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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

United Door-to-Door Baggage Service Just $25/Bag

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United Airlines is conducting an exciting short-term experiment: If you book their Door-to-Door Baggage Service before 5 p.m. this Friday, they’ll arrange to pick up and deliver up to 9 pieces of luggage for $25 each.  The service can be booked up to 10 days in advance of a domestic trip, so even if you’re not flying for a few days, you can book it now.  The $25/bag fee covers one-way travel (so $50 roundtrip) and is only available in locations served by FedEx.

To get an idea of just how great a value this is, consider that United currently charges $25 for your first checked bag and $35 for a second bag.  (Think bypassing the airline and shipping directly through FedEx may be a deal?  Think again.  The company charges upwards of $230 to overnight one 50 lb. bag from New York to Los Angeles. Costs drop significantly with 2nd- or 3rd day delivery, but still don't merit savings enough to live out of a carry-on bag.)

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More Hotels Offer 'Pay Before You Stay' Discounts

USA Today |  Pay before you stay, and save. That has been the deal with online travel sites and discount tour operators. Now, an increasing number of hotels are slashing room rates if you ante up in full in advance and forego a refund if you don't show up.

Last year, Fairmont hotels began offering savings up up to 30% to those who book ahead and pay in full.

Now, "I would say the majority of our hotels offer 'Savers' rates. It's one way we can offer a discount" without cheapening the upscale brand, Fairmont spokeswoman Lori Holland says. Prepaying also guarantees revenue ahead of time: "We know people are coming," she says.

Las Vegas hotels often charge a credit card when a stay is booked. But Station Casinos, with 10 properties in the area including the upscale Red Rock Resort, just announced a tiered, online pre-pay program that offers deep discounts.

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Find Flights for Less on Momondo.com

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Have you heard of Momondo.com yet? I’m always scouting for affordable flights, like every savvy traveler these days, and recently came across this Copenhagen-based aggregator (U.S. searches make up one-third of its market).

Whenever I encounter a site like this, I’m skeptical—how can this site really be better than the rest?—but it’s hard to argue with Momondo’s credentials. It claims to search more than 750 airfare sources (U.S. competitor Kayak covers roughly half that), including low-cost carriers, consolidators, aggregators, fledgling and major airlines. And when traveler advocate Arthur Frommer tested the top American agreegators—including Kayak, SideStep, and FareChase—only to find that the European Momondo consistently found fares that were 20 to 40 percent less.

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Just Back: Ambergris Caye, Belize

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On such a wintery day, I can’t help but daydream about my recent whirlwind trip to Ambergris Caye, a small island off the northeastern coast of Belize—a place so consistently warm that residents easily (and even somewhat wistfully) recall in detail the one day of the year they wore a sweater. I was there to check out a hotel for T+L’s “40 Secret Beach Hideaways” (March 2010), and expected to spend most of my time stretched out on a white sand beach, piña colada in hand. The island, after all, is only 25 miles long and one mile wide. And while I did my fair share of reclining, I was surprised—and thrilled—to discover how many activities are available to the traveler. Here’s my short list for how to best explore the island and its surroundings.

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Affordable Miami: Get the Incard

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With most of the country experiencing near Arctic temps right now, Miami—a lone warm-weather destination on the eastern seaboard—is looking pretty good. And there's another reason to go: travel discounts!

Miami Beach tourism is offering a slim and subtle bar-coded card for discounts as big as 20% at the area's top shops, restaurants, museums, hotels, and more. The card comes in two colors: platinum for tourists, and black for residents.

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Denmark Full of Shiny, Happy People

200910-b-christian-alsing3jpg The Danes have come up with an unusual way to lure travelers to their country. They’re very happy, and if you visit, it might rub off on you! (And save you some money.)

The claim of joyfulness is based on scientific surveys, not merely on, say, an interview with a Copenhagen resident after a few glasses of schnapps on a Friday evening. In one recent research endeavor—the World Values Survey, the work of a global network of social scientists—Denmark came out on top when it comes to the happiness of its residents.

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Read My Lips...This Affordable NYC Hotel is Awesome!

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When it won the bid to re-conceive the Best Western President Hotel at Times Square, the award-winning architectural firm Stonehill & Taylor (who have redesigned NYC's iconic Plaza Hotel in the past) again pledged allegiance to good design—this time embracing its patriotic side.

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Last night, New York City’s first politically-themed hotel celebrated its grand re-opening after receiving a $15 million overhaul. Centrally located at 48th Street just off Broadway, the hotel has 334 rooms and suites starting at the recession friendly rate of $139 a night (talk about a new deal!), where the term “presidential suite” takes on a whole new meaning—guests can book the Obama, Reagan, Kennedy or even the Nixon suite (don’t worry, it’s not bugged).

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