March 5, 2004 - We're all about budget-travel and getting the most value out of your vacation dollars here at Frommers.com. As other major currencies pommel the weakening US dollar, we'll continue to ferret out those deals that let you make your dream trip. Today, we've rounded up a nice roster of affordable lodgings and packages to perennial favorite London, where the British Pound is currently worth $1.83, and to a few other choice EU countries, where the Euro is running at $1.22.
Upset at the extra expense caused Americans traveling to the United Kingdom this spring because of the devaluation of the US dollar, the Uptown Reservations Agency, which offers rooms with private bath and breakfast in elegant London host-homes, is giving a special $20 discount to Yanks staying with them. In the past few months a &pund;95 double room has risen from $150 to $180, so the firm has decided to charge Americans only $160 for a double room, in effect a $20 discount per night.
Uptown's lodgings always have private bath or shower and offer a generous continental breakfast, with taxes and service charges also included. The homes are owned by empty-nester professional and business people and are in central London's smartest neighborhoods (Knightsbridge, Chelsea and the like).
Single rooms are available for as little as $124 per night, quadruple family rooms for $262 (usually two rooms with adjoining bath). For more information contact Uptown at www.londonbandb.com or for reservations phone 800/872-2632 during normal business hours.
Plenty O' Packages
For "last minute bargains," check out that section of the OffPeakTraveler website, where you'll find super bargains such as these:
Six nights in London for $589, with daily departures (last one on March 24, 2004) from JFK or Newark on Virgin Atlantic, your hotel being the first-class Holiday Inn Bloomsbury or Millennium Bailey's, including daily buffet breakfast. Add on $139 for service charges and taxes, and $40 for departure from Washington DC, $70 from Boston, $140 from San Francisco, Miami or Orlando, $160 from the Los Angeles gateway. There's a $359 tag on a similar six-nighter to London, but staying in a tourist class hotel (the Mina House), with continental breakfast daily and last departure on March 25, 2004, using Air India from JFK.
OPT also has six night packages combining Rome and London (three nights each), from $599; and separate six-nighters to Paris or Malaga, each from $399 per person, last departures March 25 (Paris) or March 28 (Malaga), 2004. If you don't want Europe in early Spring, consider the company's five-night Rio package, with first class hotel, costing $589 from New York or Miami. You stay at the Savoy Othon Hotel, with daily buffet breakfast included, while add-on charges from other gateways range from $30 out of Boston or Washington, D.C.through $70 for Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago or Pittsburgh to $130 for Los Angeles or San Francisco.
For OPT packages, go to www.offpeaktraveler.com.
Another old favorite, Go-Today, also has some nifty spring packages, such as one from $549 for six nights in London between April 1 and June 10, then again from September 1 through October 31, 2004. The deadline for getting this price is, however, March 15, 2004, so hurry. (The deadline MAY be extended, the firm says, but they can't be sure until about March 12 or so.) The package includes roundtrip airfare from New York JFK or Newark, lodging at the Cordova House Hotel, roundtrip minibus transfers, daily continental breakfast, and hotel taxes and service charges. If you want to fly between June 11 and August 31, 2004, the prices will be higher.
Go-Today also has such delectable short trips as a Brussels Weekend Getaway for three nights in late May or June starting at $299; a Brussels & Bruges Supersale for six nights during the same period starting at $599; and a Spring Fly & Drive package for either France or Britain, including seven days car rental from March 15 through October 31, 2004, either one from $399. All their packages include roundtrip airfare from New York, of course, with other gateways available for additional charge.
To contact Go-Today, visit www.gotoday.com or phone (for an extra $20 charge) 425/487-9632.
Brian Moore International Tours just announced a variety of combos to Ireland, Britain and London for spring and summer travel. A real stunner is its "Friendly B&B" promotion that includes roundtrip airfare (from NYC) to Ireland, seven days' car rental, six nights' B&B accommodations and complete Irish breakfast each morning (a real perk, since these hearty meals can keep you fueled well past lunch time) -- the base price? Just $699 for April trips, $739 for May and June departures.
Two other packages to take note of are its "London City Package" from $689 for the summer ($579 for the fall) that gets you roundtrip air out of NYC, six nights' lodging and breakfast; and the "Britain Fly and Drive" from $579 for the summer ($429 for the fall) that includes roundtrip air out of NYC and a seven-day car rental (insurance included).
Add-on fares are available from a variety of other US gateways. Visit Brian Moore online at www.bmit.com or call 800/982-2299.
Finally, EuropeASAP is jumping into the mix with a six-night air/hotel special to London. The package includes roundtrip air (out of NYC again for the lowest base price of $599), your room including hotel taxes, morning meals, and a Brookstone keychain digital camera so you can play like your James Bond. Travel dates are from April 1 to May 31 when all the flowers start blooming in full force. The booking deadline is March 14. For more information, visit www.europeasap.com.