Real Deals: September 2009

0909_realdeals_fijiThe swim-up bar at Fiji's Sonaisali Island Resort, on its own private island
— Courtesy Sonaisali Island Resort
The swim-up bar at Fiji's Sonaisali Island Resort, on its own private island

Over $4,900 in savings—exclusively for you!

It pays to be a Budget Travel reader! This month, our exclusive deals net you more than $4,900 in discounts and bonuses. Among the freebies: a volcano tour in Costa Rica, a hot-air balloon ride in Turkey, and an ocean-view cabin upgrade on a Mediterranean cruise. For more savings, search the 175-plus Real Deals at BudgetTravel.com—the star means you've found a package just for BT readers!

How was your trip? Have you taken a Real Deals vacation? E-mail us how it went at RealDeals@BudgetTravel.com.

Before you book... These trips and starting prices ("From") sell out quickly, and details may change. Call the companies for complete info. Most rates are based on midweek dates; weekend travel can raise the price. Under "Why it's a deal," round-trip flights are based on the lowest September departures on kayak.com at press time. Usually not included: service, security, and visa costs; hotel, car-rental, and airport taxes. Check each listing for fuel surcharge details. Prices are per person, with two people sharing a room, unless otherwise noted. The single supplement ("SS") is the extra fee charged to solo travelers.

UNITED STATES

Denver, from $199
Two rooms at the Curtis hotel for one night, four tickets to the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, one $50 food-and-beverage credit, and parking. The price is for two adults and two kids. Book by Oct. 30 and mention PROCCC. Why it's a deal: You receive the second room at no extra cost. When: Sept. 1–Nov. 30. Contact: The Curtis, 800/525-6651, thecurtis.com.

Gurnee, Ill., from $269
Two nights at the KeyLime Cove resort, about an hour from Chicago; breakfasts; and passes to the resort's indoor Lost Paradise Waterpark. The price is for two adults and two kids. Mention BT09. Why it's a deal: The required two-night stay typically starts at $398, so this package saves you at least $129. You also receive the breakfasts (an $80 value) at no extra cost. When: Sept. 8–Nov. 25. Contact: KeyLime Cove, 224/656-8685, keylimecove.com.

Houston, from $358
Two nights at the Crowne Plaza Downtown, breakfasts, parking, and four CityPasses valid at Space Center Houston, Downtown Aquarium, and other attractions. The price is for two adults and two kids. Mention BUDGET TRAVEL. Why it's a deal: Booking each component separately costs at least $145 more. You also receive a free room upgrade worth about $40. When: Sept. 1–Nov. 30. Contact: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800/446-8786, visithoustontexas.com/budgettravel.

San Francisco, from $441
Air from L.A., four nights at the Westin St. Francis in Union Square, and a one-hour narrated cable-car tour. Includes fuel surcharges. Why it's a deal: You receive the cable-car tour (a $20 value) at no extra cost. When: Sept. 1–Nov. 30. Other gateways: Chicago ($579); Atlanta, Houston, Miami, New York ($659). SS: $369. Contact: Travel Themes and Dreams, 877/870-7447, travelthemesanddreams.com.

South Lake Tahoe, Calif., from $176
One night at Zephyr Cove Resort, breakfast, and an Emerald Bay cruise aboard the Dixie II. The price is per room. Mention BUDTRV. Why it's a deal: This rate is 24 percent less than the regular package price. When: Sept. 22–Nov. 26; Nov. 29–Dec. 21.Contact: Zephyr Cove Resort, 888/896-3830, zephyrcove.com/budgettravel.

CANADA

Nova Scotia, from $1,197
Air Canada flights from New York to Halifax, a seven-day car rental, six nights' hotel, a city tour, and entry to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. Spend two nights each in Halifax and Baddeck, and one each in Sydney and Antigonish. Add from $35 for fuel surcharges. Why it's a deal: This price is about 10 percent less than the regular package rate. When: Sept. 1–Nov. 30. Other gateways: Atlanta ($1,355), Boston ($1,416), Chicago ($1,442), L.A. ($1,477), Miami ($1,652). SS: $524. Contact: Maxxim Vacations, 800/567-6666, maxximvacations.com.

CARIBBEAN

Jamaica, from $519
Air from Fort Lauderdale or New York to Montego Bay, transfers, and three nights at the all-inclusive beachfront Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort. Includes fuel surcharges. Why it's a deal: Booking each component separately would cost at least $42 more. You also receive a free room upgrade worth $30. When: Sept. 1–30 ($519); Oct. 1–Nov. 30 ($594). Other gateways: Baltimore (add from $75).Contact: Travel Themes and Dreams, 877/870-7447, travelthemesanddreams.com.

Puerto Rico, from $610
Four nights at the Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, a $100 credit, and one day's rental of a poolside cabana. Add $150 for transfers. Airfare isn't included. Mention BTMAG. Why it's a deal: This price is 25 percent less than the usual rate for the required four-night stay. The cabana rental (a $150 value) and a room upgrade are free. When: Sept. 1–Nov. 4. Contact:Wyndham Rio Mar, 877/636-0636, wyndhamriomar.com.

CENTRAL AMERICA

Costa Rica, from $879
American Airlines flights from L.A. to San José, an eight-day car rental, seven nights' hotel (two nights in Arenal at Arenal Volcano Inn with breakfasts, two in Monteverde at Hotel Fonda Vela, and three in Manuel Antonio at La Mansion Inn with breakfasts), and a half-day Arenal volcano tour. Includes fuel surcharges. Mention BT75. Why it's a deal: Booking each component separately would cost at least $196 more. You receive the volcano tour at no extra cost. When: Sept. 1–Nov. 15. Other gateways: San Francisco ($914), New York ($919), Chicago ($929). SS: $493.Contact: Capricorn Leisure Corp., 800/426-6544, capricornleisure.com.

SOUTH AMERICA

Buenos Aires, from $1,253
American Airlines flights from New York, transfers, six nights at the Claridge Hotel, breakfast daily, fuel surcharges, and a half-day city tour. Mention BT75. Why it's a deal: Booking each component separately would cost at least $75 more. When: Sept. 1–Nov. 15. Other gateways: L.A. ($1,298), Seattle ($1,328), D.C. ($1,358), San Francisco ($1,469). SS: $640.Contact: Capricorn Leisure Corp., 800/426-6544, capricornleisure.com.

Cartagena & Bogotá, Colombia, from $699
Avianca airlines flights from Miami to Cartagena (returning from Bogotá), transfers and local transportation (boat, car, plane), six nights' hotel (four in Cartagena, two in Bogotá), tours of each city, and a full-day boat tour of the Rosario Islands with lunch. Includes fuel surcharges. Why it's a deal: Booking the airfare and hotel separately costs at least $125 more. This package already includes two city tours; you also receive the Rosario Islands tour (a $45 value) at no extra cost. When: Until Nov. 30. Other gateways: D.C. (add $135), New York (add $200), L.A. (add $265). SS: $285. Contact: Escapes Unlimited, 800/243-7227, escapesltd.com.

EUROPE

Berlin, from $1,030
Air from Chicago or New York, five nights in one of 10 apartments in the Mitte area, a Berlin Wall walking tour, fuel surcharges, and more. Book by Sept. 30 and mention BUDGET. Why it's a deal: Airfare typically starts at $539. For $491 more, your lodging and the extras are covered. When: Sept. 1–Nov. 30. Other gateways: Miami (add $10), Boston (add $20), L.A. (add $25). SS: $300. Contact: Nonstop Travel, 800/949-6362, nonstoptravel.net.

Bologna, Italy, from $1,459
Alitalia flights from New York, five nights at Hotel Orologio, breakfasts, a cooking class with lunch at La Vecchia Scuola Bolognese, a dinner at Ristorante da Cesari, guided walking and bus tours, daily bike rentals, and fuel surcharges. Why it's a deal: Booking the airfare and hotel separately costs at least $1,283. For $176 more, the cooking class, lunch, dinner, and tours are covered. You also receive free bike rentals (a $105 value). When: Sept. 1–Oct. 31 (from $1,629); Nov. 1–Mar. 31 (from $1,459). Other gateways: Boston (add from $20); Chicago, Miami (add from $75). SS: $333. Contact:TourCrafters, 800/482-5995, tourcrafters.com.

Cappadocia & Istanbul, Turkey, from $1,499
Turkish Airlines flights from New York to Kayseri (via Istanbul), transfers and local transportation (plane), six nights' hotel split between Cappadocia and Istanbul, breakfasts, two private tours, and a hot-air balloon flight in Cappadocia. Add from $333 for airport taxes and fuel surcharges. Why it's a deal: Booking the components separately costs at least $481 more. When: Wednesday and Friday departures Sept. 2–Nov. 27. Other gateways: Chicago (add $120), Miami (add $160). SS: $350. Contact: Troy Tours, 800/748-6878, troytours.com.

Dublin, from $940
Delta Air Lines flights from New York, six nights at the Hilton Dublin Kilmainham, breakfasts, fuel surcharges, and a guided bus tour to Malahide Castle and Howth village. Mention BT10589. Why it's a deal: You receive the tour (a $52 value) free. When: Tuesday departures Sept. 15–Nov. 17. Other gateways: Memphis (from $1,137), Detroit (from $1,209), Minneapolis (from $1,221), Atlanta (from $1,279). SS: $482. Contact: Delta Vacations, 800/654-6559, deltavacations.com.

Mediterranean Cruise & Rome, from $1,799
Air from New York, a seven-night sail aboard MSC Cruises' Splendida in an ocean-view cabin, and three nights at the Hotel Milton in Rome. Cruise highlights include stops in Savona, Italy; Marseille, France; Barcelona, Spain; Tunis, Tunisia; Valletta, Malta; and Messina, Italy. The price includes 23 meals, transfers and local transportation within Italy, and fuel surcharges. Add from $42 for port charges. Mention BTMAG283. Why it's a deal: You get the ocean-view cabin upgrade (a $200 value) at no extra cost. When: Sept. 24 ($2,999); Oct. 15 ($2,599); Nov. 5 ($1,799). Other gateways: None. SS: From $1,099. Contact: Foreign Independent Tours, 800/248-3487, fittours.com/budgettravel.

Rhine River Cruise, from $1,487
An eight-day sail on the Rhine River from Zürich to Amsterdam (or Amsterdam to Basel) on the Avalon Affinity or Avalon Creativity with transfers, all meals and drinks (with beer and wine at dinner), and port and fuel surcharges. Stops include Strasbourg, France, and a Heidelberg Castle excursion. Airfare isn't covered. Book by Oct. 15 and mention RHINE. Why it's a deal: This price is $500 less than the regular rate. When: Saturday departures Sept. 5–26 (from $1,987); Oct. 3–31 (from $1,587); Nov. 7 (from $1,487). SS: From $418. Contact: Avalon Waterways, 877/380-1535, avalonwaterways.com.

Stockholm & St. Petersburg, from $1,999
Air from New York to Stockholm (returning from St. Petersburg), transfers and local transpor­tation (plane), eight nights' hotel (three in Stockholm and five in St. Petersburg), a three-day Stockholm Card valid for admission to Drottningholm Palace, the Vasa Museum, and other attractions, and a folk show and a private city tour in St. Petersburg. The price includes fuel surcharges. Mention BUDTRVL. Why it's a deal: Booking the airfare and hotels alone would cost at least $17 more. You also receive the Stockholm Card (a $76 value) at no extra cost. When: Sept. 1–Dec. 15. Contact: East West Tours, 800/776-3341, east-west-tours.com.

AFRICA

Kenya Safari, from $2,495
Air from New York to Nairobi and a 10-day escorted round-trip itinerary with transfers and local transportation, seven nights' lodging, 20 meals, and nine game drives. Spend three nights in Masai Mara National Reserve at Mara Simba Lodge, two near Samburu National Reserve at Ashnil Samburu Camp, and one each in Nairobi at the Jacaranda Hotel and in Lake Nakuru National Park at Lake Nakuru Lodge. Includes airport taxes and fuel surcharges. Why it's a deal: This price is about $500 less than the regular package rate. You also receive upgraded lodgings and a lunch at the Carnivore restaurant in Nairobi—a total value of $150. When: Sept. 1–Oct. 31 ($2,595); Nov. 1–30 ($2,495); Dec. 1–31 ($2,795). Other gateways: Boston, D.C. (add $100); Chicago (add $150); L.A. (add $250). SS: From $390. Contact: Masai Travel, 800/587-1644, masaitravel.com.

South Africa Tour, from $2,874
South African Airways flights from New York to Johannesburg and a 10-day escorted tour with transfers and local transportation, seven nights' lodging (two each in Malalane, Mozambique, and St. Lucia, and one in Swaziland), a full-day game drive in Kruger National Park, 10 meals, airport taxes, and fuel surcharges. Why it's a deal: This price is 10 percent less than the regular package rate. When: Sept. 5, 19, Oct. 3, 17, 31 ($2,874); Nov. 14, 28 ($2,906). Other gateways: Atlanta (add from $200), L.A. (add from $300). SS: $181. Contact: Karell Holidays, 800/327-0373, karellholidays.com.

ASIA

Hong Kong, from $999
Cathay Pacific Airways flights from L.A. or San Francisco, transfers, five nights at the Courtyard by Marriott in the Sai Ying Pun area, a Hong Kong Island tour, and fuel surcharges. Book by Oct. 15 and mention TSBT0909. Why it's a deal: Booking the airfare and hotel separately costs at least $147 more. You also get the free island tour (worth $50). When: Until Sept. 13 ($999); Sept. 28–Oct. 11, Nov. 1–Feb. 28 ($1,065). Other gateways: None. SS: From $229. Contact: Travelscene, 866/914-4457, travelscene.com.

Korea & Bali, from $1,599
Singapore Airlines flights from L.A. or San Francisco to Seoul (returning from Bali), transfers and local transportation (car, plane), eight nights' lodging (three in Seoul at the Hyundai Residence Hotel and five in Bali at the Kind Villa Bintang Resort or the Kuta Beach Club Hotel & Spa), breakfasts, and fuel surcharges. The price includes a Seoul city tour and a two-hour massage at Anika spa in Bali. Mention SAYBT08. Why it's a deal: Multicity airfare alone can cost $1,486. For $113 more, your hotels, breakfasts, local transport, and city tour are covered. You receive the massage (a $55 value) for free. When: Sept. 1–Nov. 30. Other gateways: Denver (add $200), Chicago (add $350), New York (add $375). SS: $375. Contact: Sayang Holidays, 888/472-9264, sayangholidays.com.

Northern Thailand Tour, from $2,099
Air from L.A. or San Francisco to Bangkok and an eight-day escorted tour with transfers and local transportation, seven nights' hotel (two each in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, and Bangkok, and one in Phitsanulok), an elephant ride, and fuel surcharges. Why it's a deal: You get two nights in Bangkok and a city tour free. When: Until Nov. 30. Other gateways: Many. SS: $400. Contact: Escapes Unlimited, 800/243-7227, escapesltd.com.

SOUTH PACIFIC

Fiji, from $1,349
Air Pacific flights from L.A. to Nandi on Viti Levu, transfers, six nights in a beachfront room at the Sonaisali Island Resort, and all meals. Add from $297 for fuel surcharges. Why it's a deal: This price is $535 less than the regular package rate. You also receive a free room upgrade. When: Until Mar. 31. Other gateways: None. SS: $508. Contact: Sunspots International, 800/334-5623, sunspotsintl.com.

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