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How to See D.C. in Summer Without Killing Your Kids

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Budget-style family trips to Washington, D.C.—everyone sleeping in one hotel room with tiny bath towels doing double duty at a tiny hotel pool—can still be fun, don’t get me wrong. But just don’t try one in summer. 

Summers in D.C. are brutally hot and relentlessly crowded. The museums along the Mall, because they are free and air-conditioned, invite larger than usual huddled masses yearning to breathe free air-conditioning. The crowds dully shuffle past Lincoln's top hat and Apollo space capsules and Plains Indian weavings, and what seemed exciting and inspiring begins to seem stultifying and meaningless.  Your kids start to talk about the hotel pool.  Frequently, and in increasingly thin voices. Your feet hurt and there’s too much more to see before you head back to the featureless hotel room.  Budget no longer seems worth the savings. 

This thoughtful package from the Mandarin Oriental (parents note: sun-lit 50-foot indoor pool, guestroom views of the Jefferson Memorial or the Tidal Basin) makes some sense if you can splurge and would like to avoid all that huddling and loud yearning.

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Haute Hotel Deal: Elysian Partners with Marc Jacobs

This summer, The Elysian hotel in Chicago is celebrating America—and great American designer, Marc Jacobs—with a complimentary limited edition towel and tote:201007-b-usatotejpg

From now through Labor Day, book a room at the Elysian and receive a super-cute USA totebag and American Flag beach towel from Marc Jacobs. They're the perfect accessories to bring to North Avenue Beach.

The bag (just $18) is also available at Marc Jacobs stores (the only one in Chicago is at the Elysian Hotel). Book at ElysianHotels.com. Rates start at $495 and include breakfast in bed.

Courtesy of Elysian Hotels/Marc Jacobs

Vacationist: Greece, Palm Beach, Amalfi Coast, Hot Springs

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July may be on its way out the door, but there’s still plenty of time to book a dream getaway before the summer is up! Just hop on over to Vacationist.com, sign up for a membership, and take advantage of the fantastic values offered for luxury hotels around the world!

The Elounda Mare Hotel in Greece, overlooking Crete's turquoise Mirabello Bay, offers spectacular views of the sea and distant mountains. (If you’d like to avoid the energetic beach scene, we suggest opting for one of the roomier Deluxe Bungalows situated farther from the sand—with their own private patios and saltwater pools, it’ll be your own private paradise.)

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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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Bid for Good: Give Back by Traveling

201007-b-bodhi-logojpgThere’s no denying that over at T+L lately, we’ve been flushed with auction fever. First came Vacationist (a new private hotel sale site brought to you by T+L and online auction veteran Luxury Link), then last week it was Mystery Auctions. Who doesn’t love a good deal—especially if it’s for a great cause?

Which brings us to today’s auction announcement: The Bodhi Tree Foundation, a terrific first-of-its-kind nonprofit founded by heavy-hitters in the travel industry to fund worthwhile projects around the world (schools in Haiti, libraries in Mexico, tiger conservation in India, more), is auctioning off some amazing travel experiences.

Items range from city stays at NYC’s perennially chic 60 Thompson Hotel to bucolic getaways at the Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche on the French Riviera. And the values are tremendous (as is the feeling you get from contributing to this visionary organization and important causes), but hurry—you have just another three days to bid!

Image courtesy of The Bodhi Tree Foundation

Virgin America "World's Best" Sale: Today Only!

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We just revealed our annual World's Best Awards this morning, and we're happy to see that our winners are already celebrating! Virgin America, which was voted Best Domestic Airline for the third year in a row, is throwing a "Three-Peat" sale today. Fares start as low as $33, but hurry, because the sale ends at 5 P.M. PDT this evening.

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Vacationist: SoCal, Greece, St. Lucia!

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Dear Carry On reader,

If you happen to live along the sweltering East Coast, in any one of the Gulf states, or any place where summer has yet to kick into high gear, you are no doubt day-dreaming—about strong, cooool ocean breezes, tar-free beaches, and well, a good old-fashioned getaway designed with a little barefoot relaxation in mind. This week, Vacationist comes to the rescue with a grab bag of terrific hotel offers guaranteed to bring relief:

Terranea Resort — 30 percent off
Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Escape to this former Marineland theme park in Southern Cali; the 102-acre, Mediterranean-style seaside resort comes complete with a 50,000-square-foot spa.

Diamond Deluxe Hotel — 53 percent off
Kos, Greece
With all the water in and around it—from glass-like pools weaving through the property to the sparkling Aegean—this 110-room boutique resort on the island of Kos appears to float.

Rendezvous — 42 percent off
Castries, Saint Lucia
Massages, showers, chaise longues—everything short of bicycles—are built for two at this couples-only resort.

Vacationist.com is brought to you by Travel + Leisure and LuxuryLink.com.

Photo courtesy of Terranea Resort

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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