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Virgin America's Awesome New Sundries Bag + $100 Cross-Country Fares!

200910-b-virginjpg I already know that Virgin America is a favorite airline of our readers—it scored No. 1 in the domestic airline category of T+L’s 2009 World’s Best Awards—but I’m happy to report that Richard Branson’s company is continuing to impress with new deals and fun in-flight amenities.

Here's a selection of some of its latest low fares:

$109 one-way from San Francisco to Virgin’s newest destination, Ft. Lauderdale
$100 one-way from Los Angeles to Boston
$40 one-way from San Diego to San Francisco (cheaper than a tank of gas!)

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It’s Not Fare! U.S. Airlines Increase Ticket Prices

200910-b-airline-stuart-kellyalamyjpg This week, American, Continental, Delta/Northwest, Southwest, United, and US Airways announced fare increases that range from $5-10 for short hops to $8-16 for flights farther than 751 miles—a move that will result in millions in profit for the beleaguered airline industry.

In the plus column, the airlines haven’t ascribed new fare hikes to “amenities” like those HandiWipe headrest covers or, you know, lighting and oxygen in the cabins, but FareCompare.com, a site that tracks ticket pricing, reports that airlines are ganging up to raise fares nonetheless.

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NEWS: T+L Store Opens at JFK Airport

200910-b-storefrontjpg Eager fliers got their first glimpse of the new Travel + Leisure retail store in New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport's Terminal 2 today, snatching up Tumi suitcases and T+L Greatest Trips of 2009 books, perusing city maps, and grabbing North Face jackets to fight off the wet East Coast chill.

Travel + Leisure's first U.S. retail store—and only the third in the world—opened this week in JFK, in partnership with airport retail giant Hudson News.

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Join The Club: Jetsetter.com Members Get Steep Travel Discounts

200910-b-jetsetterjpg Ever find yourself daydreaming at work about booking a last-minute trip? Thanks to Jetsetter.com—the latest venture from Gilt Groupe, best known for their utterly addictive designer flash-sales—it’s easier and more tempting than ever to do just that.

Every day, the site sends registered members an email with a new batch of specially negotiated—and deeply discounted—hotel stays around the world (at press time, a City View Junior Suite at the Epic Hotel Miami was going for $169 per night—that’s $158, or nearly 50 percent, less than the hotel’s published rate!).

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Infant Travel Made Easy

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Consider it Fresh Direct for the still-in-diapers set. Since 2004, Babies Travel Lite, an e-tailor of  baby supplies, has been delivering goods to home addresses as well as hotels worldwide—taking the excess baggage out of traveling with an infant in tow.

The site has already partnered with Hyatt, giving guests who stay at a property within the brand a reduced service fee discount and streamlined ordering process. Disney Cruise Line recently joined the club—which means travel potties, bottle warmers, diapers, formula, and more can be shipped right to your stateroom on any of DCL’s liners.

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Live from T+L MarketWatch: Tactics for a New Economy + Trends

Some 120 industry leaders are just now sitting down to breakfast at Travel + Leisure’s bi-annual MarketWatch Summit, happening now at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. The theme is "No Regrets: Business Leaders On Tactics For A New Economy," and everyone’s looking forward to the discussion on trends not only on travel but across industries.

Our Editor-in-Chief, Nancy Novogrod, and our Publisher, Jean-Paul Kyrillos, are playing host to this gathering, which will feature a conversation with Stephen Hanson, founder and president of B.R. Guest Restaurants; a talk on travel trends from Nancy Novogrod; and a panel discussion with experts from several industries.

We’ll be live blogging for the next couple hours; check back for more.

TripIt: Insta-Itineraries At Your Fingertips

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My friends have been known to call me "Danny Tanner"—the super-organized-to-the-point-of-annoying dad from Full House—when it comes to my travel style. Think typed-up itineraries, folders filled with all necessary phone numbers, addresses, and confirmation codes, and even maps with directions (both to and from all major locations), just in case the GPS doesn’t work.

But things have been pretty hectic lately, which means I haven’t been able to dedicate enough time to being so anal while planning my upcoming trip to Italy. Luckily for me, Tripit.com came into my life to save the day.

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Time Travel: Elderhostel Changes Name, Gets Younger

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Hoping to get rid of dated impressions and open up its programs to adults of all ages, the 34-year-old educational travel organization Elderhostel recently changed its name to Exploritas, a combination of the words ‘explore’ and ‘veritas,’ to promote their mission of pursuing “adventures in lifelong learning,” particularly among baby-boomers.

"Elder was kind of a turnoff for me, and I'm beyond living in dorms with a backpack on my back. . .That was kind of the vision I had of it. But when I started seeing the opportunities and talking to somebody who had done it, obviously it's not the case," Jack Pickard, a 62-year-old from Ohio told the Wall Street Journal.

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Task Mistress: Rory Tahari Helps Travelers (and Everyone Else) Get Organized

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“When friends come to me for advice about a dilemma or event in their life, I always say, 'let’s make a list',” confesses Rory Tahari,” creative director and vice chair of the Elie Tahari fashion house.

Rory has parlayed her penchant for organization into a book called Lists for Life: The Essential Guide to Getting Organized and Tackling Tough To-Dos. In this helpful read, thinking is optional; just check off what needs to be done for every eventuality.

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Looking For Something To Do? Goby.com Can Help

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To keep Web surfers from drowning in endless oceans of information, task-focused search engines have been multiplying by the minute. Need to research a trip, or just looking for something to do on the weekend? Let Goby, which launched yesterday, do the fishing for you.

200909-b-goby-small.jpgWith not one, but three search bars (what you’d like to do, where and when), Goby helps travel planners reel in restaurant, activity and hotel recommendations in destinations all over the U.S. Results—sorted by relevance, distance or name—pop up with clickable tabs that provide additional images, pulled from Google and Flickr, and service information broken down in a neat table.

Like all new search engines, Goby is still working hard to iron out the kinks and to connect users with relevant results (the number one listing for a resort spa in Massachusetts? The Brahma Blue, a 12-acre “holistic oasis”…in Ambergis Caye, Belize). Only time will tell if they’ll  sink or swim, but we think they're off to a smart start.

Lisa Cheng is an assistant research editor at Travel + Leisure.


Images courtesy of Goby

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