The Deal Detective is SmarterTravel.com's resident bargain hunter, Kate Hamman. She's always on the lookout for new travel deals and invites you, dear reader, to submit your own questions.
Times are tough and money is tight, so for this week's column I've rounded up all my usual deal suspects (and several new ones) to bring you an incredible list of travel bargains for under $1,000 each. So if you're on the fence about where to spend your remaining vacation days in 2008 or whether to travel at all in 2009, read this first. Prices listed below do not include taxes and fees.
You may know the song, "I love Paris in the springtime," but really any time of year is a good time for the City of Light, especially with EuropeASAP's Paris eight-day package starting at $899 per person, which includes round-trip airfare from New York City (other departure cities are available) and six nights' hotel. Travel is valid through March, but book by December 1.
If you've ever wanted to find out firsthand the difference between Istanbul and Constantinople, Gate 1 Travel makes it easy. For $799, you can fly round-trip from New York City (other departure cities are available), and spend four nights learning about Istanbul. Daily breakfast is included in the package price.
Gate 1 Travel also gives you the opportunity to explore ancient ruins of Athens, with its vacation package starting at $779 per person that includes round-trip airfare from New York City (other departure cities are available) and lodging.
When the winter winds start to howl, dreams of sunny vacation spots beckon. With Latin Destinations, you can make that dream a reality with a January trip to Guatemala. Spend seven nights exploring Antigua, Flores-Tikal, and Guatemala City for only $719 per person. Package includes airfare from New York City (other departure cities are available), domestic flights, daily breakfast, and hotel.
If you'd prefer to lounge on the beach, Funjet Vacations has a four-night Bermuda deal starting at $629 to help get your feet wet. The package includes airfare from Boston, and lodging at a four-and-a-half star resort. Different deals from other departure cities are available.
For the best of both worlds, you can go to Jamaica for four nights with CheapCaribbean.com. Book by November 15 for packages that start at $569 per person, and include round-trip airfare from Miami (other departure cities are available) and lodging at an all-inclusive resort. Plus, you can save an extra $100 by using the promo code NOWLATER.
Don't have a passport? Look no further than BeachDestinations.com's San Juan four-night packages. Prices start at $513, and include round-trip airfare from Miami (other departure cities are available) and lodging.
If you're in the mood for something a bit more tropical, Pleasant Holidays makes it oh-so-affordable to visit Hawaii. Three-night stays on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island start at $349, and include airfare from San Francisco (no other departure cities are listed) for travel in January.
For something a bit more far-flung, European Destinations gives you Budapest starting at only $309 per person for a three-night stay and round-trip airfare from New York City (other departure cities are available).
Finally, Spirit Vacations brings the bright lights of Las Vegas to you for only $199 per person. Now, you can fly to Sin City from Detroit (other departure cities are available) and stay for three nights without going into debt (gambling not included).
If cheap just isn't cheap enough, here are a few deals that would make any Scrooge smile.
There are, of course, countless other great deals out there. If you've found one you think I or your fellow readers should know about, please let us know!
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All prices, dates, and booking details listed here were valid at the time of publication. Some information may have changed since that time.