Here's a trip that takes you to three of Europe's top cities -- three nights in London, Paris, and Rome -- from $1,499 for fall travel, thanks to Go-Today (tel. 800/227-3235; www.go-today.com)
The starting price of $1,499 generally puts you in tourist-class accommodations within a short ride via mass transit to the main attractions. In London, this means you'll be close to Hyde Park and Oxford Street if you stay at the Royal Eagle Hotel or at My Place Hotel, on a quiet street in Earl's Court neighborhood. When you travel by Chunnel from England to Paris (about a two-hour train trip), you'll check into the likes of the Comfort Hotel Davout Nation, in the 20th arrondissement a bit far from sightseeing attractions but not far from a Metro stop.
The trip from Paris to Rome is much longer (about 15 hours by train), and as a result, you'll be in a sleeper car that fits six people. When you arrive, you'll check into a hotel such as Adas, which is very close to the Colosseum and a 10-minute walk to the Termini Station.
Why is this a deal? A multi-stop airfare itinerary (New York-London; Rome-New York) starts around $595 according to a Kayak search for late October departures. In London, double-occupancy rates for the Royal Eagle range from £108-£148 ($175-$249) per night; the Comfort Davout in Paris starts from €55 (about $78) per room per night; and Adas Hotel in Rome starts from €65 (about $92) per room per night. Booking nine nights' hotel independently would then cost at least $1,035, or about $518 per person without taxes.
As for the train fare, if you booked the Eurostar separately for a second-class ticket, it starts at $178 per person for a one-way trip from London to Paris. Rail Europe shows a rate of $190 for the 15-hour, overnight second-class fare from Paris to Rome.
If you booked your airfare, hotel, and train tickets independently, you could count on spending at least about $1,480 before taxes, which could easily add another $50-$100.
Based on these calculations, it's safe to say this nine-night package will save you at least $100 -- not to mention making your trip planning that much easier.
Trip Type: Air-inclusive; independent
What the Quoted Price Gets You: Round-trip airfare from New York to London (returning from Rome); three nights apiece in London, Paris, and Rome; a second-class Eurostar rail ticket from London to Paris and second-class overnight train in a sleeper car from Paris to Rome; breakfast daily; hotel taxes and service charges; and airline fuel surcharges.
What Else You'll Have to Pay: Government taxes and fees from $83; Rome city tax of €2 per person per day for a three-star hotel (€3 for higher category hotel).
Book By: As soon as possible to ensure availability
When: Oct. 30-Dec. 13; Jan. 1, 2012-March 21, 2012
Single Supplement: $286
Other Details: Departures are available Oct. 1-20 from $1,799; the price is from $1,549-$1,749 for Oct. 21-29 departures. Upgrades in accommodations start from an additional $100 per person and will generally net you nicer properties in more central locations.
Other Gateways: Miami (add from $74); Atlanta (add from $150); Houston (add from $177); Chicago (add from $183); Los Angeles (add from $205)
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.