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Contest: Go Orange to Go to Amsterdam

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Lately, everyone seems to have World Cup fever. You can hardly walk by a bar without seeing a WC happy hour promo or browse the Web without coming across at least one headline. And now, with the finals upon us, that fever has spread to the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, and rightfully so: the Dutch National Team—nicknamed Oranje (orange)—are celebrating their third ever placement in the World Cup finals. (They'll be playing against Spain on Sunday.)

So what better way to celebrate this feat than by starting a contest? The tourism board is offering two round-trip tickets to Amsterdam from any international airport in the world to one grand prize winner. What do you have to do? Show your love for Oranje...by getting decked out in orange—the country's historic, national color!

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Preventing (and Coping With) Lost Luggage Blues

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Have you ever had that sinking feeling when you're standing by the carousel at the airport, watching suitcase after suitcase pass by—none of them yours—until finally, the carousel, now empty, turns off? It's a wretched feeling, especially at the start of a vacation.

One way to avoid this situation altogether is to ship your belongings ahead of time. The UPS Store just announced its new Luggage Boxes—and the cost is pretty reasonable. Shipping between NYC and L.A. costs about $66 for the small box or about $92 for the large. Just be sure to ship far enough in advance, and give your hotel the heads up! For a price comparison, here are the checked bag fees from five major domestic airlines:

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City Tour: Running the Streets of Paris

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As both an active runner and someone who enjoys travel, I speak from experience when I say: it can be really hard to stay true to my routine when I'm away from home. (To date, I have only successfully maintained a semi-normal running schedule once while traveling. Don't judge me.) Between late nights, full days, and the desire to take in as much as possible in a short period of time, sometimes it's just not possible. (And fine, I admit: sometime I'd just rather sleep a little later than get up for a run. There, I said it.)

That being said, I was intrigued when a colleague passed along information about a different type of tour now being offered in the great City of Light: a running tour.

That's right. A running tour. This is some serious travel time management, and I love it. (Not to mention, anyone who knows me knows that when I travel, I'm very much a "do as the locals do" type. So what better way to tour a city than as a resident jogger would?)

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Spirit Airlines Pulls Tacky Oil Spill Campaign

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Look who's at it again. In its latest marketing ploy to get (negative) attention, Spirit Airlines revealed—and then quickly pulled—its latest well-thought-out (that's sarcasm, folks) campaign: Check Out the Oil on Our Beaches.

Yes, really.

The ad was decked out with women in bikinis slathered in tanning oil, along with green and yellow "Best Protection" suntan lotion bottles—the B and P were slightly larger and bolder than the rest of the text...get it??

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Flash Sale: Southwest Flights Starting at $39

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This year it was named the least-complained-about airline by consumers; last year the Bureau of Transportation Statistics declared it the third best airline, with an 83% on-time takeoff record. But now Southwest has something else to celebrate: its 39th anniversary! Okay, okay, so 39 is maybe, shall we say, an odd year to celebrate an anniversary, but we don't really care. Why? Because they're using this as an opportunity to offer a flash sale on flights, with rates starting as low as—you guessed it—$39!

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Review: T-Mobile's Travel-centric Garminfone

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Sometimes it's really hard to believe that just a few years ago, in order to get where you had to go—especially on road trips, you needed to bring along one or more large, folding paper maps. Then there came websites like MapQuest, which alleviated people the hassle of having to actually figure out how to get from point A to point B. And now with GPS devices built into cell phones, navigating strange places is a breeze, and there's no need to bring anything you wouldn't have with you anyway.

T-Mobile recently released a new smartphone, the Garminfone (Garmin is one of the leading GPS makers in the world), which was specifically designed for travelers constantly on the go. It looks like any other touch screen smartphone (wait until you see just how smart it is), but as soon as you turn the phone on, you know it's made for travelers: there are three large icons on the homepage; one is labeled "Where To?" and the other, "View Map." (The third is for making phone calls.)

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4 Great NYC Running Routes

As a runner living in New York City, you might think it's challenging for me to find decent places for nice run. But the truth of the matter is that there are a ton of hot spots, whether it's in/around one of the city's many parks, or along one of the many waterfront sidewalks.

josh-racejpgFor about a year, I was a slave to the treadmill, but when I signed up for the Brooklyn Half Marathon, I knew I had to start running on uneven, outdoor ground again. (P.S. - Once I started running outdoors again, I was reminded of how infinitely more enjoyable it is this way!)

The half marathon was last weekend—I ran with a few friends/colleagues from our sister mag, Food & Wine—but now I'm craving more. That being said, I want to share a few of my favorite running routes in the city. (And, since I'm an outer-borough guy, they are not all based in Manhattan!)

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Vacationist: Nevis and Stowe, VT

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Looking to save a few dollars on your next vacation? (Really though, who isn't?) As we announced in this blog last week, Travel + Leisure has teamed up with Luxury Link to create the exclusive, by-invite-only vacationist. The site offers members tremendous value on top hotels from around the world.

Today, two new sales started:

Montpelier Plantation in St. John's Parish, Nevis: From $160/night (50% off)
Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont: From $149/night (35% off)

These two sales—which are available for about seven more days—are accompanied by Las Brisas Ixtapa in Mexico. Available for about four more days, rates for this hotel start at a whopping $88/night (23% off).

As these sales end, more will be coming in, so if you haven't already, be sure to request an invitation to become a vacationist, and keep checking back for the trip that best suits you!

Joshua Pramis is an online associate editor at Travel + Leisure.

Image courtesy of vacationist.

Get "Lost" in Waikiki: Daniel Dae Kim's Hawaiian Haunts

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Last night marked the end of an era. In living rooms around the country, fans of ABC's Lost were glued to their television sets for the epic, two hour series finale. (Some extreme fans in NYC even enjoyed Dharma Beer at the Bell House in Brooklyn, while a friend of mine's band, Previously on Lost, performed before screening the finale. Be sure to check them out; they're bound to keep performing long after the show's end.)

That being said, with the end of Lost, fans may feel somewhat, well...lost, themselves. What to do now that there's nothing new to look forward to? Pray for a feature film? A spin-off? (Unless it's about Bernard and Rose, this better not happen.)

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Medical Emergency Abroad? There's an App for That!

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Anyone who travels frequently can attest: finding medical assistance while traveling in a strange city—especially in a foreign country, where language barriers can easily work against you—can be quite the challenge. But thankfully we live in an age chock full of so much convenient technology, that obstacle is becoming less of an issue.

I recently learned about an iPhone app called mPassport. It's a handy piece of software that is a wealth of information for anyone needing medical attention while away, whether it's routine or emergency service. What exactly can you do with the program?

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