Troy Tours (tel. 800/748-6878; www.troytours.com), which specializes in travel to Turkey, is offering a great five-night package to Istanbul and Cappadocia this winter, from $999 including airfare.
This trip splits time between the city of Istanbul and the Cappadocia region, known for its lunar-like landscape formed by centuries of erosion from wind and rain. Start off in Istanbul, where a Troy Tours representative will then transfer you to the Gamirasu Cave Hotel in Cappadocia. This hotel contains 30 restored rooms of a troglodyte cave house; it's a former Byzantine monastic retreat that has been rehabbed and equipped with modern conveniences. Get to know this unusual area a bit better with a guided tour of the Cappadocia valley in central Turkey, including the underground city of Kaymakli and the Göreme open-air museum, comprised of rocks that have formed into hundreds of minaret-like shapes.
You'll spend the last three days of your trip in Istanbul, with most of the time to explore on your own. Stay at Hotellino, in the old town not far from St. Sophia and the Grand Bazaar, where you can choose among thousands of vendors and shops. Make time to visit the stunning Blue Mosque.
Know that the weather will likely be as cold as it is in New York City in January, which means temperatures that average in the 30s. If you can deal with the cold, it's fairly easy to see why this is such a great value. According to a Kayak search, a multi-stop airfare with an itinerary that includes the domestic flights within Turkey starts at $1,502 per person. Nightly rates start at €130 ($174) for the deluxe cave room, or $348 for two nights for two people. Hotellino Istanbul will cost €45-€52 ($60-$69) per person per night for a standard room, including taxes. If booked separately, the hotels would cost at least $354-$381 per person.
If you booked airfare and hotels separately, you'd expect to pay at least $1,859-$1,886, not including the Turkey visa. The Troy Tours package costs $1,116, including government taxes and fees -- that's a savings of $743-$770, plus you also receive a guided tour of Cappadocia.
Trip Type: Air-inclusive; escorted/hosted tour
What the Quoted Price Gets You: Nonstop flights from New York-JFK to Istanbul; five nights' hotel (two in Cappadocia and three in Istanbul); domestic flights within Turkey; arrival transfer in Istanbul; private transfers in Cappadocia; private Cappadocia Valley tour with lunch; breakfast daily; and fuel surcharges.
What Else You'll Have to Pay: Government taxes and fees of $117 per person; visa fee for Turkey, $20; gratuities to drive and guide (your discretion)
Book By: Jan. 1, 2012
When: Wednesdays and Saturdays in January (starting Jan. 7), February and March 2012
Single Supplement: $550
Other Gateways: Washington, D.C.-Dulles (from $1,149), Chicago (from $1,199), Los Angeles (from $1,299)
Other Details: All prices are per person and, if lodging is a component of the package, based upon two people traveling together (unless otherwise noted). The prices listed are general starting rates; see "What Else You'll Have to Pay" for details about associated taxes and fees. Base-prices, taxes, and fees can vary based on point of departure and time of travel. Blackout dates may apply. Trip add-ons like sightseeing tours and meal plans may also increase the price. Check with the tour operator for additional gateways. The single supplement is the extra cost that a solo traveler would pay to book the deal.