Your Ontario Exit Strategy

Quick, what's the cheapest way out of the country, barring a jump across the Rio Grande or a day-trip to Tijuana? In a word, Canada!

Even if you live as far away as Texas, California or Florida, it may be time to start thinking of our docile neighbor to the north as your new springboard to the world, with Toronto as your own private getaway gateway.

Ironically, getting to Canada is rarely a bargain, but as long as you promise not to stay you can cash in the savings on your onward journey. These days you'd be hard put to find a cheaper way to China, and Air Canada looks set to reprise its Oscar-winning performance as last year's low-price leader to London.

To cinch the deal, they have quietly extended their already low winter sale fares far into spring and even lowered some of them, just to shake off the competition. Fares for spring travel through end of April start around $450 from either coast and go up about $100 more from the Midwest and the Deep South.

Decent fares are also available to Zurich, which seems to be emerging as an unlikely bargain destination for travel to Central Europe this year.