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Ski Deals and Beach Plans for Presidents' Day Weekend

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It's official: Every state in the continental US—minus Florida—has snowfall. And with a long weekend coming up, it's the perfect opportunity to head to the hills for some skiing. Sites like Liftopia, Snow.com, and GetSkiTickets.com are offering last minute deals all over the country. Our favorite savings? Liftopia's $14 ski pass for New Hampshire's Ragged Mountain tomorrow—that's a 79% discount. They're selling out fast though, so act fast!

Tired of the snow? Here are some tips to book a last-minute beach vacation.

Peter Schlesinger is a Research Assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. 

Photo credit: Cultura Creative/ YAY Media AS

February Vacation Deals

Lexington Hotel

Art & Culture

Chicago: 30% off historical blues package

Windy City Blues package includes:

• 2 nights' accommodations in a standard room at Kimpton’s Hotel Allegro, with mod-retro rooms in the theater district
• 2 tickets to Buddy Guy’s Legends blues club, owned by the iconic artist himself
• Admission to Chicago’s History Museum to see the “Crossroads of America” exhibit on the history behind America’s Blues Capital

Cost: $270 ($135 per night)

Book via telephone only for travel between February 1 and March 31.

For more information, please visit Kimpton’s Hotel Allegro; to book, please call (800) 643-1500 and use booking code BLUE14.

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New Website Trip Rebel Offers Hotel Savings

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A new website called Trip Rebel—currently in beta—is aiming to be the next Tingo. The concept is simple: You book your hotel stay through the Germany- and Austria-based site, which currently lists more than 200,000 properties around the world. It then tracks your reservation for price reductions every day until you check in. If the price drops, you’ll be automatically re-booked at the new rate, and the difference is refunded to your credit card.

There’s no limit to how much you can receive, and you can adjust your “money back level”—or the amount at which you would want to get a refund (it defaults at 1 euro). When booking, you can filter by type, room features, TripAdvisor rating, and amenities (including the puzzling “accessible path of travel” and “accessible bathroom”).

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Airbnb Offers One Night Discount Deal for First Time Bookers

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Beginning today until January 17, first-time Airbnb users will receive up to $300 off one night’s stay at any location across the globe. If you’re like me and have all of your 2014 travel resolutions planned out, the discount deal is the perfect excuse to start booking. You’ll have to travel by March 31 (a date far enough away to plan, close enough to spark excitement) for at least two days, which seems easy enough to swing since the rental site lists about 500,000 properties worldwide.

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Swiss Hotels Offer Pay-What-You-Want Holiday Promotion

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Early booking specials and last-minute deals are ubiquitous in the travel industry, so we at T+L are always fascinated when someone gets creative with their pricing.

A collection of hotels in Switzerland have done just that with their "Pay What You Want" two-night stay offer before the holidays. Guests pay the normal rate for the first night, and then decide what they'd like to pay for their second night based on the service they receive. And given that each of the 18 participating hotels were voted some of Switzerland's Most Welcoming Hotels in 2013, it's likely their award-winning service will have guests paying full price or more for their second night stays.

Learn more at Switzerland Tourism's website.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Photo credit: Martin Ruetschi/Keystone/Corbis

Last Chance: Maine Leaf-Peeping At Its Best

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Fiery red, amber orange, golden yellow—these autumn colors are trademarks of the season, and the perfect excuse to plan a weekend getaway along New England's coast.

Maine’s striking foliage is still in its prime, and just an easy drive from Boston. Pack up the car and course along one of America’s best fall color drives to get there, or opt for a train ride to take in the hues. (Amtrak's Downeaster service departs five times daily from Boston to Portland.) Once you arrive, the fall viewing opportunities take to the sky, literally. Step onto a private plane with The Inn at Brunswick Station, whose “Fall Foliage Flyover” package offers for an hour-long aerial tour of Maine’s coastline. Or, take the Maine Eastern Railroad further north. Passengers will get an eyeful of colorful views on the 57-mile trip along state's scenic Mid-Coast, from Brunswick to Rockland.

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Fly to Australia's Top Spots with a Discount

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Next trip to add to your bucket list for 2014? An adventure to one of Australia’s top destinations.

Tourism Australia and Air New Zealand are offering vistors special fares for an Australian voyage when they visit Go Mighty’s #GoAustralia site.

Register for a “seat” on an Air New Zealand plane and once 332 people register (the number it takes to fill a Boeing 777-300 aircraft), a special discount will be triggered so that each participant will receive a unique coupon code.

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Now You Can Use American Express Rewards Points to Pay for Taxi Rides

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Travelers and locals can now use their American Express Rewards Points to pay for taxi rides in New York City.

As of today, American Express is letting cardholders use their rewards to pay for NYC cab fares in real time, at the end of their ride. Not only does it open the door to use smaller point balances efficiently—it’s the first time that cardholders (with any kind of plastic) can pay with rewards currency at the point of purchase. Amex loyalists who opt to pay for a NYC cab ride with credit card will automatically see their points balance upon swiping—they’ll then be given the choice to pay with, say, 2107 points for a $21.07 taxi fare. Not in NYC? Fret not: we’re inclined to believe that instant points payment might become the name of the game as banks re-examine the often-frustrating process of cashing out rewards.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Photo courtesy of American Express

Vail's Epic Pass Announces Global Ski Race

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Just last week, we wrote about saving big on ski passes by purchasing them early from Liftopia and Epic Pass. Now, Epic Pass has announced a new competition—fittingly dubbed the Epic Race.

The first ten people to ski all 26 resorts included in the Epic Pass will win a pass for life. That means free lift-tickets to some of the world's top ski destinations: U.S. mountains include Vail, Beaver Creek, and Breckenridge. In the French, Swiss, and Austrian Alps, passholders can enjoy the slopes at mountains such as Courchevel, Verbier, and Stuben.

Registration for the Epic Race starts November 1. Learn more here.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Photo credit: iStockphoto

onefinestay.com Now Offers Private Apartment Stays in Paris, London, NYC, and L.A.

onefinestay's listing for cliveden place, london

onefinestay—which is kind of like airbnb.com’s wealthy Auntie Mame—offers posh private apartments for short-term rentals.  If you're a well-heeled traveler interested in privacy and space without sacrificing the services of a hotel, they've got the digs for you. Fine linens, fluffy towels, discreet maid service, and even a iPhone fully loaded with local recommendations will make you feel right at home, or even better, during your stay.

Until recently, onefinestay limited its offerings to homes in London and NYC (some of which, we’re told, belong to celebs, so check the family photos for familiar faces), but has now extended its boundaries to include Paris and Los Angeles. So if you’re planning a trip to those cities, peruse some of their swank—and sometimes surprisingly affordable— possibilities for accommodations.

onefinestay.com 

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

Image of Cliveden Place apartment, courtesy of onefinestay.com

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