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Little Rock to Boston - Help me plan the most cost effective trip possible

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I'll be traveling with my wife in late March. We are young and admittedly novice travelers, so I'm hoping to get some input from folks a little more savvy than I am. I've attempted Priceline and Hotwire with little success, probably due to my own ignorance. Other sites much of the same. I've come across intriguing ideas like peer-to-peer car rentals, house sitting, etc. Some seem promising, though I'm a bit overwhelmed and having trouble putting everything together into an extremely cost effective plan. Hopefully with some information provided, you guys can help a bit.

Trip criterion:

-Departure can be from any airport in Arkansas. I live closer to Little Rock.
-Arrival in Boston would be no later than 4pm ideally on Wednesday, 03/28/12. Any time before that is fine.
-I can come home at any time after 10am on Sunday, 04/01/12.
-I don't care how many stops or which airline it is. Just want the cheapest.

-Check-in 03/28/12, Check out 04/01/12.
-I'll spend most of my time at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, though I'm not picky about the area (so long as I'm not fearing for my life).
-I'd like at least a 3-star hotel (have to keep wife comfortable).
-Require Amenities: Free parking & free internet. Breakfast of any kind would be very nice but not required.
-1 room, 2 adults.

-I do not care at all what type of car. Just want the absolute cheapest.

Ideally, I'd like the flight, hotel, and car to be under or right around $1200 for both my wife and I combined. Much cheaper than this would be EXCELLENT. What is my best bet here? Vacation packages or individual price bidding on each? If bidding on each one by one is the way to go, please help me to put together a bidding strategy that would meet the above criteria and budget. Or other unconventional methods? I GREATLY appreciate any help and clever ideas you guys have to offer.

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