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Looking ahead to holiday season travel deals

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Deals will make the holiday season all the more merry

With summer still winding down and the lovely days of fall to follow, it may seem a little early to think about the holidays. But, if you're one of those people who likes to hit the road as the year wraps up, it's never too early to start planning.

And, if you can do it inexpensively, what's not to like?

We've sniffed out budget travel ideas for trips both domestic and foreign and ranging from cruises to ski getaways. We limited starting travel dates to Dec. 1-Jan. 15, and we set some price limits. For land-only packages or cruises, the per-person cost had to average no more than $125 per night, including any taxes and fees. In some cases, you may incur additional expenses getting to and from departure points.

For packages that include air, the per-person cost had to average no more than $225 a night, including any taxes and fees.

Read on to find your budget holiday getaway. Unless otherwise noted, all prices are per person double occupancy.

Cruises

•Holland America Line, Eastern Caribbean: This six-night itinerary departs Dec. 5 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and is priced from $664 for an ocean view cabin. http://tinyurl.com/q5pxzym

Royal Caribbean International, Southern Caribbean (from OnlineVacationCenter): Departing Dec. 13 from San Juan, Puerto Rico, this seven-night cruise is priced from $1,049 for a veranda cabin, including air from Fort Lauderdale; add $200 from New York, $250 from Baltimore, $300 from Boston or Chicago. http://tinyurl.com/q84huqz

Carnival Cruise Line, Western Caribbean: Miami is the starting point for this six-night cruise that departs Dec. 13. Inside cabins are priced from $487. http://tinyurl.com/qcwznwz

Norwegian Cruise Line, Mediterranean (from OnlineVacationCenter): This package starts Dec. 7 in Barcelona, Spain, and includes two nights lodging in Barcelona, followed by a 10-night cruise. It's priced at $2,299 for a veranda cabin, which also includes air from New York; add $250 from Boston, $350 from Chicago or Orlando. http://tinyurl.com/nbaj4ka

Foreign tours

Amazing Thailand (from SmarTours): Eleven nights, departing Jan. 6, for $2,399 (discounts for booking by Sept. 17) including air from Los Angeles, tours and internal flight. https://www.smartours.com/tour/amazing-thailand

China Sampler (from SmarTours): This eight-night itinerary departs Dec. 1 from San Francisco. It's priced at $1,799, which covers air, three nights each in Beijing and Shanghai and two nights in Xian, tours and internal flights. https://www.smartours.com/tour/china-sampler

Beijing & Shanghai (from SmarTours): Departing Jan. 10 from San Francisco, this package spends five nights in Beijing and three in Shanghai. With air, internal flights and tours it's priced at $1,399. https://www.smartours.com/tour/beijing-shanghai

Timeless Beijing (from World Spree): You can pick Dec. 6 or Jan. 10 departure dates for this trip and fly from San Francisco or Los Angeles. Priced at $888, it includes the air, six nights' lodging in Beijing and tours. New York departures are $968. http://tinyurl.com/qye2nhe

A Tale of China's Two Great Cities, Beijing & Shanghai (from World Spree): Fly from San Francisco or Los Angeles on Jan. 8 and spend three nights in Beijing and four in Shanghai. The $999 price covers international and internal flights as well as lodging and a variety of tours. Depart from New York for $1,079. http://tinyurl.com/pygj6ux

The Middle Kingdom — China (from World Spree): This 10-night package is priced at $1,599 and spends three nights each in Beijing and Shanghai, two nights in Xian and one each in Hangzhou and Suzhou. You can fly from San Francisco or Los Angeles and depart Dec. 9 or Jan. 6 or 13. International and internal flights are covered, as well as lodging, tours and most meals. Add $100 from New York. http://tinyurl.com/q95zcj8

Incredible India (from World Spree): Departures from San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York are available Dec. 6 or 8, for $1,799. That covers air and internal transportation, two nights each in Delhi, Agra and Ranthambore National Park and three nights in Jaipur, plus tours and some meals. http://tinyurl.com/ndpzmcg

Ultimate Cambodian Adventure (from G Adventures): This 13-night trip starts Jan. 2 or 9 in Bangkok, Thailand, and is priced at $1,399. That includes lodging, an internal flight, some meals, a guide throughout and visits to such highlights as Angkor Wat, Phnom Penh and the infamous killing fields. International air not included. http://tinyurl.com/p5br4af

Absolute Turkey — Winter (from G Adventures): Istanbul is the beginning and end point for this 14-night itinerary that starts Dec. 19 or 26. For $1,749 you get lodging, some meals and a guide. Highlights include Istanbul and Ankara, the ancient cities of Pamukkale, Ephesus and Troy and the war cemeteries at Gallipoli. International air is extra. http://tinyurl.com/pjbvof4

Inland & Amazon, Ecuador (from G Adventures): Starts Dec. 5 or 19 or Jan. 2 in Quito, then spends 15 nights exploring from the heights of the Andes to the heat of the Amazon. The $1,599 price is land only and covers lodging, some meals, and internal flight and guide services. http://tinyurl.com/pp6usvg

Family Affair in Adare — Ireland (from Sceptre Tours): Fly from New York on Dec. 31 and spend six nights at Adare Manor for $961 quad occupancy. Air and lodging are included, as well as a rental car. http://tinyurl.com/qg7dl59

North America tours

New Orleans Holiday Express (from Vacations by Rail): Travel overnight on Amtrak's City of New Orleans from Chicago, then spend three nights in the Big Easy for $498. http://tinyurl.com/phluv5w

Montreal & Quebec City Holiday (from Vacations by Rail): For $620 you can get your French fix by spending two nights in Montreal, then travel by VIA Rail to Quebec City for three nights. http://tinyurl.com/osq3k8k

Manatee Tour and Breakfast Package: For $125 spend one night at Florida's Plantation on Crystal River and also get an adventure tour to swim with manatees in the wild. http://tinyurl.com/pb4kjuk

Christmas in Lamar (from the Yellowstone Association: A four-day outing exploring the wildlife and wonders of Yellowstone National Park from the association's Lamar Buffalo Ranch, including a Christmas Day potluck. The $390 tuition does not include lodging. http://tinyurl.com/q75uyfd

Ski holidays

Ski Salt Lake Super Pass (from Utah Travel Connection): Buy one pass and ski four Utah areas at Alta, Brighton, Solitude and Snowbird. Two- to 10-day passes range from $154 to $680 per adult, $80 to $355 for kids. http://tinyurl.com/payhs79

Kids Ski Free (from Aspen/Snowmass): For kids 7-12, rent their gear from Four Mountain Sports at Aspen/Snowmass in Colorado and get their lift tickets free. Must book by Dec. 1. http://tinyurl.com/nbptohx

Lodging

Generator: Hostels in Barcelona, Spain; Berlin; Copenhagen, Denmark; Dublin; Hamburg, Germany; London; Paris; Rome and Venice, Italy, have shared-room rates as low as $16 per night or individual rooms from $75. www.generatorhostels.com/en

Brave the Storm Package: Kalaloch Lodge at Olympic National Park in Washington offers midweek rates from $114 per room for a chance to view the storms that pound the Pacific coast. http://tinyurl.com/qg2nkse

Family Winter Carnival — Ohio. Maumee Bay State Park Lodge has rooms Dec. 27-30 from $126 per night plus tax with activities for the kids plus an indoor pool, wallyball courts, game room and fitness center. http://tinyurl.com/ocgeplh

Phil Marty is a freelance reporter.

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