If your spirits start to drop just after the holidays when the lights come down and the dull gray and cold of winter is fully impressed on us, consider a change of venue to somewhere cheerier--and greener. Weeklong trips to Ireland--including your flight on Aer Lingus, B&B lodgings and a rental car with unlimited mileage--start from $483 for January through March travel from discounter CIE Tours International.
That's the base price for departures out of the East Coast (NYC, Boston or Baltimore). Departures out of Chicago start from $565 and out of the West Coast (LA or San Francisco) begin at $665. All flights are on Aer Lingus. (If you don't want a package, then consider the Irish carrier's current $198 roundtrip to Dublin sale going on now for travel in January and February. Just go to www.aerlingus.com for details.) Prices are per person based on two people traveling together.
There is one additional cost to this trip: collision liability insurance (CDW), which is required by law in Ireland. Figure in an extra $120 per person for the CDW for the cheapest rental car, a manual economy model (it's perfect for two people, and, besides, you don't want a car much bigger than that for the many surprisingly narrow Irish roads). The insurance costs go up gradually on a per diem basis for higher models of cars.
Valid travel dates for this price run from January 10 through March 31, 2003. Lodging is provided in rooms with private bath or shower for six nights at a choice of hundreds of bed-and-breakfast homes throughout the country. The price also includes a full Irish breakfast daily, pre-booked reservation for the first night in the Shannon area, a discount booklet offering twofer admissions at major visitor attractions, a guidebook with map, all local taxes and service charges.
If you don't like B&B stays, there are similar one-week vacations at a choice of over 200 first-class hotels and castles throughout the country as well for an additional dollars. Single supplements run $18 per day for B&B's and $29 per day for hotel stays.
For more information on this deal, go to www.cietours.com/2003vacations/go_as_you_please_ireland.htm. You can e-mail the company at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 800/CIE-TOUR.