The specific promotions described in this article have now passed, but it remains online so that the resources named will be of future use to travelers.
How much is an insider's expertise worth to you? How about if that expert is a New Yorker? How about if we're talking about Christmastime, when the city is jammed with shoppers and you might want a less-than-obvious itinerary that guides you around to experience the city during the holidays in a way that suits your interests? Untours (tel. 888/868-6871; www.untours.com), a company whose profits go toward charitable causes, has launched a new option -- the one-day untour. Right now, the company is running a special: a one-day tour of New York City during the month of December costs $99. You pay that price regardless of how big or small your group is.
According to Marilee Taussig of Untours, most people are interested in shopping, museums, the city's icons -- Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, and the like -- but you won't get stereotypical answers from lifelong New Yorkers. Natives will guide you toward the best of the best: the department store windows, the outdoor holiday markets, ice skating rinks, coffee shops that aren't crowded but serve fantastic food, and reasonable rates for a carriage ride through Central Park. A local Untours rep -- one of three lifelong New Yorkers -- will meet you upon arrival for coffee and plan your itinerary with you. Or you can opt to work out the itinerary ahead of time. Once you're set on what you're doing, you are free to explore the city at your leisure -- hence the company's name "untour." If you have any questions as you're proceeding through the day, your Untour guide is still available for consult. And if you enjoy it so much that you want more, Taussig says the one-day event serves "as an appetizer that is designed to help people fall in love with this wonderful city so that they come back for 'the main course' -- a week-long New York Untour, with our local experts as support and a wonderful apartment."