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Dams, Dinosaurs & Deco: Scouting NYC Goes West

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In Flann O’Brien’s novel, At-Swim-Two-Birds, the protagonist takes a ‘vacation’ by propping a series of postcards around the wainscoting of his room and spending hours focusing on them, one at a time, while drinking to excess. When he gets out of bed at the end of the week, he feels like he’s gotten away.

While I’d never recommend such a voyage, here’s one way of getting away without leaving town. The man behind a great NYC blog, Scouting NY, is currently on a cross-country roadtrip, and his posts from the road may help you escape a little.

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Delta Begins Flight-Booking via Facebook

Mashable.comDelta Air Lines has launched The Delta Ticket Window, a Facebook (Facebook) application that lets members find, book and share flights via the “Book a Trip” tab on the airline’s Facebook Page.

Delta aims to reach travelers with Facebook-happy trigger fingers when it comes to travel booking. The application was built to keep the user on Delta’s Facebook Page for the duration of the booking process, as well as give them the opportunity to share their booked flight with friends.

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Orbitz Launches Refined Hotel Search

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Orbitz just announced the release of its revamped search engine, making the process of finding and comparing hotels that much simpler. What new features can you expect to see on the site?

Now when you search for hotels, you'll be able to compare property details on the results page; view an expandable interactive map (which not only plots the hotel, but shows its actual current rate); filter results by star/user ratings, price, and amenities offered; and my favorite: view the hotel via Google Street View (where available), so you know exactly what you're looking for when you show up. (Not to mention, take a look at the surrounding neighborhood.)

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USTA Launches Gulf Oil Spill Information Website

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Travel Pulse
GulfTravelUpdate.com, a portal site that centralizes links to up-to-date travel and recovery information on Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi—the states directly affected by the BP Oil Spill. GulfTravelUpdate.com includes links to traveler information from federal, state and local sources, plus oil spill news coverage and a map featuring the spill's impact on gulf shores from media partner USA Today. Deals and special offers for travel to the Gulf Coast region are also available.

“This site compiles a tremendous amount of information from states, destinations and agencies on the status of beaches and coastal communities along affected areas of the Gulf Coast," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. (...) Photo courtesy of GulfTravelUpdate.com.

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Treats & Tweets from the Bahamas

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If your (lack of) winter break wasn’t exactly beachy, have no fear.  A piece of the tropics may be pulling up to a New York City corner near you—and it’s free! 

This week only, the Islands of the Bahamas is steering their Treats & Tweets from the Bahamas food truck around the grid, offering traditional Bahamian Mac & Cheese and Junkanoo Chicken Drumsticks alongside virgin Bahama Mammas drinks (okay, so it’s almost like being on vacation—but hey, you have to work). 

Need help capturing this little ray of sun?  The truck’s location is viewable on Twitter (@VisitTheBahamas) or Facebook (facebook.com/bahamas).  On Friday, June 11th, truck patrons can enter to win a trip to the real McCoy, Club Peace & Plenty in the Bahamas.  (Hint: Friday the truck will be located near Bryant Park, but you didn’t hear it from us). 

Now that’s island hospitality. 

Nina Fedrizzi is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of the Islands of the Bahamas

Vacationist: Nevis and Stowe, VT

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Looking to save a few dollars on your next vacation? (Really though, who isn't?) As we announced in this blog last week, Travel + Leisure has teamed up with Luxury Link to create the exclusive, by-invite-only vacationist. The site offers members tremendous value on top hotels from around the world.

Today, two new sales started:

Montpelier Plantation in St. John's Parish, Nevis: From $160/night (50% off)
Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont: From $149/night (35% off)

These two sales—which are available for about seven more days—are accompanied by Las Brisas Ixtapa in Mexico. Available for about four more days, rates for this hotel start at a whopping $88/night (23% off).

As these sales end, more will be coming in, so if you haven't already, be sure to request an invitation to become a vacationist, and keep checking back for the trip that best suits you!

Joshua Pramis is an online associate editor at Travel + Leisure.

Image courtesy of vacationist.

Are You a Vacationist?



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Unless you live in a box (or worse, don’t have an Internet connection), you already know that private sale websites are the hottest thing du jour.

In case you hadn’t heard, Travel + Leisure has joined the party and teamed up with Luxury Link to form vacationist, a new by-invitation site offering great values on stays at some of the world’s most stylish and luxurious hotels.

Since its official launch last month, flash sales have included such fabulous properties as The Mark in New York City and Mauna Kua Beach Hotel in Hawaii.

vacationist-logo_medgifHere’s just a sampling of what’s available right now:

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Google Moves Into Online Travel Business

USA TodayGoogle, the world's most popular search engine, is expanding its reach in the lucrative online travel business. In March, Google added hotel links to its Maps application, listing hotels with room rates available to some users.

Google also is reportedly in talks to pay $1 billion to acquire ITA Software, which develops fare-shopping software for online travel agencies, airlines and fare-search-only sites, such as Bing Travel and Kayak.

Incorporating fares into Google search results would keep customers more engaged in its applications while they plan for travel, a prospect that could unnerve other fare sites. Users would be able to type in their destination and travel dates, and see flights and prices.

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We Are the World: Unexpected Maps

Looking at old maps and cartograms seems particularly relevant in a time when we’re all thinking about how information is relayed and consumed. The map of the world now centers squarely on the user. Online mapping, via sites like Google Maps, MapQuest, and Yahoo Maps, GPS chips in our phones and cars, and all the smartphone mapping apps, have allowed us to create custom maps and overlay our personal histories on geographical charts.  What’s next in our journey to measure and display the world around us?  It surely won’t be a folded piece of paper, but what is it?

Here are three maps that don’t conform to the badly-folded-paper-jammed–in-the-glove-compartment variety and which have caught my attention recently:

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- This illustration depicts a 19th-century Inuit carvings of the coast of Greenland.  The carving served as a tactile map—you could canoe along the coastline and follow the undulations of the land with your finger.  When you come to the end of the map, you flip it over and the portable coastline continues down the other side.  It floats, it’s waterproof, and it doesn’t require literacy or even good light.  Brilliant.

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New Family Travel Auction Site Launches

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FamilyGetaway.com, a new website for value-seeking families, just launched and is offering travel packages at up to 65 percent off retail prices at places like the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa in Koloa, Hawaii, Highmark Steamboat Springs in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa.

Owned by the same company as LuxuryLink.com, FamilyGetaway.com operates in a similar manner as the popular luxury travel website by offering two purchase options:

-Auction: Those with flexible travel dates can submit bids on the package of their choice, assuring the website’s best values.

-Buy Now: For those with less flexibility, there is the Buy Now option that still offers steep discounts (often up to 50 percent off!).

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