I've received quotes from two of the Turkmen travel agencies most often mentioned on this forum for the following trip:
Day 1. Arrive Ashgabat airport - transfer to inexpensive hotel - drive around the City - visit the History museum - drive around again at night
Day 2. Visit the Carpet Museum - drive to the Darwaza gas crater - camp overnight
Day 3. Drive on to Konye-Urgench and drive to the various sights - transfer to Uzbekistan border post
Both quoted a cost of just under USD 800. Both include meals only at the gas crater and no guide, only a driver.
That seems a little steep to me as I was able to get a 4WD with driver only for USD 100 per day in Mongolia just months ago. Admittedly there is a deadhead back to Ashgabst for the driver, but still. I've looked into the idea of flying in to Astrakan, Russia instead and taking the train from there to Nukus (#323 or #334 - USD 110); then jumping across the border to Konye-Urgench. It's doable but the train ride is overnight - takes about 42 hours because of the long delays at two borders. I'd appreciate any comments.