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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Ode to Italy

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On the heels of T+L’s love letter to Florence, out now in the annual September Style and Culture issue, Vacationist brings you 18 deals across Italy, from Venice to Sicily, and (almost) everywhere in between. Stay near the art exhibitions of the Palazzo Strozzi, in Florence, steps from the Piazza del Popolo in Rome, or even on quiet Giudecca in Venice, all for up to 70 percent off standard rack rates. Looking for tips on how to plan your trip? Become a fan of Vacationist on Facebook, and visit on Friday at 1 p.m. EST for a live chat with an Italian-born expert, before the deals expire on August 28th.

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Watch Out for Dropping Airfares

Smaller carriers have upped competition with major airlines this summer, introducing new routes into large hubs. Virgin America is starting flights into Chicago O’Hare (a hub for both United and American), Frontier is adding service out of Denver, and JetBlue is now flying into Anchorage. Generally, when smaller carriers introduce discount flights, major airlines slash their prices on that route out of competition, to make it as painful as possible for the other airline. (When JetBlue started service in May between Newark and Boston, Continental dropped its fares to as low as $49 one-way.) For the average flier, this can also mean mileage bonuses and more options and capacity, as well as lower-priced tickets.

Alexander Basek is a regular contributor to Travel + Leisure.

Vacationist Hotel Deals: America’s Great Outdoors

201108-b-rustyparrot-3jpgThe final weeks are summer are best spent outside—particularly in the backyards of some of T+L favorite hotels, from the Wyoming’s Rusty Parrot Lodge, in Jackson Hole, to Hotel Madeline Telluride, a resort we love for its high-altitude massages and it’s easy access to hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails—all more than 8,000 feet above sea level. Is preppy New England more your style? Consider a stay at Boston’s XV Beacon, ranked No. 3 Small City Hotel in this year’s World’s Best Awards, where you can unwind before exploring the rugged landscape of Boston’s North Shore. [Click here for a new late summer cyling tour!]

Head to Vacationist now, for these hotel deals, plus Belize, Madrid, London and more.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: California, Belize, Zihuatanejo

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No matter what you love to do when you travel—golf, dive, or hike—Vacationist presents a hotel that suits your style. From a nine-hole par 3 course on the California coast; to access to the Blue Hole off the shores of Belize; even an earthy escape in Zihuatanejo, where a private eco-reserve is the spot for wildlife viewing, there are plenty of places where you can unwind the way you want to—all for up to 60 percent off standard rates.

Still not a member? Click here to book.

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TODAY Show: Cruise Deals (Mediterranean from $71 a night, more!)

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

Features Director Nilou Motamed reveals Travel + Leisure's top picks for the very best fall and shoulder season cruise bargains. Find out how to set sail and save!

Just Back: Tacos in Tamarindo

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If you follow the dusty, pebble-scattered dirt road to Playa Langosta from Tamarindo on Costa Ricas dense Pacific coast, youll observe a small stop sign jutting from tropical foliage, demanding you to halt—for tacos. The sign serves equal parts recommendation and warning, as its the last place to catch a bite before Tamarindos ubiquitous eateries give way to Langostas private beach estates.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: The Grenadines, Hawaii + Phuket

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Looking for excuses to sport your new swimwear? Your first stop should be Vacationist, where we’re offering deals of up to 50 percent off stays off tropical hideaways in The Grenadines, the Big Island, Hawaii, and Phuket (plus even more!). Your picture perfect beach vacation awaits.

Book now and save.

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Highest and Lowest Tourist Tax Burdened Cities in US

eTurbo News |  A list of the top five 2011 U.S. cities with the lowest and highest tourism taxes is out, showing cost differences in as much as 56% on average, according to an annual study by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation.

Listed as the five lowest tax burdened cities out of 50 destinations, three Florida cities topped the list with Fort Lauderdale in first, Fort Myers in second, and West Palm Beach in third.

All are in both general sales tax and travel-related services such as car rental, hotel and meals.
Following in fourth was Detroit, and Portland, Oregon, in fifth.

The five highest-tax imposing cities on travelers….

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TODAY Show: Staying Overnight for Less

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

T+L Features Director Nilou Motamed shares great resources for saving money on accommdations. Plus, family-friendly summer deals!

Vacationist Hotel Deals: Spotlight on Florida

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Summer may be off-season in Florida, but that means that airfare from major cities is discounted (we just spotted Newark to Miami International for $188), free outdoor activities abound—including movie screenings at Miami’s Frank Gehry-designed New World Center—and hotel pool scenes are buzzing. Looking to join in on the fun? This week, Vacationist is featuring deals on two Florida hotspots, both for up to 30 percent off. First up, Grove Isle Hotel & Spa, a 50-room property on a 20-acre island in Biscayne Bay that boasts a popular bay-front pool, or head an hour north to Delray Beach, where the Seagate Hotel in Palm Beach County will shuttle you from its pool scene to the private beach club in no time. Just grab the sunscreen and go.

Not a member? Click here to join.

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