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Europe Without Hotels

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New York Times
|  In the middle of a cool, cloudless Parisian afternoon, light was pouring into my guest room from a turn-of-the-century courtyard in the 10th Arrondissement. I clambered up to the loft bed, suspended above dark oak floors, and stared at the textiles shop sign swinging in the courtyard through the large, almost floor-to-ceiling windows.

A bottle of Bordeaux was breathing; other amenities included a pantry stocked with cereal, milk and yogurt. I also had a phone number to call if I needed dinner recommendations or, perhaps, extra shower gel. But I was happy sitting at the window, nodding at my new neighbors as they wheeled their bikes onto the street and headed into the cafe-lined Marais.

Hotel guests pay handsomely for such perks, but I wasn’t in a hotel. Nor was I in some vacation rental. I was in the home of Julien Szeps, a 26-year-old chef whom I met through a new kind of short-term rental service called AirBnB.com. And the studio apartment was only 65 euros a night, about $80 at $1.23 to the euro. Not bad for an entire apartment with a full kitchen and bathroom, less than 10 minutes by foot from the Louvre. (Image credit: AirBnB.com)

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Vacationist: Bangkok, Dominican Republic, Zihuatanejo

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Poo poo all those grumpy naysayers who tell you that summer’s almost over and you’ll never find a deal on a hotel room.  The poor things don’t know about the great deals being offered on Vacationist.com.  Here’s a look at the current slate:

Got “one night in Bangkok?"  You will want to stretch your stay to a few more days when you see the Vacationist offer for Lebua at State Tower. The Lebua, 67 stories tall, offers spectacular views of the busy streets of Bangkok from the serene sanctuary of its spacious guestrooms.   Vacationist is offering nightly rates for up to 30% lower than other sites for suites or tower rooms, with daily breakfast.

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Vacationist: Dominican Republic, NYC, Vermont, Mexico

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Fourth of July weekend is just about here! If you waited too long to make plans—or just didn't want to deal with the high volume of travelers trekking to and fro—then head on over to Vacationist.com and book a relaxing post-holiday vaca. The four newest properties on sale are:

Zoetry Agua Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
All your needs will be tended to at this all-inclusive Oceanfront beach resort, where check-in and -out times are non-existent. Spend your time taking up one of the many hotel activities—snorkeling, anyone?—or grab a beach towel and cocktail and lounge by the pool.

Topnotch Resort and Spa, Stowe, VT
Vermont is not just a winter destination, and Topnotch will help you take advantage of all the area has to offer. Get a tour of the lush maple and pine trees on horseback or head into town to sample tasty Vermont cheeses.

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Vacationist: London, Amalfi Coast, and Lake Tahoe

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Do you start to panic about summer vacation days not taken when July 4 rolls around?  Join Vacationist.com, and calm those waves of anxiety by perusing our currently featured offerings:

Resort at Squaw Creek, Tahoe, California
Fly-fishing?  Skiing?  Dog-sledding?  Careening down the 120-foot waterslide? A stay at this timber lodge in the Sierra Nevadas offers as much seasonal adventure as you can handle, or as much time lounging in front of a fireplace or a expansive view of the Alpine lake as you’d like.

The Landmark, London
A stay in this aptly named grande dame in Marylebone will transport you to a romantic era of travel, where the journey ends in a hushed, cool lobby of marble columns and stately palms.  Stroll over to the High Street to find boutiques featuring next year’s designers, tony wine shops, local cheesemongers, and restaurants that have the city buzzing.

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Flash Sale: Southwest Flights Starting at $39

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This year it was named the least-complained-about airline by consumers; last year the Bureau of Transportation Statistics declared it the third best airline, with an 83% on-time takeoff record. But now Southwest has something else to celebrate: its 39th anniversary! Okay, okay, so 39 is maybe, shall we say, an odd year to celebrate an anniversary, but we don't really care. Why? Because they're using this as an opportunity to offer a flash sale on flights, with rates starting as low as—you guessed it—$39!

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Vacationist: Caribbean, SoCal, and New England!

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Think it's too late to book your summer vacation? Think again. There are some amazing deals this week on vacationist. Don't miss reduced-priced stays at:

CARIBBEAN
Laluna in Morne Rouge, Grenada
Looking to make your summer getaway a summer hideaway? Run away to this tropical cove in Grenada that is all about privacy—private beach, private cottage, private plunge pools. . . the list goes on.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa in La Jolla, California
La Jolla is peaceful, but also close enough to San Diego's beaches and SeaWorld for an entertaining vacation for the whole family.

NEW ENGLAND
The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa in Essex, Vermont
Sharpen your knife skills or backyard grilling technique at the resort's culinary academy located near the Green Mountains.

There are only four days left to take advantage of specials. Head over to vacationist.com now and book your summer getaway.

Photo credit: iStock

Vacationist: Southwest and Amalfi Coast!

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There's nothing sweeter than nabbing a good travel deal—especially in summer, when getting away for a much-needed break is not optional, it's a must! And right now is a smart time to start your search. Why? Because vacationist has some terrific offerings this week!

Currently on sale:

SOUTHWEST
Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa in Lajitas, Texas — 30% off
Southwestern swagger meets the rugged life (no roughing-it necessary) where Pancho Villa once led raids along the Rio Grande.

AMALFI COAST
Furore Inn Resort in Furore, Italy — 38% off
One of the most gorgeous places on the planet. Really.

There are just six days left to take advantage of these great values, so what are you waiting for? Head to vacationist.com and book your next trip!

Photo courtesy of Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa

Wimco Announces 48-Hour Villa Sale

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Everyone loves a bargain, and these days, it seems like there’s a smart way to score all kinds of high-end goods—even travel. (Oh, by the way, have you seen Vacationist?)

Luxury villa rental agency, Wimco, is having a 48-hour villa sale featuring properties in Tuscany and Mykonos. From 10 am Wednesday, June 26th to 10 am May 28th, savvy travelers can find deals between 20–50% off low season pricing.

To book, visit wimco.com and do it quickly for goodness’ sake!

Charlotte Savino is the online listings editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Wimco.

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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JetBlue 2-Day Sale with Fares from $29

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JetBlue fired up one of its short-term, big-savings sales this morning.  Book a flight anywhere they fly for prices that start at $29 each way.  You have to buy the tickets by midnight on Wednesday for travel between April 13 to June 16.  There are blackout dates for some destinations and sale fares to other destinations are available only on specific days of the week. 

Restrictions be damned.  Spontaneous getaways seem pretty viable when, for the price of two movie tickets and some popcorn, you can fly away.

Ann Shields is a senior online editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of JetBlue Airways

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