Sceptre Tours (tel. 800/221-0924; www.sceptretours.com) is branching out into the Mediterranean, and this off-season trip to the French Riviera gets you there (from $1,099 for airfare and six nights' hotel).
Stay at the waterfront Riviera Marriott Hotel La Porte de Monaco, on Cap d'Ail harbor in France. Hop aboard the free hotel shuttle that makes three stops in Monaco, where you can take in the view of the harbor from the Rocher (a.k.a. the Rock) or try your luck at the famous Monte Carlo Casino.
Take an easy day trip to Nice (30 minutes away by bus) or to Cannes (45 minutes away by bus), and walk the beachfront promenades. Though it's likely too chilly to sunbathe, winter temperatures in the French Riviera are in the mid-50s -- warmer than parts of North America at that time of year.
Why is this a deal? Well, just the airfare alone for a Nov. 1 departure, according to a Kayak search, starts at $874 per person. The best available rate for a mountain-view king room starts at €169, or about $230 per room per night without taxes. For six nights, you could expect to pay at least €1,014, or $1,380 for two people. Booking airfare and hotel independently would then cost at least $1,564 per person. Even if you add the maximum cost of government taxes and fees ($220) to the advertised $1,099 price, this Sceptre Tours package saves you about $245 when compared to booking airfare and hotel separately.
Trip Type: Air-inclusive, independent
What the Quoted Price Gets You: Round-trip airfare from New York-JFK or Boston to Nice, France; six nights' hotel; breakfast daily; and airline fuel surcharges.
What Else You'll Have to Pay: Up to $220 in government taxes and fees
When: Select Monday-Thursday departures Nov. 1, 2011-Feb. 29, 2012
Book By: Oct. 21
Single Supplement: $500
Other Gateways: Los Angeles ($1,269), Chicago ($1,349)
Other Details:Car rentals are available (add from $99 per person for a standard-transmission rental or add from $149 per person for automatic-transmission rental). Extend your stay (add from $99 per person per night), or upgrade to a balcony room with a view of the sea for $50 total per person.
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.