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40 Best Bargain vacations

For December, January, and February
Moorea, Tahiti
Flights to Tahiti and nine nights on Moorea start from $1,189Photo courtesy of
/ Source: Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel

USA

Los Angeles for $785Air from D.C. or New York and six nights at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Suites in West Hollywood. When Wednesday departures Dec. 1–23, Jan.1–Feb. 2, Feb. 16–March 1. Other Gateways Boston (from $788); Charlotte, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh (from $846). Details Extra nights from $19. Single supplement from $345. Contact US Airways Vacations, 800/352-8747, usairwaysvacations.com.

Maui for $584Air from L.A. or San Francisco, five nights at the Ohana Maui Islander in Lahaina, and a Hawaii for Less guidebook and map. When Wednesday or Thursday departures Dec. 1–15 ($584), Jan. 5–27 ($594), Jan. 28–Feb. 23 ($639). Other Gateways Denver ($759/$769/$814); Chicago, New York ($859/$904/$949); D.C. ($909/$959/$1,004). Details Similar five-night packages start at $554 on Oahu (Aston Aloha Surf Hotel), $659 on Kauai (Aston Islander on the Beach), and $719 on the Big Island (Ohana Keauhou Beach Resort). Extra nights from $49. Single supplement from $169. Contact United Vacations, 888/328-6877, unitedvacations.com.

New York  for $399Air from Boston or D.C., transfers, and three nights at the Wellington Hotel on West 55th Street. When Monday departures Jan. 3–Feb. 28. Other Gateways Philadelphia, Pittsburgh (from $475); Charlotte (from $499). Details Extra nights from $80. Single supplement from $176. Upgrade to the Westin New York at Times Square starting at $200 more. Contact US Airways Vacations, 800/352-8747, usairwaysvacations.com.

Orlando for $343Air from Chicago or New York, five nights at either the Howard Johnson Parkside or the Sleep Inn Maingate (both are near Disney), a five-day car rental, and breakfast daily. When Until Dec. 20, Jan. 6–March 1. Other Gateways Atlanta, D.C. (add $49); Boston (add $59); Dallas (add $149). Details Extra nights $18. Single supplement $79. Contact Leisure Link International, 888/801-8808, eleisurelink.com.

Utah Skiing for $314
Air from L.A., Oakland, or San Jose, three nights at the Crystal Inn in Salt Lake City, and a two-day ski pass good at Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude. When Wednesday and Saturday departures Dec. 4–22, Jan. 5–Feb. 26. Other Gateways Albany, Providence, Tulsa (from $404); Cleveland, Detroit, Long Island/Islip (from $429). Details Extra nights from $85. Single supplement from $115. Contact Southwest Airlines Vacations, 800/754-8365, swavacations.com.

Canada

Montreal or Quebec City for $489Air Canada flights from Boston or New York and three nights in either Montreal (at the Best Western Europa) or Quebec City (Hôtel Manoir Victoria). When Until April 30, except Dec. 17–Jan. 5. Other Gateways Chicago ($509), Miami ($529), Atlanta ($549), L.A. ($659). Details Extra nights $55. Single supplement $169. Contact Maxxim Vacations, 800/567-6666, maxximvacations.com.

Whistler Skiing for $585
Alaska Airlines flights from L.A. or San Francisco to Vancouver, B.C.; transfers (by Perimeter Whistler Express bus, about two hours); three nights at the Marketplace Lodge; and a two-day lift pass at Whistler Blackcomb. When Sunday–Wednesday departures Jan. 3–Feb. 3. Other Gateways Boston, New York, Orlando ($838). Details Extra nights from $77 (does not include lift ticket). Single supplement from $237. Contact Alaska Airlines Vacations, 800/468-2248, alaskaair.com.

Mexico

Cabo del Sol for $549Aero California charter flights from L.A. and seven nights in a studio apartment at the oceanfront Fiesta Americana Vacation Club in Cabo del Sol, halfway between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. When Saturday departures Jan. 2–March 26. Other Gateways None. Details Upgrade to a one-bedroom for $100 more. Add $159 for taxes and service charges. No extra nights. Single supplement $200. Contact OffPeakTraveler.com, book online, offpeaktraveler.com.

Cancún for $482
Champion Air charter flights from St. Louis and seven nights at the Radisson Hacienda in Cancún. There are free shuttles to the beach. When Monday and Wednesday departures Dec. 1 and 8 ($482); Jan. 3–24 ($443); Feb. 7–21 ($489). Other Gateways Saturday departures. Minneapolis: Dec. 4 and 11 ($512); Jan. 1–22 ($573); Feb. 5–26 ($594). Detroit: Dec. 11 ($582); Jan. 15 and 22 ($543); Feb. 5 and 26 ($584). Details No extra nights. Single supplement from $210. Contact Worry-Free Vacations, 888/225-5658, worryfreevacations.com.

Mazatlán for $393Mexicana flights from L.A. and four nights at the El Cid Granada Country Club in Mazatlán’s Golden Zone (where many of the city’s most popular resorts, restaurants, and bars are), across the street from the beach. When Until Dec. 16, Jan. 6–20. Other Gateways Alternate air/hotel combos vary by date; call for information. Details Extra nights $94. Single supplement $120. Contact Pleasant Holidays, 800/448-3333, pleasantholidays.com.

Puerto Vallarta for $680TransMeridian Airlines charter flights from Chicago, transfers, and seven all-inclusive nights at the Hacienda Hotel & Spa. When Jan. 11 and 18. Other Gateways Detroit ($750, Jan. 5, 12, 19, and 26, on Ryan Airlines); Milwaukee ($875, Feb. 2 and 9; $800, Feb. 16, 23, and March 2; on Midwest Airlines). Details No extra nights. Single supplement from $260. Contact Funjet Vacations, book online or through a travel agent, funjet.com.

Caribbean

Caribbean Cruise for $465
Seven nights aboard Mediterranean Shipping Cruises’ Opera on round-trip sailings from Fort Lauderdale. Alternating eastern (Bahamas, Puerto Rico, West Indies) and western Caribbean (Mexico, Cayman Islands, Honduras) routes, depending on the date. When Dec. 4, 11; Jan. 8, 15, 29; Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26. Details Prices are for inside cabins and include port charges. Outside cabins start at $655. Contact Leisure Link International, 888/801-8808, eleisurelink.com.

Dominican Republic for $617
American Airlines flights from Miami, transfers, and five nights at the all-inclusive LTI Beach Resort in Punta Cana. When Dec. 1–17 and 25–30 (from $617); Jan. 5–31 (from $738); Feb. 1–17 and 21–24 ($767). Other Gateways New York, Philadelphia ($695/$815/$844); Baltimore, D.C. ($757/$877/$906). Details Extra nights from $51. Single supplement from $110. Contact Vacation Travel Mart, 800/288-1435, vacmart.com.

Jamaica for $599Continental or Air Jamaica flights from New York or Philadelphia and seven nights at the Crane Ridge Resort in Ocho Rios. There’s a free shuttle to the beach. When Until Feb. 15, except Dec. 17–24 and Dec. 31–Jan. 1. Other Gateways Atlanta, Baltimore ($645); Chicago ($675); L.A. ($748). Details Extra nights from $40. Single supplement from $252. Upgrade to a one- or two-bedroom apartment for $20–$30 more per night. Contact Atlas Vacations, 800/634-1057, atlasvacations.net.

Seniors’ Cruise for $999
A special 11-night sailing for seniors, round trip from San Juan aboard Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas. The itinerary includes stops at St. Maarten, St. Bart’s, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Curaçao, and Aruba. When Feb. 28. Details Only one guest per stateroom must be over 55. Price is for an inside cabin and includes port charges. Outside cabins start at $1,149. Contact GalaxSea Cruises and Tours, 800/662-5450, cruisestar.com.

Central America

Belize for $586
American Airlines flights from Miami to Belize City, local flights to Ambergris Cay, and five nights in a “sunset view room” at the beachfront Corona del Mar Hotel, with breakfast daily. When Dec. 1–9 ($586); Jan. 8–April 30 ($655). Other Gateways Dallas ($648/$717); New York ($697/$766); Chicago ($799/$868); L.A., San Francisco ($864/ $933); Seattle ($899/$968). Details Extra nights $33. Single supplement $183. Contact Capricorn Leisure, 800/426-6544, capricorn.net.

Costa Rica for $649
Vacation Express charter flights from Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Louisville, or Orlando, transfers, and seven nights at the Ocotal Beach Resort. The hotel is on a mountainside, overlooking the Papagayo Gulf. When Dec. 4 and 11 ($649); Saturday departures Jan. 8–Feb. 26 ($699). Other Gateways None. Details Seven all-inclusive nights cost $689/$749 at the El Nakuti Resort and $809/$1,049 at the Fiesta Premier Resort & Spa in Papagayo. No extra nights. Single supplement from $110 (El Nakuti), from $310 (Ocotal), from $330 (Fiesta). Contact Vacation Express, 877/784-3786, vacationexpress.com.

Panama for $799
American Airlines flights from Miami, transfers, six nights’ hotel (two at the Radisson Decapolis in Panama City and four at the all-inclusive Royal Decamerón Playa Blanca), and a Panama City tour including the Canal and the Miraflores Locks. When Wednesday or Thursday departures until Dec. 9 ($799); Dec. 10–23 ($1,060); Dec. 24–Jan. 2 ($1,483); Jan. 3–Feb. 28 ($898). Other Gateways Dallas, New Orleans (add $40); Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Orlando (add $60); Baltimore, Boston, Hartford, New York, Philadelphia (add $80); Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit (add $170); Denver, San Juan (add $220); L.A., San Francisco, Seattle (add $270). Details Extra nights from $60. Single supplement from $200. Contact Tara Tours, 800/327-0080, taratours.com.

South America

Brazil for $959A Varig or Tam flight from Miami to Recife (via São Paulo), three nights at the Best Western Hotel Manibu, air from Recife to Salvador, four nights at the Salvador Praia Hotel, and a return flight from Salvador to Miami. The package also includes transfers, breakfast daily, two city tours, and a folkloric show with dinner. When Until April 30, except Dec. 15–Jan. 15 (add $100). Feb. 4–9 blacked out for Carnaval. Other Gateways New York ($1,155); Chicago, L.A. ($1,195). Details Extra nights $55. Single supplement $300. Contact Marnella Tours, 866/993-0033, marnellatours.com.

Buenos Aires for $569Copa Airlines flights from Miami, transfers, five nights at the Regis Hotel (near the pedestrian-only shopping district) with breakfast daily, and a half-day city tour. When Until Dec. 13 and Jan. 8–March 31. Other Gateways New York (add $130), San Francisco (add $210). Details Extra nights $20. Single supplement $120. Stop over in Panama City for $122 (includes transfers, one night’s lodging with breakfast, and a half-day tour of the Canal). Contact Escapes Unlimited, 800/243-7227, escapesltd.com.

Peru for $790
LanPeru flights from Miami, six nights’ lodging (four in Cuzco at the Terra Andina Hotel, one in Aguas Calientes at the Machu Picchu Inn, and one in Lima at the El Carmel Hotel), breakfast daily, all transfers and flights between Cuzco and Lima, and a full-day tour to Machu Picchu by train with lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge. When Until Dec. 14 and Jan. 11–31. Other Gateways New York (add $100), L.A. (add $180), Atlanta (add $112), San Francisco (add $250). Details Extra nights from $25. Single supplement $150. Contact Analie Tours, 800/811-6027, analietours.com.

Europe

French Riviera for $499
Air from New York to Nice and six nights with breakfast daily at the Hotel De Kent, a short walk from the Place Masséna, Old Nice, and the waterfront. Cannes and Monaco are less than an hour away by train. When Jan. 6–March 13. Other Gateways Boston, D.C., Philadelphia, Pittsburgh ($549); Atlanta ($599); Chicago, Dallas, Miami ($649); Denver, L.A., Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle ($679). Details Extra nights $52. Single supplement $200. Contact Go-today.com, 425/487-9632, go-today.com.

Amsterdam for $399Air from New York and four nights at the Tulip Inn Amsterdam Art Hotel, in the Westerpark area, not far from the city center. When Jan. 6–March 13. Other Gateways Baltimore, Boston, D.C., Philadelphia ($459); Atlanta, Detroit ($499); Chicago, Houston, Miami ($549); Dallas, Phoenix ($579); L.A., San Francisco, Seattle ($599). Details Extra nights $46. Single supplement $200. Contact Go-today.com, 425/487-9632, go-today.com.

Austria & Croatia for $1,650An Austrian Airlines flight from New York (one way) to either Klagenfurt or Salzburg, Austria; transfers to Katschberg; seven nights at either the Funimation or Hubertus hotels, near the ski slopes, with all meals included; five nights in Opatija, Croatia, at the four-star Grand Hotel, with breakfast and dinner daily; and an Austrian Airlines flight back to New York from your choice of Venice (Italy), Zagreb (Croatia), or Ljubljana (Slovenia). When Until March 31, except Dec. 18–Jan. 8 and Feb. 5–12. Other Gateways D.C. (add $60); Atlanta (add $80); Miami (add $85); L.A., San Francisco (add $170). Details Extra nights from $79. Single supplement $260. Add $155–$380 for transfers from Austria to Opatija and from Opatija to your departure city (range covers both private and public transportation). Ski packages, including lift tickets and equipment rental, can also be arranged for Katschberg. Contact Travel Time, 800/354-8728, traveltimeny.com.

Rome for $399
Air from New York and four nights at the Center Hotel, within walking distance of Santa Maria Maggiore (one of the great ancient basilicas of Rome) and the Termini train station. When Jan. 5, 12, 19, 26 ($399); Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23 ($419). Other Gateways Boston (add $66), Miami (add $98), L.A. (add $172). Details This is a cash-discount price; add 3 percent for credit card payments. Extra nights from $62. Single supplement from $121. Contact Gate 1 Travel, 800/682-3333, gate1travel.com.

Spain for $669
Iberia flights from New York to Madrid and three nights at the Hotel Florida Norte, near the Palacio Real. Then spend three more nights at three- or four-star hotels in Barcelona, Bilbao, Valencia, or on the Costa del Sol (flights from Madrid to the destination of your choice are included). When Until Dec. 14 and Jan. 1–March 31 ($669); Dec. 15–31 ($869). Other Gateways Chicago ($798/$899). Details Extra nights in Madrid from $35. Single supplement $210. Contact Petrabax, 800/265-4842, petrabaxusa.com.

Turkey Tour for $1,939
Air from Boston or New York to Istanbul, transfers, 17 nights’ hotel, breakfast daily, 15 dinners, local transportation by private bus, and sightseeing with a tour director and local guide. The 19-day itinerary includes five nights in Istanbul; two each in Canakkale, Kusadasi, Pamukkale, Antalya; three in Cappadocia; and one in Ankara. When Feb. 18, March 11 and 18 ($1,939); April 8 and May 6 ($2,399). Other Gateways D.C., Philadelphia ($2,014/$2,474); Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham ($2,049/$2,509); Charlotte, Dallas, Minneapolis ($2,069/$2,529); Denver, New Orleans, Phoenix, St. Louis ($2,089/$2,549); L.A., San Francisco, Seattle ($2,119/$2,579). Details No extra nights. Single supplement $544. Contact Go Ahead Vacations, 888/462-4323, goaheadvacations.com.

Vienna for $429
Austrian Airlines flights from New York or D.C. and three nights at the Austria Trend Hotel Albatros with breakfast daily. The hotel is a short metro ride from the city center. When Until Dec. 9; Jan. 4–March 31. Other Gateways None. Details Extra nights $49. Single supplement $69. Contact Austrian Airlines Vacations, 800/790-4682, austrianair-vacations.com.

Africa

Cairo for $899
Air from Miami or New York and five nights at the Sofitel Le Sphinx (near the pyramids at Giza), with breakfast daily. When Nov. 30–Dec. 16 ($899); Dec. 17–20 ($1,009); Dec. 21–23 ($1,169); Dec. 24–25 ($1,059); Dec. 26–30 ($1,509); Dec. 31–Jan. 2 ($1,059); Jan. 3–26 ($899); Jan. 27–March 13 ($949). Other Gateways L.A. (add $91). Details These are cash-discount prices; add 3 percent for credit card payments. Extra nights from $72. Single supplement from $131. Contact Gate 1 Travel, 800/682-3333, gate1travel.com.

Zanzibar for $1,875
Air from Boston, D.C., or New York to London (Virgin Atlantic) and from London to Zanzibar (via Nairobi on Kenya Airways); transfers; six nights at the beachfront Tembo House Hotel in Stone Town; breakfast daily; and a full-day tour of the island. When Until Dec. 9 and Jan.11–May 31. Other Gateways Miami ($100); L.A., San Francisco ($150). Details Extra nights $80. Single supplement $250. Add $20 to upgrade to the Emerson & Green Hotel. Stop over in Nairobi for free, and take 10 percent off any safari 2Afrika offers in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, or Ethiopia. (Discount applies to land arrangements only. Five-night safaris in Kenya start at $895 including transfers, lodging, game drives, and all meals. Single supplement $295.) Stopovers in London are permitted in both directions, $75 per stop. Contact 2Afrika, 877/200-5610, 2afrika.com.

Asia

Bali for $829Cathay Pacific flights from L.A. or San Francisco, transfers, five nights’ hotel with breakfast daily, and a half-day temple tour. Choose five nights in one place or in a combination of three: Sanur Beach (Ari Putri Hotel), Kuta (Bakung Beach Cottages), and Ubud (Sri Bungalows). When Dec. 1–13 and Dec. 24– March 31. Other Gateways Seattle (add $50); New York (add $80); Boston, Denver, Philadelphia (add $160); Fort Lauderdale, Miami (add $210). Details Free stopovers in Hong Kong. Extra nights $20. Single supplement $120. Contact Escapes Unlimited, 800/243-7227, escapesltd.com.

China Tour for $999Air China flights from San Francisco to Beijing, nine nights in three- or four-star hotels, one overnight on a train, most meals, and all local transportation. The itinerary includes stops in Beijing, Jinan, Tai’an, Qufu, Suzhou, and Shanghai. When Dec. 3, 10; Jan. 18, 25; Feb. 18, 25; March 18. Other Gateways L.A. (add $100); Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, Seattle (add $120); many cities in the South, East, and Midwest (add $280). Details Extra-night costs vary. Single supplement from $220. Contact China Focus, 800/868-7244, chinafocustravel.com.

Hong Kong for $699ANA (All Nippon Airways) flights from L.A. or San Francisco, transfers, and five nights at the Majestic Hotel on Nathan Road in Kowloon. When Until Feb. 28, except Dec. 17–25 and Feb. 1–9. Other Gateways Chicago (add from $150), New York (add from $200). Details Extra nights from $56. Single supplement from $235. Contact Octopus Travel, 877/330-7765, octopusvacations.com.

Thailand Tour for $1,395
Singapore Airlines flights from L.A. to Bangkok (via Singapore), transportation between cities, 13 nights’ lodging, some meals, and an English-speaking guide throughout. The 17-day itinerary includes a night in a floating bungalow on the River Kwai; a two-day trek by foot, elephant, and raft near Chiang Mai; and two nights on the tropical island of Samet. When Dec. 17 (add $200); Jan. 14, Feb. 11, March 18, April 15, May 20 ($1,395). Other Gateways New York ($1,495). Details Land-only price $1,095. Prices for extra nights are by request. Single supplement $225. Contact Djoser, 877/356-7376, djoserusa.com.

South Pacific

Fiji for Families, $5,099Air Pacific flights from L.A. to Nandi, transfers, and seven nights in an ocean-view bure at the Sonaisali Island Resort, with breakfast daily. When Dec. 29–Mar. 31 ($5,099), Dec. 5–28 ($5,199). Other Gateways San Francisco (add $125), Chicago (add $430), New York (add $455). Details These are total prices for two adults and two kids ages 2–11, including airfare. Call for other adult/child combination prices. Extra nights from $138. Contact Newmans South Pacific Vacations, 888/592-6224, newmansvacations.com.

Moorea for $1,189
Air Tahiti Nui flights from L.A. to Papeete, Tahiti, inter-island flights, nine nights at the Club Bali Hai on Moorea, and welcome and farewell leis. When Friday departures until Dec. 12 ($1,189), Jan. 25– March 25 ($1,249). Other Gateways None. Details Extra nights from $50. Single supplement from $420. Contact Tahiti Legends, 800/200-1213, tahitilegends.com.

Australia & New Zealand

Australia for $1,969
Qantas flights from L.A. to Sydney, domestic air in Australia, four nights in Sydney, and four nights in either Brisbane or Melbourne. Add $200 for Sydney/Cairns or Sydney/Adelaide/Kangaroo Island. When Wednesday departures Dec. 6–12 and Dec. 30–Feb. 23; Dec. 13–29 (add 10 percent). Other Gateways New York (add $375). Details Extra nights from $80. Single supplement from $350. Contact Qantas Airways, 888/505-6252, qantasusa.com.

New Zealand for $999
Air Tahiti Nui flights from L.A. to Auckland, transfers, and an eight-day campervan rental. When Wednesday departures Dec. 1–15 and March 1–31 ($999); Dec. 16–Feb. 28 ($1,127). Other Gateways None. Details These are cash-discount prices; add $35 for credit card payments. Extra days with campervan from $90. Single supplement from $360. Contact Sunspots International, 800/334-5623, sunspotsintl.com.