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Travel For Teachers Program Offers Discounted Stays for Summer Break

201405-hd-travel-for-teachersjpgWith the school year winding down, kids of all ages are counting the days until summer vacation. But when the last bell rings, no one’s more deserving of a little rest and relaxation than the teachers.

For the second year in a row, Austin-based website bedandbreakfast.com is honoring these educators’ hard work by offering them a host of discounted summer getaways.

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Bidroom Revolutionizes How Travelers Book Hotels

If you don’t mind putting your hotel plans on the auction block, check out the innovative new booking platform, Bidroom.

Less than two months ago, London-based startup Bidroom created a service that could both save customers money on a hotel room, as well as spare hoteliers the enormous commissions they’ve been coughing up to OTAs. 

Instead of traditional booking websites, which ask customers to input their dates and destinations in order to generate a database of fixed-rate rooms, Bidroom asks hotels to bid on guests.

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"The Rubber Duck" Makes U.S. Debut in Pittsburgh

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Move over penguins, there’s a new bird in Steel Town.

Currently floating down the Allegheny River is a 40-foot-tall (and 30-foot-wide) inflatable yellow duck. An art installation that simply goes by “The Rubber Duck,” created by Dutch artist, Florentijn Hofman.

Since its launch in 2007, the giant duck has swum the shores of Amsterdam, Belgium, Osaka, Sydney, São Paulo and most recently, Hong Kong.

The international sensation has debuted stateside as part of the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts. The festival is a four-week long series of dance, music, theater, performance and visual arts, presented by international artists making their U.S. debuts.

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Affordable Family Getaways: Maine, Carlsbad, Chicago

We’ve gathered five great summer getaways for every kind of family—and all are under $200 a night.

Camp for All Ages: Maine Camp Experience
A growing number of camps provide overnight camp sessions for the whole family—a great chance to have fun all together. Family Camp at Maine Camp Experience offers a range of camp options around the state. There’s plenty to enjoy: waterskiing, fishing, rock climbing, zip lining, archery, tennis lessons, arts and crafts, as well as sunset campfires and games organized by camp staff. Experiences range from specific two-night weekend sessions to lengthier, more flexible stays. Rates from $65/night per person ($55 for ages 6-11 and under 6 is free), includes accommodations, meals and activities. mainecampexperience.com

Related: More Great Family Getaways

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Just Back: Fernwood Resort in Big Sur

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As a Los Angeles native, I’m ashamed to admit that I had never been to Big Sur—only one of the most photographed and picturesque areas in California—until last July, when my fiancé and I embarked on a road trip up Highway 1 from L.A. to Napa. I had never seen the huge elephant seals lazing the day away (just south in Piedra Blancas), never gotten so close to a deer (at Point Lobos State Reserve); never stayed on a campground enclosed by towering redwood trees.

Ours was a high-low vacation: we saved money one night to splurge the next. But the budget-friendly stay in one of Fernwood Resort’s new adventure tents—complete with lamps, fluffy queen beds, and wood-burning stoves—turned out to be the highlight of the trip. (Although, as I blindly stumbled my way to the campground’s outhouse for the third time that night, I can’t say I didn’t fantasize about the luxe Post Ranch Inndown the road.)

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Ikea To Open 100 Boutique Hotels in Europe

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Inter Ikea, the parent company of the Swedish budget furniture store, is planning to enter the boutique hotel market. The group is currently scouting out locations in Europe and plans to open 100 budget design hotels over the next few years, starting with two in Germany in 2014. While the hotels won't carry the brand's furniture or name, they will maintain the brand's populist appeal, selling high-concept design at a low cost. Read more about the venture here.

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Marguerite A. Suozzi is an assistant research editor at Travel + Leisure.

Virgin Atlantic's 72-Hour L.A.-London Fare Sale

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I just got an email from Virgin Atlantic's P.R. rep announcing a three-day fare sale starting this morning and going through Thursday on airfare between Los Angeles and London. Travel dates are January 10 - March 26. The email said the fares were as low as $296 each way based on a round-trip purchase plus up to $250 in government taxes and fees. That would be a total of $842. But on the Virgin Atlantic website I found a total round-trip airfare of $711 for a departure on February 20 and a return on February 27. That same fare was also available on other travel dates. That's a very good airfare from L.A. The best competitive price on those same travel dates I found using Kayak was $827 on Delta, which is a decent fare in itself.

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Test Drive: Orbitz's New iPad App

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I'm sure we've all had the same experience at one time or the other: a spur-of-the-moment road trip cooked up with the intention of letting loose and seeing a bit of the gorgeous country we call home, the thrill of it largely contained in the fact that none of it was planned. And then the inevitable happens. Your eyes start to droop, signs start to blur in and out of focus, and your car starts weaving in its lane slightly. You need to find a place to stay for the night. Problem is, you don't know of any around.

Well, now there's an app for that.

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Ritz-Carlton for $10 a night. No, really.

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Yep, just 1 Alexander Hamilton can get you a room at Florida’s Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne. Of course, we didn’t say there wasn’t a catch. Actually, there are several, so listen up: the Ritz has set aside only 10 rooms for this ridiculous rate; it’s available over selected dates in July (5-7, 10-13, 18, 25, 26); it’s a resort-view room (you want to see water for $10?); and to get one, there’s just a 4-hour window in which to make your reservation—this Friday, June 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST. Here’s the magic number to call: 305-365-4582.

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JetBlue Brings Back Its "All You Can Jet" Pass

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Travel fiends rejoice! JetBlue is bringing back its "All You Can Jet" promotion. Whereas last time, $599 bought you 30 days of unlimited flight anywhere JetBlue flies, this time they're offering passengers two options: for $699, you can purchase an unlimited pass that will allow travel any day of the week. But if you're looking to save a few—or, y'know, 200—dollars, you can opt for the $499 pass. You'll still be able to travel anywhere JetBlue goes, as often as you want, but you won't be allowed to fly on Fridays or Sundays.

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