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For Smart Travelers, New Year's Weekend Deals Await

New Year's Eve

No one wants to travel during the holidays. Even outside of Europe, getting from point A to B can quickly turn nightmarish. How about this: Stay home until the Christmas surge has safely passed, then head against the traffic for a New Year's weekend. While your patdown- and scanner-weary pals are coming home, you'll enjoy shorter lines getting out of town.

To help your wintery scheme come to fruition, several hotels, resorts, and even entire islands have put together New Year's Eve packages. Below, a small sampling.

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The Hottest New Travel Technology

We head out to the PhoCusWright conference each year to find out what’s new in the world of Internet travel. This year’s was held last week at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, AZ—and while we didn’t get a chance to play the property’s gorgeous golf course (which is so steeped in Scottish tradition you can rent a kilt to play in!), we did get a chance to meet with some cutting-edge creators of travel technology. Some highlights:

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Starwood, Red Roof, Others Offering 'Cyber Monday' Savings

Red Roof NextGen Room

With so much hotel booking conducted online, it makes sense that chains—and even individual properties—would jump on the Cyber Monday bandwagon. This year, it seems, there are more than ever. Some notable sales scheduled for Nov. 29 (aka, the Monday after Thanksgiving):

- Following up on their successful 2009 Cyber Monday sale, Starwood Hotels & Resorts is once again appealing to online bookers. As part of their "One Day Wonders" promo, the luxury chain is offering deep discounts at several dozen properties around the world. For example: ocean-front rooms at the Westin Diplomat in Ft. Lauderdale from $179 (regularly $309) and deluxe rooms at the St. Regis Aspen from $399 (normally $749). For the complete list, visit their Cyber Monday specials page; or, text "MONDAY" to 95495 to be reminded when the sale starts.

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Announcing T+L's September Photo Contest Winners

Funny Sign contest winner

Once again, the competition was fierce at T+L's monthly photo contest. Nearly 2,000 "Funny Sign" photos were narrowed down to 10 finalists by a panel of T+L editors; the online community then voted for their favorites. The winner, "It's a Sign" (shown above), was submitted by T+L community member Harris Qureshi. To reward his sharp eye (and dry sense of humor), Harris will receive a set of Tumi luggage.

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Vacationist: Your ideal getaway to New Zealand, Florida, and Costa Rica

Lake Okareka Lodge by Lebua

Pristine, remote location? Check. Top-notch dining? Check. Stellar service? Absolutely! If you’re looking for your next escape—and really, who isn’t?—Vacationist has upped the ante this week, with deals of more than 40% off at relaxation-inducing hotels around the globe. And if that isn’t enough to lead you straight to the website, we have more great news, too. Vacationist sale sites now include more details than ever on hotels, plus insider tips, mini destination guides, and upcoming events calendars. Your next idyllic vacation is just a click away.

Still not a member? Click here to join.

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Vacationist: French Polynesia, Texas, and Dominican Republic

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While Labor Day may serve as a sad reminder that the summer is coming to an end, who cares if the days are about to start getting cooler? Don’t let that stop you from booking a fantastic retreat! With that in mind, we’d like to bring your attention to the three new fab getaways being offered at Vacationist.com:

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Vacationist: Antigua, Cannes, Miami & Santa Monica

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Dear Carry On reader,

The sun may be setting on summer, but a true Vacationist knows the art of getting away anytime—be it slipping off before Labor Day, or planning a proper getaway as fall rushes in. Fortunately, there are plenty of hotel offers and experiences this week to choose, from a posh dalliance on the French Riviera or a retro-chic retreat right in Santa Monica:

Le Cavendish — up to 21 percent off
Cannes, France

This sumptuous Belle Époque original was built in 1897 with half-moon balconies and caryatid columns and refurbished in 2001 as the city's first four-star boutique hotel… (3 days left)

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Vacationist: Greece, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica!

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This week Vacationist.com brings you a slew of offers to extend your summer vacation just a little bit longer. Look for values in Greece, the Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica as well as French Polynesia and Southern France later this week.

A two-story villa to call your own, a private pool, and views of the Aegean Sea? A stay at the Naxian Collection on the island of Naxos in Greece sounds like a myth, but if you book with Vacationist—which is offering up to 50 percent less than other booking sites—it can be a reality.

The first Small Luxury Hotel and only four-diamond property in the Dominican Republic, Casa Colonial Beach & Spa (pictured above) on the northern shore in Puerto Plata is a luxurious retreat for those looking for a little sophistication. Book one of their 50 suites and be treated to values at up to 30 percent off other sites.

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National Parks To Waive Fees in Mid-August

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Good news for nature lovers (and those looking for some free summer fun): the National Park Service will waive entrance fees at a whopping 146 parks and historic sites across the country (some of which charge as much as $25 admission) on Aug. 14-15. Look for additional freebies (boating, horseback riding) at some parks.

In other park news, Yellowstone, the country's very first national park, saw a record number of visitors this July—957,000 in total, some 60,000 more than last July (its previous record-setting month).

Vacationist: Sicily and More Amalfi Coast!

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This week, the values offered by Vacationist.com transport you to Southern Italy. (What better destination to top off the lovely summer season?)

With 22 cliffside rooms overlooking the Bay of Salerno on the Amalfi Coast, book at the Relais Paradiso—for up to 35 percent less than other booking sites—and you'll also have access to gardens, a solarium, and an outdoor pool/patio with spectacular bay views.

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