In this wildly up-and-down economy, travelers are either looking for rock-bottom prices or memorable holiday tours that are well worth what they cost. Below is a compendium of both types of 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: The recently renovated Broadway Hotel & Hostel is offering discounted rates for its shared rooms. Perks include plasma TVs, free Wi-Fi, and an Upper West Side location just steps from Central Park.
How much: Starting at $34 per night for a four-person room.
When: Through Dec. 31, and possibly longer.
Typical cost for a similar trip: The average hotel room in New York City costs $350 per night; the average hostel stay costs about $42 per night.
Find it: www.broadwayhotelnyc.com.
The deal: Harrah's Las Vegas announced its "Improv 45th Anniversary Package," which includes two nights' lodging, two VIP tickets to a show at the Improv Comedy Club (alumni performers have included Jay Leno, Robin Williams, Adam Sandler, and Jerry Seinfeld), and a buffet meal for two.
How much: $105 per night.
When: Through Dec. 30.
Typical cost for a similar trip: About $300 per night.
Find it: www.harrahs.com/makereservation
Promotion code: PKGLIPV
The deal: CIE Tours International is giving a $400 discount ($200 per person) to couples who book the "Christmas Wonderland" river cruise by Oct. 31. The itinerary starts with three days in Paris, continues through the Champagne region, central Germany, and ends in Amsterdam; Christmas sights and markets are emphasized throughout.
How much: $2,099, including hotel accommodations, most meals, and sightseeing activities, but not including airfare.
When: Book by Oct. 31 for travel from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9.
Typical cost for a similar trip: $2,299.
Find it: tel. 800/243-8687; www.cietours.com/affiliate/cietours/
Promotion code: 103108CHR
LondonThe deal: Trafalgar's eight-day "English Christmas" package takes you to London, Stonehenge, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and Bath. It includes all overnight accommodations (including hotel service charges, gratuities, and local taxes), airport tranfers, sightseeing tours, daily breakfast, a travelers' wallet, and a journal.
How much: Starting at $1,099, not including airfare.
When: Departing weekly on Fridays starting Nov. 14; final departure date is Dec. 19.
Typical cost for a similar trip: Up to 40% more.
Find it: tel. 800/854-0103; www.trafalgar.com/USA
The deal: No need to pack light: Maison 140 Beverly Hills's "Money Bags" promotion eases the cost of the airlines' baggage fees; if you've got a luggage-fee receipt, the hotel promises to reimburse up to $75 of such charges.
How much: Starting at $249 per night.
When: Through Dec. 28.
Typical cost for a similar trip: $324 per night.
Find it: www.maison140.com/specials/
Promotion code: MONEY
The deal: South Beach's Wave Hotel, which is just across the street from the beach and a block from nightlife, is offering discounted rates on overnight stays booked through the Alaska Airlines website.
How much: From $74 per night, including breakfast.
When: Through Dec. 15.
Typical cost for a similar trip: Up to $182.
Find it: http://alaska.wwte.com
The deal: For booking on Expedia, you'll get at least 30% off when booking four or more nights at select Hong Kong hotels.
How much: Starting at $59 per night.
When: Book by Oct. 31 for travel through Mar. 31.
Typical cost for a similar trip: At least $100 per night.
Find it: www.expedia.com/daily/promos/
The deal: Virgin Vacations' "Rome at its Best" package includes round-trip airfare, six hotel nights (including hotel taxes), and breakfast daily.
How much: $869, not including airport taxes.
When: Book by Oct. 29 for various travel dates through Feb. 22. Staying over a Saturday night is required.
Typical cost for a similar trip: About $1,300.
Find it: tel. 888/937-8474; www.virgin-vacations.com
The deal: Anguilla's 17-room, oceanfront Arawak Beach Inn is offering a month-long stay that costs less than what most people pay for their apartment rent.
How much: Starting at around $1,060.
When: To get the lowest rates, stay between Apr. 16 and Dec. 20.
Typical cost for a similar trip: About $4,000.
Find it: tel. 877/4ARAWAK; www.arawakbeach.com