Rio de Janeiro
John Brecher  /  Special to msnbc.com
If you’d like to start next year dancing to samba’s seductive rhythms, pack your bags for Rio de Janeiro.
updated 9/25/2008 9:28:29 AM ET 2008-09-25T13:28:29

Book by: October 16, 2008
Travel by: Various dates in January 2009

The deal
What are you doing New Year’s Eve? If you are eager to up the ante this year and answer the time-old question with a real zinger, you will want to check out the air/lodging combos we found to legendary celebration hotspots — Sydney, Rio and Berlin. Whichever destination you choose, don’t expect to find cut-rate bargains over the holidays. If you are looking for extreme savings, plan on traveling in November or after the first week of January. This trio of packages, however, will deliver you in time for to the party, no invitation needed. Plus, you’ll have a few spare days to shake off any jet lag. Prices for a six-day excursion start at $1,089.

Six nights in Berlin from $1,089
Join Berliners has as they take to the streets to celebrate Silvester (New Year’s Eve) in one of the largest parties in Europe. Stretching out more than a mile from the Brandenburg Gate you’ll find live bands, DJs, food, laser shows, and fireworks. A six-night trip, valid from December 21, 2008, to January 4, 2009, is available through Virgin Vacations for $1,089. The package price includes round-trip airfare, your hotel stay and continental breakfast daily. Fly from Bangor or Portland, Maine; Burlington, Vermont; Hartford, Connecticut; or Buffalo, Rochester, White Plains in New York. If prefer to see the city but avoid the hubbub, rates for travel November 1-20, 2008 and again January 5-February 19, 2009 start at $899. Whenever you go, tickets must be purchased by October 16.

Eight nights in Rio plus airfare for $1,899 and up
If you’d like to start next year dancing to samba’s seductive rhythms, pack your bags for Rio de Janeiro. Departing December 26, this 10-day trip courtesy of Gate 1 Travel gives you plenty of time to experience the carioca culture before donning your white, and meeting fellow revelers at the beach for a spectacular fireworks display in Copacabana. The package price, from $1,899, covers round-trip airfare from Miami, accommodations for eight nights and breakfast daily. Upgrading from the included tourist-category hotel in Copacabana to a superior tourist class hotel in Ipanema will add $400 to the bill. Opting for deluxe digs in Leblon will tack on a whopping $2,200.

Five-night Sydney package from $2,279
With the flight/hotel combo from Go-Today.com, you can be among the first to usher in 2009 from the banks of the picturesque harbor in Sydney, Australia. The celebration starts early with loads of entertainment and activities, the Harbour Lights boat parade and two rounds of outstanding fireworks. The package, which includes round-trip airfare and accommodations for five nights, as well as hotel taxes, is priced from $2,279. That rate is based on departures from Los Angeles or San Francisco between December 24, 2008 and January 2, 2009. Rather go sooner? You can see all the same highlights, minus the festivities from $1,579 if you travel between September 25 and December 3.

The dollars
All quotes are person, based on double occupancy, and cover fuel charges. Airport taxes and fees are not part of the packages.

The catch
Sticking to your resolutions is up to you.

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