The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare on Air France; eight nights' accommodations; breakfast daily; a four-night manual-transmission car rental from Hertz with unlimited mileage, maps, and guides; second-class rail tickets between Oxford and London; and hotel taxes and fees and fuel surcharges, from $1,179 per person — plus about $220 in airport taxes.
When: Jan. 4-March 23, 2009.
Gateways: New York City; add $30 for Boston, $80 for D.C., $130 for Atlanta, $150 for Kansas City, $200 for Seattle, $230 for Denver, and $320 for Las Vegas; additional gateways available.
The fine print: Does not include airport taxes and fees of about $220 per person. Based on double occupancy; single supplement from $340. There is a $35 per person surcharge each way for travel Fridays through Sundays. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: Air France, 800/237-2623, airfranceholidays.com.
Why it's a deal: In a recent Kayak search, we found a $512 round-trip flight between New York City and London in mid-January (US Airways). We also priced a four-night car rental, which would cost about $93 per person (AutoEurope). For an additional $794 per person, including all taxes, Air France is taking care of your airfare and car rental, as well as the accommodations, breakfast daily, and rail tickets between Oxford and London, all in one booking. Also consider that the trip price breaks down to about $175 per person per night.
Lodging: One night at the Woodfalls Inn near Salisbury, two nights at the Talbot Inn in Bath, one night at the Mary Arden Inn in Stratford-upon-Avon, two nights at the Dog House Hotel in Oxford, and two nights at the Bayswater Inn in London.
Itinerary: In this part-self-drive and part-train trip, Experience Historic England, you'll land in London and collect your rental car, and then drive west to Salisbury (about 75 miles away) and eventually on to Bath (about 40 miles), with a stop at Stonehenge on the way. Next up is Stratford-upon-Avon (about 121 miles), the birthplace of Shakespeare and one of many quaint limestone towns in the Cotswolds. Then it's on to Oxford (about 90 miles), where you'll turn in the car and take the train to London. See the full itinerary here.
More: You can add nights in Salisbury from $57 per person per night and in London from $43 per person per night. Upgrade to an automatic transmission vehicle from $215 per reservation.
Before you go: U.S. citizens will need a valid passport for travel; a visa is not required. You'll benefit from traveling in the low season (fewer tourists), but pack some layers — January and February are the coldest months in England, with highs in the mid-40s Fahrenheit and lots of rain.