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TODAY Show: How to Pack Like a Pro

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As the holiday season comes to an end, seemingly countless numbers of travelers are making their ways home. But with ever-changing rules implemented by airlines, packing isn't as cut and dry as it once was. So this morning T+L Features Director Nilou Motamedstopped by the set of the Today Show to discuss some strategic tips to help make the process a lot smoother.  

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Holiday Travel: Overhyped or Underrated?

Holiday Travel

Overhyped:

• New Year’s Eve in Times Square with a million of your closest friends

• Jokes about fruitcake

• Hotel lobbies playing Mariah Carey’s Christmas record

• Holiday staycations

• Flight attendants wearing reindeer antlers

• Buying presents on Black Friday

Just Right: Saving a slice of pie for the trip home

Underrated:

• Shipping presents ahead

• Pilots who dress up like Santa

• Flying on Thanksgiving or Christmas day

• Hotel lobbies playing SiriusXM’s “Bing Crosby Christmas Radio”

• Panettone, the thinking person’s fruitcake

• New Year’s Eve in Samoa (you’ll be first!)

Photo © Rob Corbett / Alamy

Ritz-Carlton Expands its Behind-the-Scenes Videos

In September, the Ritz-Carlton gave T+L exclusive early access to its new video series, the Art of the Craft—a behind-the-scenes look at key employees who influence the guest experience. But the company didn't just stop with four videos, and they've again given us exclusive early access to their newest: a florist in Barcelona and a steward in Washington, D.C.

Its not exactly reality TV—there's no screaming Gordon Ramsay–type character screaming (though let's face it, we don't really need more of that). But the videos do a good job showcasing the efforts of people we might otherwise underappreciate—knowing how much passion and experience goes into a hotel's flower presentations, for example, helps us all better understand all the intricacies of operating a luxury hotel.

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Costume Retrospective Opens at London's V&A

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Calling all (fashion-loving) cinaphiles: the most iconic outfits in film history are on display at The V&A’s autumn exhibition, “Hollywood Costume” (October 20, 2012 to January 27, 2013). Exploring the central role costume design plays in storytelling, the retrospective brings together clothes worn by unforgettable characters, from Indiana Jones and Jack Sparrow to Scarlett O’Hara and Holly Golightly.

Photo by 20th Century Fox / Paramount / The Kobal Collection

Fall Getaways: Splurge or Steal

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Test your travel IQ with T+L's Nilou Motamed and guess whether these four getaways are a splurge or a steal.

CNN News: Spa Getaways

Need to detox, or just get away from it all? T+L Features Director Nilou Motamed share her favorite spots to unplug and get healthy.

TODAY Show Video: Money-Saving Travel Advice

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Is it true, or a myth? We tackle 7 conventional travel tips to reveal which will actually save you money on your next vacation.

1. If you have enough frequent flyer miles for your next flight, use them.

Myth. It isn't always a good value to cash in your miles. First, use the 1.4-cents-per-mile rule to calculate the value of an award ticket. If the cash price is considerably cheaper than the award ticket calculation, save your miles. For example, if a flight will cost you $300 cash or 50,000 points, you'll get more value out of paying cash since the 50,000 points equal about $700. You'll want to use those points on a ticket that's around $500 or more.

Related: Understanding the Not-So-Fine Print of Airline Rules

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TODAY Show Video: Best Small London Hotels

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Features Director Nilou Motamed lands in London to celebrate the Games and share her favorite charming city hotels. Watch, and then make a reservation at one of these intimate—and affordable—properties.

TODAY Show: Affordable "Olympic" Vacations

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Want to experience the 2012 Summer Olympic Games without traveling to London? T+L Features Director Nilou Motamed shares five fun sports-themed vacations that are also easy on the wallet.

NYC Partners with American Express and Foursquare for Restaurant Week

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If you’re lucky enough to live in New York City—or happen to be visiting between July 16 and August 10, 2012—there’s an extra reason to dine around town: NYC Restaurant Week. Those who want to experience some of Gotham’s most popular restaurants at deeply discounted prices ($24 lunch; $35 dinner) have an opportunity to save even more on fondue and gougère at Artisanal Fromagerie, smoked brisket at Hill Country, and Harold Dieterle’s Thai creations at Kin Shop.

In celebration of 20 delicious years of Restaurant Week (which has actually grown to three weeks), American Express is working with the City of New York and social media phenom Foursquare to make dining out even more attractive. (As if we needed an excuse!) When you sync your American Express card with Foursquare and check into participating restaurants, you will automatically get an additional $5 off the bill of $24 or more. For details and to register, go to sync.americanexpress.com/foursquare. Bon appetite!

Image courtesy of American Express

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