This week's Smart Deal involves three air-inclusive fall getaways to Europe with a base price starting about $100 per person per day. Often in order to save money you have to make small sacrifices, such as location, or forgo bundled-in touring or guides. For the right traveler, trips like these offer minimal interference, maximum independence, and great savings. Please note, however, that some of the prices listed include taxes and other fees; some of them don't.
Go Today (tel. 800/227-3235; www.go-today.com) is running a special to Prague called Prague at its Best, with six days including airfare priced from $549. It's an independent special, so there are no itineraries, just days to wander a round this beautiful city, take in some music, history, architecture, and some great beer while you are there. The price is based on departures from either New York-JFK or Newark, NJ with accommodations at the Juno Hotel, a tourist class hotel located in a residential area just outside the city center; the metro is about ten minutes away and the city is about the same distance from there.
For a bit more money, you can be closer to the city center. The modern-styled Movenpick Hotel Prague is within walking distance of the Bertrama Museum, Charles Bridge and shopping and is priced from $789. Other departures are possible: For Baltimore, Boston or Washington, D.C., add on $60; for Chicago, Houston or Minneapolis, it's an additional $110. The package price covers your accommodations, daily continental breakfast, hotel taxes and service charges, airline fuel surcharges, but does not include airport taxes and fees. You must book by July 18, though. The price is also valid for Tuesday-Wednesday departures November 1 through December 15, and January 8-February 29, 2008.
Gate 1 Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; www.gate1travel.com) has a Paris Super Saver priced from $499 for four nights. The package includes airfare and fuel surcharges to Paris, four nights' accommodations, daily breakfasts, and is based on departures from New York City -- although others are possible for additional price. Airport taxes and security fee are not included, along with any optional tours you might take. The price reflects travel November 30-December 11 and December 12-13, but it is certainly not much more expensive to travel November 1-29 -- the package starts from $589. The price reflects accommodations at Villa Saint Martin, a three-star tourist hotel on a quiet side street located near Canal St-Martin.
Finally, Aer Lingus Vacations (tel. 800/495-1632; www.aerlingusvacationstore.com) has an Irish Fling priced from $619 for September travel, for departure from Washington D.C., (which starts service August 6 at Dulles), New York-JFK, Chicago, and Boston ($669). The trip includes round-trip airfare, car rental, one night hotel pre-booked in either Shannon or Dublin (depending on your choice), and four nights in farmhouse B&Bs or, for an upgrade, what the airline calls "town and country B&Bs." Either way, you'll have breakfast every morning. You must act fast, because the booking deadline is July 18. You can even extend the package for another night or two, starting from $79 per person per additional night of B&B with car rental.
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