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ON A BUDGET

5 Ways to Fall Into Fun After Labor Day

July 25, 1999|ARTHUR FROMMER

Travel to many areas goes into a sharp decline right after Labor Day. Travel suppliers respond to the drop with extra-special bargains. Here are five to think about:

Thailand: Between Sept. 1 and Nov. 14, Pacific Delight Tours, telephone (800) 221-7179, offers six nights at Bangkok's well-located, better-than-tourist-class Amari Atrium Hotel (with breakfast daily) for $760 per person, round trip. Tours leave twice a week on Northwest Airlines from West Coast cities. Three half-day sightseeing tours are included.

Brazil: Moment's Notice, tel. (877) 934-6274, cuts its Rio package--round-trip air from New York and five nights at the Atlantis Copacabana hotel with breakfast--to a stunning $569 from Sept. 1 until Dec. 9. The add-on fare for travelers from Los Angeles is $225, based on availability.

Portugal: Between Sept. 15 and Oct. 31, Abreu Tours, tel. (800) 223-1580, slashes its midweek air-and-land packages to $597 per person. This includes round-trip air from New York to Lisbon, six nights at a tourist-class hotel, breakfasts, a half-day sightseeing tour and airport transfers.

Spain: From Sept. 1 through the end of October, the low-cost transatlantic carrier Spanair, tel. (888) 545-5757, cuts the round-trip price to $478 ($525 with tax) for its four flights a week between Washington, D.C., and Madrid. Then, for only $6 more (in tax), it will take you on to one other Spanish city: Barcelona, Seville, Alicante, Vigo, Oviedo, Santiago, Palma, Mahon, Bilbao or Malaga.

I'm betting that the price will come down even further after Nov. 1. But the Spanish weather in September and October is so perfect that you might not want to wait. Currently, the peseta is weak against the dollar, so shopping in Spain is as refreshingly cheap as the cost of getting there.

Mexico: Funjet Vacations has great deals for stays on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts between Labor Day and Thanksgiving (hurricane season). Continental Airlines will fly you to a seven-night stay at the Casa del Mar in Cozumel for $595 from Los Angeles. Or stay for the same length of time at the Sol Cabanas del Caribe in Cozumel for $665. In Puerto Vallarta, air and land for four nights at the Plaza Iguana Marina Resort (including breakfast) is $418 from L.A.; for four nights at Hacienda Buenaventura (including breakfast), $449.

These are remarkable rates, available only from travel agents.

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