<A NAME="b">Beijing</a>

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on November 10, 2005. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Austin, Beijing, Germany, Jessica Labrencis, Paris, seasonality, vacation package, Vancouver.

Beijing

While Beijing's winter weather is not considered ideal by many travelers, the off-peak prices may make the temperatures more bearable. In winter, Beijing is relatively tourist-free, except, of course, during the weeks of the Chinese New Year celebrations in late January and early February.

Because winter is Beijing's off-peak travel season, visitors can see major historical sites such as Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Summer Palace without the hordes of tourists that flock to the sites in July and August. After the Chinese New Year celebrations in February, visitors can enjoy the Lantern Festival, in which thousands of lanterns are lit all over the country, and celebrations that include dancing and theater performances. If the winter cold is too much, several hot springs lie not too far from Beijing.

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In recent weeks, airlines including Continental and United have offered late fall and winter sales to Beijing, starting at $650 round-trip. Recent Beijing vacation packages started at $699. We compared off-peak winter flights with peak late spring flights and found savings of up to 28 percent.

Route Winter fare Spring fare
Los Angeles to Beijing $846 $1,021
New York (JFK) to Beijing $860 $1,092
Seattle to Beijing $882 $1,098
Washington, D.C. (Dulles), to Beijing $963 $1,343

Winter fares are based on travel between February 15 and 22, 2006, and spring fares are based on travel between June 14 and 21, 2006. Prices were found on Travelocity's website and include taxes and fees.

Find low fares to Beijing by visiting SmarterTravel.com's Asia airfare section, and look for vacation packages on the SmarterTravel.com Asia vacation section. For more information on visiting Beijing, see Beijing Portal's website. Top

Germany

Germany, along with the rest of Europe, experiences a dip in tourism during the winter months, particularly after the December Christmas markets close. Airfare prices also drop, so visitors can save money and soak up the atmosphere in Germany's cities and countryside without contending with the crowds that will return in spring and summer.

This winter, there are noteworthy celebrations and events in several regions of Germany. Many parts of the world will celebrate the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth in 2006. A range of musical events will take place in January and February in Germany, including events in Berlin, Dresden, and Munich.

In February, several German cities also stage elaborate Carnival celebrations, complete with parades, music, costumes, and food. Some of the larger celebrations will occur in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Dusseldorf.

Visitors to Berlin may be interested in visiting the newly erected Holocaust memorial (the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe). Guided tours in English are available on Sundays for 3€ (about $3.55, depending on exchange rate).

This fall, we've seen Germany sales from Icelandair, Lufthansa, and US Airways starting as low as $360 round-trip. We compared off-peak winter flights with prices for flights in the late spring and found savings of up to 61 percent.

Route Winter fare Spring fare
Atlanta to Munich $445 $1,150
Boston to Frankfurt $497 $904
Los Angeles to Munich $553 $1,074
Minneapolis to Frankfurt $515 $1,144

Winter fares are based on travel between February 15 and 22, 2006, and spring fares are based on travel between June 14 and 21, 2006. Prices were found on Travelocity's website and include taxes and fees.

Keep track of Germany airfare deals by checking SmarterTravel.com's Europe airfare section. Check the SmarterTravel.com vacation section for the latest vacation packages. For more information on traveling to Germany, see the Germany Tourism website. Top

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