There's nothing like traveling in autumn. Something about the turning colors, falling leaves, and relaxed locals make it a remarkably appealing time to vacation -- especially to some of the world's most desirable destinations. If you've caught the travel bug this season, you're not alone. But if these back-to-school days have also left your budget lurching, you'll appreciate these money-saving deals.
All prices are per person unless otherwise noted. See "The deal," "How much," and "When" for details about associated taxes, fees, and travel restrictions. Note that "How much" is our best estimate of what the trip will cost and that taxes and fees can vary based on point of departure and travel dates. Deals are subject to availability, so confirm before booking.
New York City
The deal: NYC Sheratons are offering unique packages by which to experience the metropolis's plethora of cultures. Try the "Brooklyn Experience," available at the Sheraton Manhattan at Times Square as well as the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers. The deal includes two round-trip MetroCards to ride the subway and two 2-day adult Brooklyn Passes (www.brooklynpass.com), which grant admission to the Brooklyn Museum, Botanic Garden, Children's Museum, New York Aquarium, and an array of other local attractions.
How much: Starting at $419 per night, double occupancy.
When: Through Dec. 30.
Typical cost for a similar trip: About $630 per night, double occupancy.
The deal:The Luxor is luring the ladies with its "Girls' Night Out" package, which includes a Tower Deluxe room, admission to LAX nightclub, a $25 dining credit at Fusia, $20 off any 50-minute spa treatment, 20% off the spa's "Girls' Night Out" makeup package, and $10 off admission to the raucous Excalibur.
How much: Rates start at $69 per night plus tax.
When: Book by Sept. 28 for travel through Sept. 30.
Typical cost for a similar trip: Around $170 per night plus tax.
Find it: tel. 877/386-4658 or www.mgmmirage.com
Promotion code: PDGIRL
The deal: Gate 1 Travel's "Thanksgiving in Paris" deal includes round-trip airfare from New York, accommodations in the Campanile Paris XVII Boulevard Berthier hotel (www.campanile-paris-boulevard-berthier.fr), daily breakfast, and airline fuel surcharges.
How much: $799, not including airport taxes.
When: Nov. 26 to Dec. 1.
Typical cost for a similar trip: About $1,375, not including airport taxes.
The deal:Virgin Atlantic's "Fly/Drive the U.K." package gets you round-trip airfare (from New York, Newark, Boston, Washington, D.C., Orlando, Miami, L.A., San Francisco, or Las Vegas) to London, plus a 7-day Hertz car rental with unlimited mileage.
How much: From $619, not including airport taxes.
When: Book by Sept. 8 for travel between Nov. 1 and Dec. 17 or Jan. 4 and Mar. 22.
Typical cost for a similar trip: Around $810, not including airport taxes.
The deal:Santa Monica's Hotel Shangri-La, after its $30-million renovation, reopens in October with special introductory rates sure to entice discerning travelers to come experience the boutique hotel's new look -- which blends Art Deco and contemporary styles -- as well as its new restaurant, rooftop bar, and elevated pool.Â
How much: $265 per night for a Deluxe Ocean View Room; $345 per night for a One-Bedroom Ocean View Suite.
When: Oct. 20-Dec. 31; blackout dates are Nov. 5-12.
Typical cost for a similar trip: $450 per night for a Deluxe Ocean View Room; $650 per night for a One-Bedroom Ocean View Suite.
Find it: tel. 310/394-2791 or www.shangrila-hotel.com.
The deal: Orbitz is offering savings on stays in (and vacation packages to) Miami's many gay-friendly hotels.
How much: $40 off stays of 3 or 4 nights; $100 off stays of 5 nights or more.
When: Book by September 7 for travel by Nov. 15.
Typical cost for a similar trip: $40 or $100 more.
Find it: On www.orbitz.com.
Promotion codes: GAYPRIDE40 and EQUALITY100
The deal: Expedia is offering last-minute deals for overnight stays in Hong Kong. One of the best is for the Cosmo Hotel, a color-themed property near Causeway Bay and Admiralty Place. Perks in the guestrooms include flatscreen TVs and free Wi-Fi.
How much: $96 per night, not including taxes.
When: Until Sept. 11.
Typical cost for a similar trip: $141 per night, not including taxes.
Find it: On www.expedia.com.
The deal: Luxury brand KN Karen Neuburger and The Women's Travel Club have teamed up to present "Eat, Pray, Live," a women-only travel package to Rome that includes a 4-night stay in a 5-star hotel, most meals, visits to spiritual sites, $300 worth of KN products, and a Women's Travel Club membership. Best of all, for each package booked, $200 goes to charity.
How much: $2,250 for double occupancy with airfare; $1,995 for double occupancy without airfare.
When: October 23-28.
Typical cost for a similar trip: About $4,500. And none of it goes to charity.
Find it: tel. 800/480-4448 or www.karenneuburger.com.
Washington State Wine Country
The deal:The "Northwest Wine Country Adventure" at the Willows Lodge, which is just outside Seattle, includes three nights' lodging, a 90-minute couples' massage, $100 at the Barking Frog bistro, a personal tour of Woodinville Wine Country (including VIP visits to JM Cellars and Chateau Ste. Michelle), and a full day of outdoor adventure hosted by Evergreen Escapes (cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in winter; kayaking or whale-watching in spring).
How much: $1,960 per couple for spring, fall and winter itineraries; $2,295 per couple for summer itineraries, including tax.
When: Available year-round.
Typical cost for a similar trip: About $2,560.
Find it: tel. 425/424-2589 or www.willowslodge.com.