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Take the Kids to Cape Cod for Winter Break

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Winter break has a way of sneaking up on parents anyway, but a couple of snow days spent shooing kids away from computer screens makes the spectre of another long stretch of empty days at home unthinkable.

Arriving on the scene like a spandex-clad superhero is Cape Cod’s Sea Crest Beach Hotel. The recently renovated low-rise beachfront property ticks all the boxes for a winter family stay:

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Midweek Daydream: Beautiful Blue Beaches

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Distract yourself from this dreary winter's day with a gaze at these beautiful blue waters, from Australia's Great Barrier Reef to stunning Halong Bay in Vietnam, courtesy of our good friends at Beach Tomato.

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Rare Viral Disease Outbreak Spreads in the Caribbean

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This week, the Center for Disease Control reissued its Travel Watch to St. Martin, urging US citizens to take precautions against mosquitos in the Caribbean, responding to a viral disease currently spreading in several islands.

As of January 2nd, 122 cases of chikungunya have been confirmed in St. Martin (98 cases), St. Maarten (1), Martinique (13), Guadeloupe (3), and St. Bart's (7). According to the CDC, chikungunya's symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, and muscle and joint pains. Though rarely fatal, infected individuals can suffer from joint pain for months after the initial sickness.

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Sharks in Australia Are Now Showing Up On Twitter

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Sharks in Western Australia will now be making their way from the sea to your social news feed. Over 300 great whites, whaler sharks, and tiger sharks have been tagged with acoustic transmitters by government researchers, says NPR, which monitor exactly where the animals are swimming.

Once any of the 338 sharks come within a half-mile of the beach, its tag automatically sends out a tweet from the Surf Life Saving Western Australia (@SLSWA) Twitter account. Included in the alert is the shark’s size, breed, and approximate location—really giving away any attack plans for poor Jaws. While this is a truly innovative way to protect the area’s surfers and sunbathers, not every shark out there is tagged. Just because you don’t see it on Twitter, doesn’t mean a great white isn’t lurking close to shore. Our advice? Look both ways (and below) before diving in.

Maria PedoneMaria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Photo credit: Macduff Everton/Corbis

Affordable U.S. Private Islands for Rent

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Staying at Upper Saranac Lake's Dry Island will cost you $4,000/night, but it comes with a full staff, unlimited wine and 14 boats. Better yet? The entire island is yours, and yours alone, for your stay. Want to rent a private island in a warmer spot? Off the Florida Keys, Charlie's Island sleeps up to eight people for $2,795 for a full week. When you break that down, it's only about $50/night per person to have an island just for you and your friends. Turns out private islands aren't just for billionaires anymore.

Read More: Private Islands for Rent in the U.S.

Photo Courtesy of Aefa Mulholland

Sweepstakes: Win a Trip to Borneo and Bangkok

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Friendly Planet Travel in partnership with Tourism Malaysia and the Tourism Authority of Thailand are giving away an 11-day tour for two to Borneo and Bangkok when you enter to win on Facebook.

The tour introduces travelers to the lush beauty, landscapes, and diversity of Thailand and Malaysia.

“Thailand is a beautiful country that’s flush with exotic wildlife, spectacular islands, and fascinating history—it’s one of the most visited destinations we offer,” says President of Friendly Planet Travel, Peggy Goldman.

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Sweepstakes: Discover Your Own Hawaiian Island

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Are you more of the Maui-type? Or maybe you’re a Kauai?

Each Hawaiian island is unique when it comes to style, experience, culture, and personality—not unlike the individual travelers that visit them.

Hawaiian Airlines and the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau want to help you find the island that “represents” you. You can win 140,000 Hawaiian Miles when you enter the Find Your Island Sweepstakes on Facebook by October 9.

Take the quiz, and you could be visiting “your” island soon. Find out more here

Gabrielle Blitz is the Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo credit: DU BOISBERRANGER Jean /Hemis/Corbis

Nancy Novogrod, Editor-in-Chief, on Seeing the World Through T+L

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Twenty years ago last Friday I arrived at Travel + Leisure. I had been the editor in chief of House & Garden; a book editor at Clarkson Potter; and, fresh out of college, an assistant and then a reader in the fiction department of The New Yorker. I thought of myself as reasonably well traveled, though outside of what I’d read and edited, the closest I had come to South America was Mexico and the Caribbean, and to Asia, Hawaii. The world I entered in the summer of 1993 extended far beyond these boundaries to places that remain tagged in my memory for qualities that were then entirely new to me. My mental notes from a trip to Hong Kong in the fall of that year still remain: East-meets-West glamour; bamboo scaffolding; crossing Victoria Harbour on the Star Ferry. From Auckland, New Zealand: green-lipped mussels for lunch on Queen Street; Waiheke Island sheep; grass; New Age shops. And so on, from Botswana (sandstorm; hippos) to Japan (textiles; ceramics; lacquerware), and from Buenos Aires to Tromsø in Norway’s Arctic Circle.

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A Very Ohio Island Getaway

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Here’s a fun exercise: Tell people you’re taking an island vacation…to Ohio. Then see how quickly they start measuring you for a straightjacket.

It turns out, though, that Ohio does have islands, floating in Lake Erie just a few miles from shore. And they’re not the single-palm-tree variety; these tree-filled expanses spread over hundreds of acres and feature parks, Victorian-era B&Bs, historic sites, shopping, and wineries (yes, wineries).

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#LandsEndLaughs in Los Cabos, Mexico

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What could be better than having a few laughs on a beach in Mexico? How about if it were a free trip?

To celebrate the first annual Cabo Comedy Festival in Los Cabos, Mexico on October 2-6, the Los Cabos Tourism Board and Cabo Comedy Festival are giving away a 3-night trip to Cabo for two, including hotel, airfare, and VIP tickets to the event.

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