For a trip to Barcelona, Jorge Cuadros, a lawyer from Alexandria, Va., turned to the Internet to book a rental car. On hertz.com, Cuadros was quoted a price of 626.12 euros for an automatic Mercedes for five days in October. At $1.42 to the euro, that amounted to about $890.
SAN FRANCISCO ENCOUNTER
Lonely Planet / $11.99
Lonely Planet's Encounter series consists of compact pocket guides for city visitors on a tight sightseeing schedule. Each is designed to enable the traveler to "discover twice the city in half the time." The San Francisco version, written by Alison Bing, focuses on trendy sights and services, from shopping on Haight Street to scribbling Beat poetry on the walls of Caffe Trieste. There are chapters devoted to 13 neighborhoods, each with its own itinerary, photos and map. In the Chinatown chapter, for example, an overview and directions are provided for 11 places to see, four places to shop, six places to eat and four places to drink, along with two sidebars and one keyed map, all compressed into 10 pages.
Pampering by the sand
Maui's Kaanapali Beach Hotel welcomes fall with a "Beauty and the Beach" package that matches four nights' accommodations in a partial ocean-view room with a mid-sized car rental for $450 per person. Also covered is a daily buffet breakfast and one facial or massage per person. Known for its authentic Hawaiian cultural activities (such as poi making and ti leaf skirt making), the 430-room Kaanapali Beach Hotel features an expansive lawn area and sandy beach. The package is valid until Dec. 17. Tax is additional. Call 800-262-8450 or go to kbhmaui.com and click on the package name under Internet Specials.
Snoozing and cruising in Santa Monica
Le Merigot Beach Hotel & Spa in Santa Monica lets visitors join California's "car culture" with three packages that include accommodations and wheels. "California Cruisin'" puts guests in a Mercedes-Benz C-class or a 3 Series BMW rental car, with accommodations in a superior guest room, for rates starting at $389 per night per room. "California Dreamin'" ups the auto to a convertible Porsche Boxster or a BMW Z4 Roadster, for room rates starting at $469 per night. "Cruisin' Hybrid" offers accommodations and a Toyota Prius starting at $359 per night. Taxes, insurance, fuel and parking are additional. The packages are valid through August 2008. Call 888-539-7899 or go to lemerigothotel.com.