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Contest Watch: Paris, Mexico, Reykjavik + More

201110-b-hoteljules-1jpgThis month’s contest watch is a study in contradictions. Have a romantic escape to Paris or take the family to LEGOLAND. Indulge in a escape to Mexico, or help bring fresh drinking water to communities in Rwanda. It may be hard to chose, but entering is easy.

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3-Day Club Med Sale From $129 Per Person!

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Club Med, that French hippy grandma of all-inclusive beach resorts, is running a weekend sale that could get you and yours a place in the sun for prices that start at $129 per adult and kids from 50% of that!

The Club Med Go Sale covers 3- to 7-night stays at its properties in Cancun, Ixtapa, Punta Cana, Sandpiper Bay in Florida, Turkoise in Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and Martinique.

The sale runs from midnight on Friday through midnight on Sunday, with available travel dates between October 17 and February 17, depending on the property.  The resorts have higher (but not crazy high) rates over holidays.  Prices include all meals, snacks and beverages (non-alcoholic as well as premium alcoholic drinks), lots of sports and activities, kids’ clubs, and all varieties of room configurations for all varieties of travelers.

For more information or to book, please visit Club Med, or call (800) 258- 2633.

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

Photo courtesy of Club Med, Punta Cana

Gliding Around Chicago on a Segway

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I know that as an editor at a travel magazine I really should have more refined tastes. But secretly, I’ve always wanted to ride a Segway around a city. Whenever happy tourists have whizzed past me in D.C. or San Francisco, I’ve been a little jealous, but my travel companions are generally of the type who would rather walk barefoot on burning asphalt than be caught dead on the funny-looking two-wheeled contraptions.

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Scavenger Hunt Launched at Florida’s South Seas Island Resort

family on the beachScavenger hunts built around a destination’s unique characteristics are quickly becoming my favorite trend in family travel.  Engaging a kid in something beyond the hotel swimming pool is a sneaky way to keep them learning while on vacation and to cultivate passionate travelers and fun travel companions.

Sarah Khan reported this month about Colonial Williamsburg’s current patriot/spy game that has young visitors in blue neckerchiefs burning up the cobblestones.  Now there’s a new way to play at a family destination.

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Spy Games in Colonial Williamsburg

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When this package came across my desk, I couldn't help but be intrigued.

Turns out it contained my set of orders for RevQuest: Sign of the Rhinoceros, a new alternate-reality game going on through the end of the August at Colonial Williamsburg. Geared toward "spies" ages eight and up (though history-geek adults like me apparently make up a huge chunk of the players), RevQuest begins with a top-secret mission that is explained in hushed tones by Agent 368 at Mr. Prentis's Shop.

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TODAY Show: Staying Overnight for Less

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

T+L Features Director Nilou Motamed shares great resources for saving money on accommdations. Plus, family-friendly summer deals!

Snorkel Surprise on Alaska Cruise

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The giant purple starfish had me trying to say “wow” in my snorkel mask. The big, spiky red sea urchin looked like dinner. The long, wavy sea kelp reminded me of TV “housewives” with flowing blonde hair extensions.

The colorful undersea delights might have seemed less surprising in a warm weather climate, say the Caribbean. But this was in Alaska.

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National Park Service Announces 6 New Natural Landmarks

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Looking for some inspiration for your next summer road trip? Take advantage of the warm weather and head out west to check out the six new national natural landmarks!

Named on June 15 by the National Park Service, the newly dubbed landmarks are part of Obama’s "America’s Great Outdoors" initiative, which aims to conserve the natural beauty of some of the most beautiful areas of the country for future generations. Highlights of the newest batch of national treasures include Golden Fossil Areas, which are internationally-renowned for having unique fossil footprints, and Hanging Lake, a stunningly gorgeous lake that plays home to both a rare wetland ecosystem and hanging gardens. (Both are in Colorado.) However, if these don’t trip your trigger, there are over 500 other national natural landmarks to choose from.

For a complete listing of the new national landmarks, check out the National Park Service’s website.

Kirsten Stamn is an ASME intern at Travel + Leisure.

NPS photo courtesy of J.B. Bell

TODAY Show: Quick Weekend Getaways

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Effective Today, American Airlines Requires Large Strollers to Be Checked As Baggage

If you're ever among the last to board a flight, as I often am, you're familiar with the sight of baby strollers, sometimes a dozen or more, parked in the jetway near the aircraft door. Long a tradition with family travelers, "gate-checking" strollers is commonplace on most airlines. Passengers often prefer to keep infants in their strollers until they enter the plane, leave the carriers with a crew member to be stored just before departure, and then brought back out onto the next jetway after arrival. But don't count on doing that with many types of strollers anymore if you're flying on American Airlines. Starting today, a new AA rule stipulates that "all strollers that are large, non-collapsible or over 20 lbs." must be checked at the ticket counter.

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