The Real Deal: A one-way overnight train ticket from Vancouver to Jasper for a private double occupancy berth, with all meals, from $373 per person (Can$447)—plus an estimated $18 in taxes.
When: Travel through Jan. 6, 2009.
The fine print: Does not include taxes of $18 (Can$22) per person. Based on single or double occupancy. The offer is only good on one-way tickets, so we suggest booking 2 one-way tickets to create a round trip. U.S. citizens will need a valid passport or passport card for travel; a visa is not required. Read before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: Dec. 11, 2008.
Contact Via Rail Canada, 888/842-7245, .
Why it's a deal: is offering 50 percent off tickets on any trips along its Vancouver to Toronto line. For example, a one-way ticket between Vancouver and Jasper would normally cost $746 per person for the Silver & Blue class, but with this promotion, you'll pay $373 instead. When you book the Silver & Blue class, all your meals are included, and you stay in a private double occupancy bedroom. This promotion gives you the opportunity to enjoy a luxury leisure-class experience—the dining car, the domed observation car with panoramic views—at a much lower rate than it would normally cost. Note that the 50 percent discount also applies to one-way Comfort-class tickets; however, dining isn't included, and there's no sleeping compartment. A Comfort-class ticket between Vancouver and Jasper costs $182 per person as of press time.
Trip details: VIA Rail's 50 percent discount applies to several routes from Toronto to Vancouver. You could make the 16-hour overnight journey from Vancouver to Jasper—a resort town in the Alberta Rockies—for $373 per person, as mentioned above.
Another fun trip is Vancouver to Edmonton, about 23 hours. A double bedroom on the Silver & Blue class will cost about $430 per person, with a permitted stop in Jasper if you so choose. Edmonton is another beautiful Canadian town in the North Saskatchewan River valley.
If you have more time, you could make the nearly three-day trip between Vancouver and Toronto; prices start at $835 per person on Silver & Blue class in a double bedroom. To stretch your legs, schedule in a multinight stopover in Jasper for no extra charge.
The Silver & Blue berth has two bunk beds that fold out—the crew will be able to help you with that. You'll also have seats in a private compartment for the daytime portion of the trip.
December in Canada is cold with temperatures as low as 1 degree Fahrenheit, and you'll likely see a few flurries—the snow-capped mountains sure make a good photo op.
For more information, see the tourism sites of , , , and .
Getting there: A recent Kayak search yielded these round-trip airfares to Vancouver in early December: $364 from San Francisco (multiple carriers), $441 from Houston (multiple carriers), $470 from Minneapolis (Northwest), $484 from Birmingham (United), $489 from Philadelphia (United), and $502 from New York City (Continental).