Adventure'' to the 14-day ``Russian and East European Adventure'' and the 15-day ``Trans-Siberian Adventure.'' Prices range from $1,095 to $2,095, including air fare from the US. For more details see your travel agent or contact Finnair, 10 East 40th St., New York, NY 10016, or call (212) 689-9300 or 800-223-5700.

Tips for solo travelers. There's good news for mature people who travel alone. Grand Circle Travel, a company specializing in trips for travelers over 50, is scheduling special departure dates for solo travelers, cutting the single supplement cost on their extended vacations by 50 percent and sponsoring welcoming parties to introduce travelers to one another. Grand Circle offers 30 destinations in its extended vacation program at unusually reasonable rates. Destinations range from Mexico and Florida to Hong Kong and Tahiti. For more information on the tours, brochures, or a free booklet, ``Going Abroad: 101 Tips for Mature Travelers,'' call 800-221-2610 or write Grand Circle Corporation Headquarters, 347 Congress St., Suite 3A, Boston, MA 02210, or call (617) 437-7722.

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