Travel Steals & Deals


Europe a la carte
Travelers who insist on planning their own itineraries but who also want the savings offered by travel packages now have an ally in British Airways Holidays (800-247-9297). The company's inventive "Create Your Own Vacation" program offers discounted prices for hotels, car-rentals, and land activities coupled with the ability to choose your own destinations, itineraries, and schedules. Travelers need only purchase their airfare from British Airways and then are free to build personalized packages from the following components: hundreds of hotels with prices beginning at $39 a person a night; Hertz car rentals at rates starting at $18 per day with unlimited mileage; and a cornucopia of continental sightseeing tours, day trips, theater evenings, and dining options. Prices are valid through October 31.

Historic getaways
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has bundled American heritage into dozens of "Historic Getaways" packages. Included are special programs hosted by properties such as The Peabody, in Memphis; the Green Mountain Inn, in Stowe, Vermont; The Tremont House, in Galveston, Texas; and the Hotel Jerome, in Aspen, Colorado. One example: the June 14-17 "Great River Road Package" at the St. James Hotel, in Red Wing, Minnesota. For $225 a person, travelers explore the Mississippi River towns of Minnesota and Wisconsin and also receive: a three-night stay with breakfast; free parking and maps; a disposable camera; and a picnic basket. When reservations are booked through the "Historic Getaways" number (800-678-8946), three percent of the package prices are donated to the National Trust.

Discovering Ireland
Ireland is an increasingly popular destination and many tour operators now promote introductory itineraries to the Emerald Isle. Collette Tours (800-832-4656), for example, offers an escorted 8-night trip that features: accommodations; daily breakfast and most dinners; visits to Shannon, Limerick, Killarney, Waterford, and Dublin and sightseeing along the Ring of Kerry, and at the Cliffs of Moher. Departures are scheduled through November; prices begin at $799 a person, excluding airfare. The 6-night "Irish Discovery" package from CIE Tours International (800-243-8687) features a similar escorted tour and includes roundtrip airfare from New York or Boston. Prices start at $1,393 a person and departures are scheduled through October 3.

The resort life
Wyndham properties (800-996-3426) in the United States and the Caribbean have introduced dozens of valuable special offers that sharply reduce the cost of playing and staying at an elegant resort. One example: "the Surf and Sand Package," available until December 21, at the beachfront Wyndham Aruba Beach Resort & Casino. For $283 a person, the package includes three nights of accommodations, a one-day jeep rental; free tennis; boat rides and cruises; and casino coupons. Other Wyndham resorts are located in St. Thomas; St. Lucia; Jamaica; California; Colorado; and Washington.

All price quotes are based on double occupancy.

This column originally appeared in Travel Holiday magazine.

Copyright 1993-2008 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.