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Hyatt Place & YouTube Star Sonia Gil Name the Perfect Holiday Gifts for Travelers

Need a gift for a traveler in your life? Or better yet, want to give someone a little inspiration on what to get YOU this season?
 
Globetrotter and YouTube Vlogger, Sonia Gil of “Sonia’s Travels” shares the perfect small gifts for the holidays (think stocking stuffers, Secret Santa, and holiday grab-bag!) on Hyatt Place's new Seamless Travel Series, which is designed to arm travelers with tips to ensure that their travel experience is just right.
 
From packing cubes to gear ties (I need these), and tips on what to do if you forget your charger, her video includes great gifts for travelers.
 
For more on Sonia's expert tips and Hyatt's Seamless Travel Series, visit Hyatt on Facebook.

Gabrielle Blitz is associate social media editor at Travel + Leisure.

Americans Let Paid Vacation Days Go To Waste

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With the holidays right around the corner, many Americans are cashing in precious vacation days. And while it may seem that offices across the nation are empty, many employees are still hard at work. With only 14 paid days off, on average, it may surprise you to learn that Americans generally let four of those go to waste every year.

This year, Expedia’s annual Vacation Deprivation Survey revealed that even though Americans get, and use, less paid vacation time than any other country—they didn’t feel nearly as deprived as others.

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Sneak Peek: Breckenridge’s New Peak 6

It’s not every day that a ski resort massively expands out its skiable acres. Maybe it opens a new lift or on-mountain restaurant, but for a resort to increase its footprint by 20% is an enormous undertaking. Yet that’s exactly what Colorado’s Breckenridge Ski Resort is doing with its new mountain, called Peak 6, which opens on Christmas Day. And since I was out in Colorado, I stopped by Breck for a pre-opening look.

First off, the stats: Peak 6 brings 400 acres of lift-served terrain and 143 acres of hike-to terrain (skewing intermediate but pretty evenly split between intermediate and expert trails), three new bowls, eight new cut trails, and two new chairlifts. In all, it’s one of the biggest ski-area terrain expansions in North America in the past decade. And it’s on top of Breck’s existing five peaks, 2,900 acres, four terrain parks, a 22-foot superpipe, 11 bowls, and the highest chairlift in North America.

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Check out Delta's New Holiday Video

We're loving Delta's new holiday video, which features flight attendents, pilots, and other crewmembers making music with improvised instruments—peanuts and service carts, for example. Take a look!

It seems like there's a new airline video every day, as legacy liners and up-and-comers strive to retain loyalty among their flyers. Expect to see a Virgin America holiday video sometime soon.

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.

Affordable Getaways for the Holiday Season

Get away this season to enjoy holiday cheer in a new place—all for under $200 a night.

Maison Fleurie, Yountville, CA

Centrally located in Yountville, this 13-room inn is within walking distance of the town’s holiday decorations, festive shops, and standout restaurants. Enjoy the inn’s complimentary wine and seasonal hors d’oeuvres each afternoon with cranberry-chocolate scones and carafes of hot cocoa. And since you’re in wine country, be sure to celebrate the holiday season by taking a tasting tour at some of the top vineyards in the country—some are in walking distance from the hotel. Doubles from $150/night.

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Andaz Hotels Feature Local Artists With First-Ever Online Holiday Bazaar

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In the season of giving, nothing is more satisfying than knowing your gift is appreciated. Now, Andaz Hotels are ensuring online shoppers that their thoughtful presents will bring smiles near and far with the first-ever Andaz Holiday Bazaar. The boutique hotel group has partnered up with local artists from around the world (think trendsetting cities like New York, London, and Shanghai) to create an eclectic collection of items for purchase on Joyus.com. Not only will your loved one take pride knowing that the hip-hugging Alexander Campaz dress you bought them is one of a kind (seriously—only one was made), but you can take solace that all proceeds from the sale will be donated to Women for Women International (WfWI), a nonprofit organization helping to rebuild the lives of women in war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Rwanda.

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Holiday and Airport Travel Tips Straight From Our Experts

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Where are you going for the holidays? We recently asked a panel of travel experts in an Airport and Holiday Travel Twitter Chat, and the answers ranged the gamut.

The Weather Channel is having a “Staycation #HomeForTheHolidays.” T+L International Editor, Mark Orwoll, has a similar plan—he said, “Turns out everyone’s coming to MY house this year. Now I guess I have to invite all of you too, to avoid hurt feelings.” What’s for dinner, Mark? We’re not about to turn down that invitation!

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Airport and Holiday Travel Twitter Chat on Wednesday, November 13th

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Going home for the holidays? Thanksgiving is one of the biggest travel days of the year and to prepare, we'll be discussing airport and holiday travel strategies, tips, and advice this Wednesday, November 13th from 2-3pm EDT.

Ask our panel of insiders for their expert advice!

The Hosts:

Mark Orwoll, T+L International Editor, @orwoll

Jennifer Flowers, T+L Travel News Editor and Trip Doctor team member, @TLTripDoctor

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Family-Friendly Thanksgiving Getaways

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Among the many words used to describe the holidays, for me, "exhausting" somehow supercedes all that giving and thanks business. As much as I enjoy the tradition of it all, there’s part of me that wants to run far, far away. This is because a) The hours and hours of shopping and re-shopping and clean up and re-clean up and b) Thanksgiving means I have exactly 28 days left to get my act together for Christmas. This year, I'm going to my husband's parents house...again. But there's no harm in daydreaming, right? Here's where I'd take my kids if I ever get the courage to say no to the family mafia.

Avalon, Catalina Island
Biking. Kayaking. Lying on the sand doing absolutely nothing. Catalina Island, off the coast of California, is a postcard-perfect beach escape for families. Make Avalon your base and rent a cottage or waterfront villa for the long weekend. In town, Seaport Bistro and Villa Portofino restaurants are both serving traditional Thanksgiving meals, but you could always hole up in your house and skip it altogether.

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KAYAK Expands Abroad & Releases Holiday Travel Guide

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KAYAK recently announced that it will be expanding its travel search site to eight new markets in the coming weeks. Having already launched in Australia and the Netherlands, the Priceline-owned company also plans to set up in Belgium, Ireland, Mexico, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Singapore.

Back in the US, KAYAK continues to help us find great deals on airfare and hotels—especially useful as the holiday season sneaks up. The site released their Holiday When to Book & Travel Guide, which breaks down travel tips by each holiday—and warns against waiting to book. According to KAYAK's guide, which is based on millions of queries conducted on the site last year, the cheapest flights can be found between September and mid-October. After mid-October, airfare prices skyrocket 17% for Thanksgiving, 51% for Christmas, and 25% for New Year’s Eve. These numbers hold true for domestic flights—unfortunately, international fares saw no low period during the season.

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