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A Travel Blog from the Editors of T+L

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T+L Photo Contest: Enter to Win!

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Are you a serious shutterbug when you travel? Submit your best shots to T+L's Photo Contest that just kicked-off last week to win a series of monthly prizes, including a Flip Video Camera and an Amazon Kindle. Monthly winners will also have a chance at being published in Travel + Leisure magazine—and be entered to win a Grand Prize trip for two to Hawaii!

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Cute Overload: Hello Kitty Airport Gate

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On my way home from a recent trip to Taiwan, I found myself with a little bit of time to kill before boarding my plane at Taipei’s Taoyuan Airport. Knowing I had more than 14 hours to sit in a cramped airplane seat ahead of me, I did some exploring.

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Deals: Discover America This Summer

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Looking forward to your summer vacation already? Get your plans in motion and save some money at the same time, because Discover America, America’s official travel website, just launched a daily getaway travel promotion today that features deeply discounted travel deals within the United States, some offering great behind-the-scenes travel experiences (like today's trip to New York's Fashion Week).

Every weekday from today until June 4, there will be specially priced travel products and trips available on www.DailyGetways.com with up to 50 percent off from some of America’s best hotels, airlines, rental cars, attractions, theme parks, restaurants and shops.

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Derby Deals: Mint Juleps (and More) in Louisville

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Prepare yourself for big hats and even bigger bourbon hangovers, because this Saturday is the 136th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

Since the actual horse race doesn’t last very long (the derby is often called "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports"), there will be plenty of time to explore downtown Louisville, especially the part of Main Street once known as “Whiskey Row,” now home to the Urban Bourbon Trail, a group of nine restaurants and bars offering bourbon flights and special bourbon cocktails like the mint julep, the official drink of the Derby.

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Old School: Celebrate "Record Store Day"

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When was the last time you bought a new album at an actual brick and mortar record shop? In the age of iTunes, it’s become the norm to download music from the internet. I'm guilty, too, even though you can frequently find me and my camera jammed in the front row covering concerts for various music publications.

Tomorrow, take advantage of the spring weather and head over to your local record shop for Record Store Day, a celebration of independently owned record stores in the United States, and other countries worldwide, now in its third year.

In addition to special vinyl and CD releases being made exclusively for Record Store Day from the likes of Phoenix and Jamie Lidell, there will also be a number of in-store appearances and performances from a wide variety of musicians, including Slash, Emmylou Harris, and Yeasayer.  Search for your local participating stores here. I’ve put together a short list of standout events after the break.

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Fried Food and Dinosaurs on the Road to Memphis

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When my boyfriend was invited to read a story of his at the launch of the newest issue of The Pinch literary magazine, based in Memphis, I convinced him we had to go. I love the South—for its friendly locals, music, and most importantly, for its food.  Instead of spending upward of $300 on a flight, we decided to take a road trip. Surprisingly we only got lost once in 1,000 or so miles between New York and Memphis. And it was all because the ferocious beasts at Dinosaur Land distracted me from my navigatrix duties. Oops.

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Invisibility Cloak for Your Camera

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While traveling, I'm either too slow to take my camera out of my bag to capture that perfect moment, or too nervous to flash such a pricey piece of equipment in public.

Enter the Cloak Bag, the world's first shoot-through camera bag. The bag's unique bottom zipper design allows photographers to snap away without removing their SLR cameras from the bag, which saves time and also affords photographers a bit more discretion when taking photos in unfamiliar locals where thieves may target tourists. For $49, it's a steal to have that peace of mind.

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New Family Travel Auction Site Launches

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FamilyGetaway.com, a new website for value-seeking families, just launched and is offering travel packages at up to 65 percent off retail prices at places like the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa in Koloa, Hawaii, Highmark Steamboat Springs in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa.

Owned by the same company as LuxuryLink.com, FamilyGetaway.com operates in a similar manner as the popular luxury travel website by offering two purchase options:

-Auction: Those with flexible travel dates can submit bids on the package of their choice, assuring the website’s best values.

-Buy Now: For those with less flexibility, there is the Buy Now option that still offers steep discounts (often up to 50 percent off!).

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You Slay Me: RBC Coffee

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RBC Coffee, which opened last month in Tribeca, is quickly becoming one of New York's favorite coffee spots (it's barely been open for a month and it's already nominated for a 2010 Time Out NY EatOut Award!).

And with good reason: these people are serious about coffee. The passionate baristas here pull awe-inducing shots of espresso from their super hi-tech Slayer machine. While many focus on the $18,000 price tag of this machine (this is the only one on the East Coast), it's what comes out of the machine that makes it so incredible. The Slayer's variable pressure brewing, or "pressure profiling" allows baristas complete control over every aspect of the brewing process in order to create impeccable texture and flavor.

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Valentine's Day: Love Potions

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Whether you're happily single or madly in love, there appears to be a bartender in each corner of the country ready to lubricate your weekend's activities (with alcohol, of course!). Take a sip of the "Skinny Dip" Cocktail in Denver, knock back a vile of Love Potion #299 in New York, or fit in a few MO'Kisses in Boston. Keep reading to find out what's in each of these love-inducing drinks, and more.

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