Before you start thinking that because we're showing you European travel deals for Thanksgiving Frommers.com is comprised of a bunch of tradition-disrespecting Yankees, let us promise: Next week we will cover Thanksgiving deals on our own turf. There are simply too many deals to Europe to pass up, and plenty of reasons to go: you're swimming against the travel tide by leaving the country instead of flying around it or driving on its clogged highways, and you're traveling to Europe at a time when prices typically drop. There can also be some allure to shirking familial duties in favor of a seemingly once-in-a-lifetime chance for non-traditional Thanksgiving travel. Or you can certainly cajole the rest of your extended clan to join you for an unforgettable, if somewhat anachronistic, Thanksgiving holiday overseas.
British Airways (tel. 800/AIRWAYS; www.britishairways.com) has a worldwide fare sale running at the moment, with prices to Europe from New York City that start from $169 one way to London, $221 to Prague, and $218 to Paris, for example. Taxes and fees are not included. A quick search of departures for November 21 and 22 revealed a cost of $169; returning flights that depart London on Friday, Saturday or Sunday cost $199 but you can save $30 by returning home on Monday, November 27. British Airways has that great calendar that shows you exactly how much your flight costs on a day-to-day basis. You must book by October 11. You don't have to travel over Thanksgiving, either -- the deal is good for travel through March 25, but it does exclude December 20-24 from New York-JFK and Newark to London.
If you've never flown anything but coach, Continental Airlines (tel. 800/231-0856; www.continental.com) is offering a special sale on business class fares for travel November 18-24, and again December 16-January 5 that might change your mind. The deal is especially noteworthy because most fare sales typically blackout the days leading up to and following major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. You must book by October 25 and complete your travel by November 30 for the Thanksgiving travel period, and must book by December 6, 2006, for Christmas season travel. One-way fares include New York and Newark to Belfast, Northern Ireland from $546, New York/Newark to Berlin from $575, and other cities, such as Edinburgh, Stockholm, Brussels, Copenhagen, and Oslo are included. The special also lists departures from another big Continental hub, Houston, with one-way prices to London from $715 and to Amsterdam from $725.
Brussels, Belgium (tel. 212/758-8130; www.visitbelgium.com) is no doubt one of the top gastronomic cities in the world, and although you could very easily enjoy your Thanksgiving by eating moules and frites (that's mussels and fries), if you're feeling a little lost without a turkey and all the trimmings, the American Club of Brussels (tel. 32/0-2-219-58-08; www.americanclubbrussels.org), an 80-year-old professional and social organization for Americans in Brussels, holds an annual Thanksgiving dinner. It takes place on November 23 at the Sheraton Brussels hotel; if you're under 30, the membership fee is 70Â? per year with no administration fee. Attempts to determine dinner cost for members and/or nonmembers were unsuccessful at press time.
Go-Today (tel. 800/227-3235; www.go-today.com) is offering a few trips to Europe for Thanksgiving. The special three-night, air-inclusive trip to London for Thanksgiving is priced from $499 for the budget hotel option. At these prices, it is worth it to upgrade to a standard hotel, priced from $559, which is still great. You must book by October 17 and travel is good on November 22, the day before Thanksgiving. The price is based on travel from new York-JFK (others are possible for additional fee), and it includes daily continental breakfast, airline fuel surcharges, hotel taxes and services charges; airport taxes and fees are not included.
If Paris interests you, Go-Today also has a Paris Thanksgiving Getaway. Three nights plus roundtrip airfare from Newark, New Jersey are priced from $549, for travel November 22 with a purchase deadline of October 17. The price reflects a budget hotel; upgrade to a tourist hotel for $649, based on double occupancy. As with the London trip, continental breakfast is included, along with hotel taxes and service charges and airline fuel surcharges, but not airport taxes and fees.
Finally, Go-Today has a Rome Thanksgiving Getaway starting from $649 per person based on double occupancy for a budget priced hotel, for three nights, roundtrip airfare from either New York-JFK or Newark, NJ, with the same benefits as the other two trips the company's offering. Book by October 17.
Although Go-Today and Gate 1 Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; www.gate1travel.com) both offer a Paris trip, Gate 1's starting price is $499 for four nights for a trip that departs November 19. (This means you'll have to leave Paris the day after Thanksgiving.) Gate 1 also gives you a slew of options for all over Europe and indeed, all over the world, for Thanksgiving travel.
- Europe: Madrid, from $599, with departures November 20, 21 and 22; Lisbon from $649, with departures November 20, 21 and 22; six-day Amsterdam from $699, with departures November 20, 21 and 22. All deals include four nights, roundtrip airfare and daily breakfast; prices are computed based on New York departures.
- Mediterranean: Six days in Athens from $659, with November 21 & 22 departures, six days in Istanbul from $729 with November 21 & 22 departures and accommodation sin a first class hotel. Both prices reflect New York City departures.
- Asia: Eight days in Bangkok from $889 (six nights, airfare and breakfast daily) with a November 20 departure; seven days in Bali from $1,139 (five nights, airfare, breakfast daily) and a November 21 departure from Los Angeles.
All of this gets even more confusing when you consider that European Destinations (tel. 877/267-2247; www.europeandestinations.com) has a huge sale to major cities on Thanksgiving in Europe for air plus five nights, making a straight price-per-day comparison nearly impossible. These deals, though, do not include breakfast and do not include air taxes. All the deals this company lists are for a November 22 check-in and November 27 departure, starting as low as $349 per person from New York City to Prague, for example, and go as high as L.A. to Vienna for $885. Amsterdam, Madrid, Paris, London, Florence, Barcelona, Rome and Venice are included.
European Destinations also has a flexible air, land and train trip to Copenhagen and Stockholm, which includes six nights' accommodations (three in each city), international roundtrip airfare, daily breakfast, hotel taxes and the high speed train from Copenhagen to Stockholm. The site lists best prices for this deal from Chicago, Miami, New York from $1,109, L.A. from $1,199 and Houston from $1,239; Thanksgiving week prices start from $1,129.
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