It's a new year and time to start making good on all those resolutions, or at the very least, prioritizing what you hope to accomplish in 2007. As a Frommer's reader, it goes without saying that one of those resolutions undoubtedly must include travel and I would imagine that it also includes taking off to that special place that you have always dreamed of. So let's make 2007 the year to fulfill your travel fantasies. Why? Because there is no time like the present, who knows if the U.S. dollar will drop any further. International travel is still quite reasonable and affordable, so your dream destination may be well within your reach. If you can be flexible about your dates, there are definitely some bargains to be had for 2007 travel.
Right now is peak tourist season in Egypt, with mild temperatures and a large number of visitors from both the west and Middle Eastern countries. Mid summer can be stifling and equally crowded but there are deals around. Consider traveling to the land of the pharaohs in the off or shoulder season for some bargains, moderate climate and fewer tourists. Friendly Planet (tel. 800/555-5765; www.friendlyplanet.com) offers a savings of $400 per person for bookings of its nine-day "Pyramids and Nile Cruise" tour if you book by January 27, 2007. The package includes round-trip flights from New York flying Egypt Air (including fuel surcharges, arrival and departure transfers), intra-Egypt flights (Cairo to Luxor), ground transportation, three nights' accommodations at the five-star Sheraton Cairo Hotel, breakfast daily, four nights aboard the deluxe MS Jasmin Nile cruise and 15 meals while cruising. Visit Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Komombo, Esna and Edfu taking in Egypt's magnificent history and monumental ancient architecture. This tour sells out very quickly (in fact many dates are already sold out or waitlisted). Prices start at $1,799 for departures on April 16 and August 20, 2007 whereas the June 4 departure is $100 more and July 2 is $300 more.
Peru (Machu Picchu)
There is no time like the present when it comes to visiting Peru and doing the Inca trail pilgrimage. The trail is actually closed during the month of February (and to be honest January is pretty nasty weather wise too), but come March, things start moving again. Latin America 4 Less (tel. 800/480-0707; www. latinamerica4less.com) has an eight night package that includes Lima, Cuzco and a chance do the famed Inca trail and experience the majestic Machu Picchu with price starting at $1,410 from Miami, $1,559 from New York or $1,612 from Los Angeles (plus taxes) if you book by January 31, 2007. A single supplement of $160 applies. These prices include international airfare, two-nights hotel accommodation in Lima, two-nights in Cuzco and one-night in Machu Picchu, three nights camping along the Inca trail and a round-trip flight from Lima to Cuzco. Inca Trail Services feature bus transportation from Cuzco, entrance fee to the Inca Trail, a guide, shared camping gear (two-man tents, dining tent, bathroom tent, tables, chairs and eating utensils), personal camping gear (sleeping bag and mat), porters and all meals during the hike.
Sunsets, palm trees, local speaking in sexy Pacific French accents, crystal clear water and white sand beaches -- could you imagine anything more enticing? Air Tahiti Nui (tel. 877/824-4846; www.airtahitinui.com) has partnered with Tahiti vacation specialists to offer deals like a seven-day Tahiti getaway with round-trip airfare from $1,258 from Los Angeles or $1,499 from New York. This special features round-trip airfare on Air Tahiti Nui, arrival meet and greet with flower lei, one night at the Hotel Tiare Tahiti, in a standard room, round-trip ferry transfers, five nights at the beach front Club Bali Hai Moorea (in a garden room), all transfers and hotel taxes. Currently round-trip airfares on Air Tahiti Nui start from approximately $1,000 plus taxes from Los Angles or $1,290 from New York during February and March, 2007, although you should check their website regularly as the airline is known for its huge sales and special deals.
Still on the tropical South Pacific island theme -- coup d'états aside -- Fiji is still the destination that most sun-worshipping honeymooners choose as their ultimate romantic getaway, but why wait until you are married? What you may not know is that Fiji can be really affordable, almost a budget vacation if you know how to get there and where to stay. Now that the military government has made peace with the president it overthrew, the tourism industry will be working overtime to lure visitors back (but still check for travel advisories). This is one of those travel moments when I will tell you to not settle for a package deal -- do your research and you'll be surprised by the bargains available. Fiji's national carrier Air Pacific (tel. 800/227-4446; www.airpacificusa.com) lets you sample that South Pacific hospitality as soon as you step on board. They currently have a special that lets you fly round-trip from Los Angeles to Nadi, Fiji from $754 plus taxes of approximately $250. Tickets must be purchased by January 15, 2007 and travel must be completed by March 31, 2007. For a real splurge, step up to business class for only $3,779 plus taxes. The Fiji Islands Visitor Bureau website (www.bulafiji.com) provides listings of several hundred accommodation options, including everything from hostels and backpackers to luxurious private resorts and private villas. In the mid-range ($42 to $180 per day), you will find the four-star ocean front Bedarra Inn (www.bedarrafiji.com), an intimate hotel located about one hour's drive from Nadi airport on the Coral Coast. Stay here between now and March 31, 2007 and pay only $69 per night per couple for a traditional bure (bungalow) with a king sized bed or $87 in a king sized deluxe room. On the island of Savusavu, a 50-minute round-trip flight from Nadi on Air Fiji (www.airfiji.net) costs approximately $125), try the Daku Resort (www.dakuresort.com), billed as an upscale budget resort with a combination of ocean view or private beach houses and villas. My choice would be the four-bedroom Poolhouse, priced from $115 per night for up to eight people, Lemon Tree cottage from a low $23 per night or the Lodge from $26 per night.
Yes it's far and you may only go once, but take advantage of low airfares, a favorable exchange rate and the fact that February and March are shoulder season and the best climate. These months are also peak for festivals, beach going and warmer water temperatures so what's stopping you? Air Pacific currently has the best deals to Australia flying via Fiji. Round trip fares for travel between now and May 1, 2007 start from $832 (plus taxes of up to $300) from L.A. to Sydney, or fly from L.A. to Brisbane or Melbourne start from $908 plus taxes. Tickets must be purchased by February 1, 2007. Alternatively, Qantas (tel. 800/227-4603; www.qantasusa.com) is still offering its Aussie AirPass that lets you fly to three different Australian cities within a particular zone with prices starting at $1,499 plus taxes for flights from L.A., Honolulu or San Francisco during the months of February and March, 2007. Cities included in this promotion are Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast, Hobart and Launceston. If you are willing to travel during May 2007 the price is a low $1,099 plus taxes. Also, check in with Air New Zealand, United and Air Tahiti Nui websites for regular Australia airfare specials.
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