Gate 1 Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; www.gate1travel.com) is offering an independent package that makes it even easier to explore California's wine country. Get round-trip flights, five nights' hotel, and a six-day car rental -- all from $799 per person.
Arrive in San Francisco, pick up your rental car, and head south to Monterey for two nights. You can check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium, explore the shops, and sample some of the great restaurants. After your second night, head to Santa Rosa in Sonoma wine country, home to nearly 200 wineries; Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates is eight miles from your hotel. You'll have a few days to explore the region at your leisure.
Why is this a deal? Based on the Oct. 21 departure, your airfare would cost about $398 per person if you booked it on your own. Two nights in Monterey at the Hotel Pacific runs $395.80 (or $197.90 per person), and three nights in Santa Rosa at Flamingo Conference Resort and Spa start from $417 (or $208.50 per person). An average six-day rental for an economy class car, with unlimited mileage, runs about $407, or $203.50 per person. If you reserved all of this independently, it would cost you $1,007.90 per person. Booking the package with Gate 1 Travel saves you at least $208 per person.
Trip Type: Air-inclusive; independent
What the Quoted Price Gets You: Round-trip airfare from Chicago to San Francisco; two nights in Monterey at Hotel Pacific with breakfast daily; three nights in Santa Rosa at the Flamingo Conference Resort and Spa with free parking and breakfast daily; airline fuel surcharges; government taxes and fees; hotel taxes and fees; and a six-day economy car rental (Chevy Aveo or similar), with unlimited mileage, roadside assistance, all sales taxes, surcharges, and fees included
What Else You Will Have to Pay: Parking at Hotel Pacific ($19 per night) or $38 total, plus taxes; optional car rental add-ons.
Book By:As soon as possible for best availability
When: Oct. 21, 28, 2012 (from $799); Aug. 5, 12, Sept. 9, 16 (from $899)
Single Supplement: From $421
Other Departures: Atlanta, Boston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, New York, and Seattle are also available from $799 per person, according to current airfare; prices are subject to change.
Other Details:Upgrades are possible for this trip, whether it's an upgraded accommodation (from $250 per person) or an upgraded car rental (from $22.68 per person for an intermediate car).
All prices are per person and, if lodging is a component of the package, based upon two people traveling together (unless otherwise noted). The prices listed are general starting rates; see "What Else You'll Have to Pay" for details about associated taxes and fees. Base-prices, taxes, and fees can vary based on point of departure and time of travel. Blackout dates may apply. Trip add-ons like sightseeing tours and meal plans may also increase the price. Check with the tour operator for additional gateways. The single supplement is the extra cost that a solo traveler would pay to book the deal.