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Scotland for ‘Water Horse’ fans

Discover Loch Ness, and go on a tour picture-hunting for the monster, in this air/land/car vacation package.
Image: Loch Lomond Nominated For Natural Wonder Crown
Tourists visit the banks of Loch Lomond April in Scotland. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

The Real Deal: Six nights' accommodations, international airfare, and a seven-day car rental from $1,115 per person — plus airfare and car-rental taxes of at least $372.

When: Mar. 1-31, 2008; add $124 for Dec. 21, 2007-Feb. 28, 2008; $254 for April 1-30; $304 for May 1-31; $514 for June 1-30; additional dates available.

Gateways: New York City and Boston.

Book by: No deadline; based on availability.

The fine print: No booking fee. Breakfast daily is included. Airline taxes start at $190, depending on your departure city. Price includes lodging taxes. Rental-car collision insurance costs roughly an additional $26 per day per car, and is offered at the rental-car company's counter. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $320. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.

Contact: Dooley Vacations, 877/331-9301 ($25 fee for reservations booked by phone),

Why it's a deal: The package price offers a savings of up to 40 percent off the peak-season rates and roughly 10 to 15 percent off the cost of booking a rental car and B&Bs on your own for travel in the winter.

Trip details: The Dooley Vacations car/hotel package capitalizes on the popularity of the movie “The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep,” which is set in Scotland. The package includes an economy-class, three-door, manual-shift car from Alamo and six nights' accommodations. For three nights of the trip, you can choose your own lodging from a list of about 450 B&Bs throughout the country, using vouchers for payment. For three other nights of the strip, you stay at in Edinburgh at the luxurious MacDonald Holyrood Hotel, a 156-room property, which is located in a major park and a few blocks from Waverly Station and the center of town. (Upgrades to other hotels are available.)

The seven-day car rental gives you the freedom to explore the island. A manual-shift car is included, but most Americans will feel more comfortable driving in the left-hand lane if they have an automatic transmission. Upgrade to an automatic for about $42 per week per person. Note that you'll pick up the car and drop it off at the airport. If you pick the car up at noon, you'll need to set the drop-off time for before noon, seven days later, or you'll be charged for another 24-hour segment — in euros.

The package includes a few other perks, such as the in Edinburgh (where you don special eyewear to see a film about the monster), the four-hour Jacobite Sensation cruise on Loch Ness, and a Historic Scotland Pass that offers discounted admission to national historic sites, such as the restored ancient fortress Edinburgh Castle.

Keep in mind that Scotland's average winter temperatures are in the 40s. Dress for light rainfall, as drizzles fall more than 250 days a year. Before you go, check the weather forecast, the exchange rate, and the local time at For more info, visit Scotland's official tourism Web site. Tourism officials have created a special Web site tied in to the movie called