In the magazine world, you work on the June issue in late March. Kids start making out Christmas lists in September. In travel, you have to think ahead as well to lock in the best available prices and put your mind and work schedule at ease. With that in mind, it's already time to start thinking about your Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and other holiday travel plans.
Go Today (tel. 800/227-3235; www.go-today.com) has a long list of early booking holiday deals starting with Europe. A New Years special in Prague starting at $869 for a six-night trip including round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations. The trip departs between December 25 and 28, 2006 and includes round-trip airfare out of New York, six nights double occupancy hotel accommodations at the hotel of your choice, daily breakfast, airline fuel taxes and no hotel taxes or service charges. Other departure gateways are available for additional moneys including Philadelphia for $50, Hartford $80, Detroit for $140 and Dallas and Houston for $150. At the budget level, the Ibis Praha Smichov Hotel is located in walking distance from Prague's Wenceslas Square and the center of town. You need to book this trip by May 18, 2006.
A lot is going in Prague this New Year's. Parties, fireworks, bedlam on streets made of 16th century cobblestone. Sounds fun. For a rundown on specifics, check out www.pragueexperience.com/events/highlights/new_years_eve.asp. Expect a detailed events calendar this fall with information on where to dance, drink and revel the night through.
For a Christmas special, the City of Light illuminates during the "Joyeux Noel." Go Today's Paris Christmas Special can get you there for a six-night air/land package starting at $719. Travel is valid from December 18 to December 23, 2006 with a mandatory booking deadline of May 18, 2006. For an additional fee of $60, you can upgrade your hotel stay to the Husa Calais Montmartre in the 9th Arrondissement. Renovated in 2002, the hotel is a very short walk to the Moulin Rouge and a short distance to the Galleries Lafayette. Day trips and sightseeing excursions are available for an additional fee. Like the Prague New Year's trip, this holiday excursion leaves you free to explore on your own. Also like the Prague trip, air security fees and departure taxes are not included in the price of the package. Included in the price of the trip, though, is round-trip air out of New York, all hotel accommodations based on double occupancy travel, daily Continental breakfast, airline fuel taxes, and all hotel and service charges.
Paris shines during the Christmas season. The shops all decorate for holiday with lights and frill, and people ice skate in front of City Hall. The white lights over the bare branches of the trees lining the Champs-Elysees make like angels marking the path to a great gateway. It always seems like Christmas past when you're enjoying the holidays in Europe. The giant Christmas tree by Notre Dame is Paris's version of Rockefeller Center, and Christmas markets spread all over town from late November to after Christmas are outdoor shopping arenas selling foods, trinkets and hand-made crafts.
Taking advantage of Thanksgiving specials, travelers have long-delighted in enjoying turkey with all the trimmings or enjoying themselves without Turkey in exotic overseas destinations. Gate 1 Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; www.gate1travel.com) has Thanksgiving specials to Europe, Asia, South America and even Mediterranean and Middle East destinations. For Turkey Day in Vietnam, Gate One offers a five-night seven day Hanoi trip that includes airfare out of New York (other U.S. gateways are available for additional prices) all hotel accommodations at budget class hotels and up, daily breakfast, and airline fuel charges up to $180. Airport transfers are an extra $50 per vehicle. The seven-day trip departs on November 21, 2006, giving you a day or two of exploration before you sit down for your ex-patriot Thanksgiving experience. Additional nights and day trips are available if you want. While rooms are small, the Flower Hotel is a native experience just a five-minute drive to Hanoi's architectural throwback Old Quarter.
Believe it or not, Brazil actually celebrates Thanksgiving. Brazilian Thanksgiving began in the 1940s when the Brazilian Ambassador to the United States attended a holiday after a service at Washington's National Cathedral. Falling in love with the holiday, he imported the idea of the holiday home with him and it caught on. Gate 1's Thanksgiving special to Brazil include a seven-day package that puts you up in Rio for five-nights for $739. Also included is round-trip airfare, all hotels, daily breakfast and more airline fuel costs. Shouldn't be too hard, but you have to find your own Turkey dinner while in Brazil.
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