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How to Book Airline Award Tickets

Frequent-flier miles have gotten a bad reputation: easy to earn, hard to burn. But the truth is, finding an award seat actually got a little less difficult this year, according to a study by consulting agency IdeaWorks, which did trial runs on 24 frequent-flier programs worldwide by attempting to book award tickets on each for travel between June and October 2011. In the programs tested, availability rose to 68.6 percent, up from 66.1 in 2010. But your chances of snagging a free seat depend on which program you’re using. Low-fare airlines around the world scored best. Among the U.S. carriers, Southwest is the easiest to book on, with a 99.3 percent availability rate.

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TODAY Show: Spooky Halloween Trips

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Travel + Leisure's digital projects editor Sarah Spagnolo on five destinations—from San Diego to Salem, Massachusetts—that offer ghost tours, costume contests, pumpkin carving, and more for a spooktactular Halloween trip.

6 Hot New Watches

watches

Here, T+L’s latest picks for keeping globe-trotters up-to-the-minute.

Clockwise from top left: Ceramic-and-titanium Chromatic, $6,600, by Chanel; water-resistant gold-plated steel watch with leather strap, $1,595, Bulova Accutron; stainless-steel Indy 500 Centennial limited edition, $1,650, Tag Heuer; Swiss quartz chronograph with rubber strap, $2,100, Ebel; dual-time automatic with alligator bracelet, $4,200, David Yurman; satin-finished steel chronograph, $7,500, Baume & Mercier.

Photo by John Lawton

Vote now! T+L's Best New Landmarks Survey Is Live

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What's your favorite landmark? Tell us now in T+L's new Best New Landmarks Survey! Click here and vote on the skyscrapers, parks, museums, stadiums, and parks you love, then brag about the places you've visited—both new landmarks and classic sites. Plus, you can enter for a chance to win a $25,000 dream trip!

Vote as many times as you'd like before the survey ends on October 31st and share your picks on Facebook and on Twitter using #TLLandmarks. Vote now!


Photo courtesy of John Liu


Classic Fashion: The Mens White Shirt

men's white shirt

Whether you’re packing for a business trip or a weekend getaway, you can’t go wrong with this classic look.

Clean Cut: Cotton shirts, clockwise from top left: Thomas Pink, $195; Prada, $375; Carolina Herrera, $990; Theory, $235.

Photo by John Lawton

TODAY Show: Labor Day Trivia

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

With the holiday weekend just a few days away, Travel + Leisure's digital projects editor, Sarah Spagnolo, headed to NBC's Studio One to try to stump the Today show audience with Labor Day trivia.

Question: Which city was the first to celebrate Labor Day? Here's your hint: The city celebrated on a Tuesday, believe it or not. The date: September 5, 1882. Check out the clip for the answer to this Labor Day question, plus other fun facts.

Ralph Lauren's Mandarin Oriental Collection

Ralph Lauren

The latest source of inspiration for American designer Ralph Lauren? China. Here, a look from this season’s collection at Mandarin Oriental, New York.

Asian Aesthetic: Panne velvet dress, velvet-and-suede heels, Rhodoid minaudière clutch, jade-and-crystal earrings, and jet-and-crystal necklace with silk tassel. All prices upon request, by Ralph Lauren Collection.

Photo by Dean Kaufman

New Apps and Websites Expose Insider Hotel Info

hotel

New websites and apps offer previously unavailable insight about hotels. Check out these great new resources:

Hipmunk Hotels: Bringing its innovative airfare comparison technology to hotels and AirBnB rentals, the Hipmunk website and app maps out rooms and color-codes them according to their value relative to local rates. You can also filter properties by proximity to nightlife, food, shopping, and even “vice.”

Concierge Insider Guides: The new app from InterContinental Hotels delivers worldwide destination guides (complete with interactive maps and video tours) from the ultimate hotel insiders: the company’s 120 concierges.

Oyster.com: This site sends out an army of professional reviewers to critique and photograph thousands of properties around the world. Especially revealing is the “photo fakeouts” section, which juxtaposes misleading hotel promotional images with real-life Oyster shots.

Photo courtesy of Sofitel

Celeb-Inspired Vintage E-Postcards

Pavia Rosati

Who She Is: Splitting her time between New York and London, with an Italian passport to boot, Pavia Rosati—who was the executive editor of DailyCandy for nearly a decade—has always been a go-to person for travel tips. “I once planned a honeymoon in Greece for my intern’s brother’s best friend’s cousin, whom I never even met!” she says—fodder for her recent venture.

Her Big Idea: The new website Fathom compiles vintage-style e-postcards—complete with personalized snapshots—from celebrities, trendsetters, and regular folk in the know. The result is a lively, opinionated travel blog with a fun, retro feel. “We’re all for edited, user-generated content,” Rosati says. Up next? A mobile app with guides for everywhere from Buenos Aires to Beirut, plus an online boutique that’s meant to be “a one-stop shop for all your travel needs.”

Photo by Ben Schott

English Country Hotels On Our Radar

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Longford Fivehead - 

Dewsall (above)
The always spot-on tasteful Lulu Townsend of Chic Retreats has just added a lovely—and rather unorthodox—new property to her portfolio. Dewsall is a gorgeous listed and restored Regency house in Herefordshire, near the Welsh border, which can be rented in its entirety—when, that is, it’s not in its other guise, that of a chic little pop-up hotel a few weeks a year. The house is perfectly, ravishingly restored, with huge ensuite bedrooms, entertainment rooms (with all the mod cons) and a kitchen to make regular World of Interiors readers sigh with longing. A bonus: their Great British Safari—whereby guests hike into the Black Mountains, take kayaks or canoes from Glasbury to Hay, or go pheasant shooting—complete with luxury tents and gourmet meals.

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