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Airfare SaleThe airlines are clearly hitching a ride on the Cyber Monday bandwagon. Today, several major carriers rolled out masses of discounted tickets in honor of this well-marketed pseudo-holiday. Some of today’s fare offers end at midnight tonight, in true Cyber Monday flash sale fashion. Others will last through the beginning of December, giving travelers some time to take a few breaths and consider their options before punching in their credit card information. Here’s a selection of the best fare sales we’ve spotted so far today.

American Airlines Fares from $54 OW
Out of all the fare sales we’ve seen this morning, this American Airlines offer wins the prize for breadth of destinations. You can find discounted tickets to a great selection of gateways across the globe, from Shanghai to Mazatlan. Fares start at $54 each way plus taxes and fees for travel in January and the beginning of February. This deal expires tonight at 11:59 p.m. Central Time.

Save 10% on Frontier Airlines Fares
This Cyber Monday airfare offer is refreshingly simple. Enter promo code CYBER10 and receive 10 percent off any published fare (departing through March 7) booked on the Frontier Airlines Web site. The catch? You must purchase your tickets by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time tonight in order to snag this deal.

Southwest Airlines Fares from $59 OW
Here’s a fairly typical Southwest Airlines systemwide sale, which the airline normally rolls out on Tuesdays. Fares to U.S. gateways start at $59 each way plus taxes and fees, for travel from December through mid-February. There’s more good news: No need to start desperately crafting an itinerary today. This sale’s on through December 1.

AirTran Airways Fares from $59 OW
This AirTran offer mimics the Southwest sale in so many ways: same travel dates, same blackout dates, same expiration dates. (It figures. Southwest acquired AirTran in spring 2011, and the two carriers will soon merge into a single operator.) But there’s one big difference between the two sales. Unlike Southwest, AirTran is offering discounted tickets to international destinations as well as domestic locales, including gateways in Mexico and the Caribbean.

Alaska Airlines Fares from $40 OW
Alaska Airlines advises its customers, “Hurry, sale ends December 5, 2011″ — but really, you don’t need to rush. In comparison to many of the Cyber Monday travel deals floating around on the Internet today, this offer features a pretty reasonable expiration date a week from today. Book by that December 5 deadline and you can snap up fares to destinations in the U.S., Mexico and Canada for as little as $40 each way plus taxes and fees. Travel is valid from December through March.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Airfare Deals.

— written by Caroline Costello

 BedandBreakfast.com Gift CardEvery Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: We know the holiday season is in full swing when BedandBreakfast.com rolls out its annual Black Friday gift card sale. (We also know the holidays are here when the giant penguin wearing a Santa hat appears near our office door.) Through the end of the month, BedandBreakfast.com is offering a free $75 gift card with any gift card purchase of $250 or more.

Purchase five $50 gift cards to hand out to your friends and keep the $75 bonus for yourself. Or, of course, you can gift that extra card as well — but where’s the fun in that?

The Catch: BedandBreakfast.com lists more than 11,000 properties, but these gift cards aren’t valid at all of them. The cards can only be used to book stays at B&B’s and hotels that accept online reservations through the booking site — about 4,000 properties around the world. Look for the blue “book now” button next to a property listing; if that button’s there, you can pay for your stay with a gift card.

The Competition: Costco.com is currently selling $100 BedandBreakfast.com gift cards for just $74.99 each. Which is the better deal? Ultimately, you’re saving 25 percent if you go with Costco.com and 23 percent if you pay $250 for $325 worth of gift cards with BedandBreakfast.com.

But when it comes to gift giving, we think the BedandBreakfast.com Black Friday sale comes out on top. With this sale, you can get gift cards in varying amounts ($25, $50, $100, $125, etc.) instead of just $100 increments. Plus, BedandBreakfast.com lets you pick from eight different gift card styles, and it even offers a customizable photo gift card that you can personalize with your own uploaded picture.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Holiday Travel Deals.

— written by Caroline Costello

farm turkeysIn merely a week’s time, families across the U.S. will gather together to dine on turkeys, Tofurkeys, pies and potatoes. It all sounds fantastic — unless you’re the one washing the dishes and stuffing bread cubes into the back end of a bird. Although November 24 is fast approaching, you still have a chance to flee your kitchen and embark on a refreshing holiday weekend getaway, sans scary electric carving knife. Here are five fantastic Thanksgiving hotel deals to lure you away from that stove.

1. Pie and Booze in San Francisco
San Francisco’s Hotel Palomar is topping off your Thanksgiving stay with a freshly baked pie and a bottle of — what else — Wild Turkey bourbon. The downtown boutique hotel, which offers free Wi-Fi and is pet-friendly, is pairing these celebratory perks with deluxe accommodations in its “Pie + Family + Booze = Splendid Holiday” package, available through the end of December. Prices start at $299 per night.

2. Save Up to 58% on Thanksgiving Hotel Stays
Hotels.com is offering up to 58 percent off hotel stays in dozens of destinations around the world — including the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Canada and locales across the U.S. We recently featured this offer as the Travel Deal of the Week on our blog, and for good reason. This wide-ranging hotel sale covers so many properties, it’s worth a look no matter where you’re heading for the holidays.

3. Newark Airport Thanksgiving Package
If your eve-of-Thanksgiving flight is departing at an hour during which you’d normally be fast asleep, consider staying near the airport. New York-area travelers can avoid those high holiday hotel prices by booking the Thanksgiving Weekend deal at the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott. Special Thanksgiving rates start at $199 a night.

4. Celebrate Thanksgiving Like a President
This Thanksgiving package in Washington D.C. includes a host of holiday perks, from a four-course Turkey Day dinner for up to eight people to a professionally photographed family portrait taken in your suite. You’ll bunk at the Madison, a luxurious boutique hotel located near National Mall monuments and, of course, down the street from the First Family. Prices start at $799 per night.

5. Give Thanks on the Slopes
Spend a long weekend zooming down the slopes, dining on decadent four-course dinners and toasting the holiday from the comfort of a traditional mountain lodge in Utah. Alta Lodge, set at the base of the Alta Ski Area, is offering a four-night Thanksgiving package that covers meals, lodging and taxes for $900 per person. A special Thanksgiving dinner is also included in the rates.

— written by Caroline Costello

Prague Christmas MarketEvery Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: ‘Tis the season to book an incredibly low-priced flight to Europe. Right now, Lufthansa is selling tickets across the pond for as little as $470 roundtrip; that’s including all taxes and fees, mind you. So the price that’s going to show up on your credit card statement is $470, end of story. A roundtrip flight to Europe for less than $500 is a rare thing indeed.

It’s currently the off-season for travel to Europe, which is why we’re seeing prices this low. But don’t let cold weather stop you. Christmas markets, winter festivals, the northern lights and Alpine skiing are just a few reasons to keep Europe in mind as a winter travel destination.

The Catch: As is usually the case with winter fare sales, there are some blackout dates around the holidays. That $470 ticket we spotted was for a flight from New York to Dublin departing on December 4 and returning on December 12. The same route can cost as much as $1,066 if you travel during the blackout period, which is from December 15 through January 8.

The Competition: Aer Lingus is running a winter Europe fare sale that features flights starting at $249 each way; however, taxes and fees aren’t included in this price. With roughly $200 in taxes added to the cost of your ticket, you can expect to pay more than $700 for your fare.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Airfare Deals.

— written by Caroline Costello

PumpkinsEvery Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: This Thanksgiving, Hotels.com is tempting travelers to ditch the kitchen and take a vacation. The booking site is offering up to 58 percent off Thanksgiving accommodations, as well as free nights and complimentary dinners at select properties. Travelers must hit the road November 22 – 29 to take advantage of this deal.

There are some pretty remarkable discounts on offer here, such as 49 percent off all-inclusive rates at Smuggler’s Cove Resort and Spa in St. Lucia. Nightly prices, which normally start at $525 and cover everything from meals to water skiing, are on sale for as little as $269. Other big markdowns include 57 percent off rates in the Dominican Republic, half off Lake Tahoe hotels and free fourth-night stays in Jamaica. Bottom line: If you’re thinking about taking a last-minute getaway around Thanksgiving, this deal is worth a look.

The Catch: At some properties, you’ll have to meet minimum-night-stay requirements to save. For example, you can receive 58 percent off your accommodations at Wyndham Nassau Resort, but you’ll have to hang around for three nights or longer; unless you’re planning a whirlwind weekend getaway, this shouldn’t be a huge deterrent.

The Competition: So far, this deal is the most comprehensive Thanksgiving hotel sale we’ve spotted. But you can find more Turkey Day discounts in our Holiday Travel Deals.

— written by Caroline Costello

 PalermoEvery Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: American Discount Cruises & Travel is offering a seven-night Mediterranean cruise on Costa Concordia starting at $330 per person for an inside cabin. This sailing departs from Savona, Italy, and visits ports including Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Cagliari, Palermo and Civitavecchia (Rome). The sail date is January 14, which is smack in the middle of the Med’s low season; this means crowds will be scarce, the weather will be chilly, and some attractions might even be shuttered for the winter.

Still interested? Good. If you can get past the aforementioned caveats, you’ll save hundreds on a cruise that could cost upward of $1,000 for an inside cabin in the popular summer season. And unlike a lot of Europe cruises that end up in the sale bin, this one is round-trip. The cruise starts and ends in Savona, which means you won’t have to spend a boatload of money on a multi-leg plane ticket.

The Catch: As we said, travelers to Europe should expect brisk conditions in January. According to the Weather Channel, January is the coldest month of the year in Barcelona, with average temperatures as low as 40 degrees. Pack a coat.

The Competition: You’ll find more cut-rate Europe sailings in our Cruise Deals, including a transatlantic cruise for just $1,899 with roundtrip airfare and a hotel stay.

— written by Caroline Costello

breakfastEvery Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: This Veterans Day, hundreds of B&B’s across the U.S. and Canada are honoring servicemen and servicewomen with free accommodations. Properties that have signed up for the B&B’s for Vets program are offering complimentary one-night stays for active military and veterans as well as their companions for the night of Thursday, November 10. The icing on the pancake? Veterans can start their mornings with a plate of home-cooked eggs or French toast at properties that offer breakfast on the house.

The Catch: More than 500 American B&B’s have signed up for the program in addition to more than 215 Canadian B&B’s. But rooms are filling up fast, so it’s best to book your stay as soon as possible. According to a press release from the B&B’s for Vets program, “While some [inns] have already filled, new inns and B&B’s are being added daily.”

The Competition: There are other Veterans Day deals to be found next month. Many chain restaurants, including Applebee’s and Chili’s, will offer free meals and other discounts to active military and veterans on November 11. Here’s one of our favorite Veterans Day perks: Everyone — even those who didn’t serve in the military — can get free admission at more than 100 U.S. national parks the weekend of Veterans Day, from November 11 through 13.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Travel Deals.

— written by Caroline Costello

winter new hampshireEvery Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: Southwest Airlines just kicked off a 72-hour sale featuring fall and winter flights for as little as $35 each way. Travel dates range from November 30 through December 14 and from January 4 through February 15. You can fly on any day of the week except Sunday. (We’re thrilled to see a sale that doesn’t tether travelers exclusively to midweek departures.) Fares are tallied based on length of flight as follows:

-Flights up to 450 miles cost $35 each way
-Flights from 451 – 1,000 miles cost $65 each way
-Flights from 1,001 – 1,500 miles cost $95 each way
-Flights more than 1,501 miles cost $125 each way

The Catch: While travel dates extend from November through February, flights around the holidays are excluded. Also, there’s that 72-hour problem. This sale doesn’t leave much wiggle room for anyone still sketching out a winter travel itinerary.

The Competition: AirTran Airways is running a fall and winter fare sale that’s virtually identical to this Southwest offer. But let’s be honest. AirTran isn’t exactly Southwest’s competition, per se. Southwest acquired AirTran in May 2011, and the two carriers will eventually merge into a single operator.

So how do the sales compare? Fares are similar and travel dates are the same. You’ll want to check prices for your particular itinerary with both airlines to see which one offers the best bargain for you. But keep a wary eye on those extra fees.

Southwest defeated AirTran in our deal of the week dust-up for one big reason: surcharges. First off, Southwest’s baggage policy beats AirTran’s by a mile. Southwest allows each passenger to check up to two bags for free, whereas AirTran charges $20 for your first checked bag and $25 for your second. AirTran collects an extra $15 for reservations made over the phone; Southwest doesn’t. And Southwest allows passengers to change their plans and use what they’ve already paid for future travel with the airline. AirTran, on the other hand, pockets a $75 change fee for any itinerary alterations.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Airfare Deals.

— written by Caroline Costello

freeport bahamasEvery Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: Vision Airlines is currently offering base fares to the Bahamas for the price of a song on iTunes. Flights from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Bahama Island are on sale for just $1 each way before taxes. Additionally, fares from other U.S. cities to the tropical destination are selling for as little as $29 each way before taxes. Travel is valid between November 3 and December 19.

Vision is a new airline that just started offering commercial flights to select U.S. cities and to the Bahamas this year. The carrier begins nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale, Louisville, Richmond, Raleigh and Baltimore to Grand Bahama Island in November.

The Catch: Taxes aren’t included in that $1 fare, so your final ticket won’t amount to a buck — nevertheless, we still think this is a great offer. We went through the booking process, and the lowest total fare we found was $122.58 roundtrip, with all taxes and fees (a $4.99-each-way booking fee is also included) for a November flight from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport.

Keep an eye on baggage fees, too. A $15 charge applies per checked bag on each leg of your flight. And if you don’t pay for your bag ahead of time, you’ll shell out $25 per piece of checked luggage at the airport.

The Competition: Right now, travelers can find discounted fall fares from select U.S. cities to the Bahamas from AirTran Airways. AirTran doesn’t fly to Freeport, but you can get to Nassau for as little as $129 each way plus taxes and fees.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Airfare Deals.

— written by Caroline Costello

cozumel cabana seaEvery Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: Not ready to stow those summer flip-flops for another year? Grab your sandals and book a fall or winter trip to someplace sunny and warm — and save up to $550 in the process. Funjet Vacations is currently offering a special 72-hour sale on air/hotel or hotel-only trips to Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii.

The more you spend on your vacation, the more you save. For example, if your total trip cost is between $1,500 and $2,000, you’ll get a discount of $115. Raise the total to between $2,001 and $3,000, and you’ll save $200. You get the picture. For the maximum discount of $550, you’ll have to spend at least $6,001.

The Catch: This isn’t the type of sale you can mull over for a week or two before booking. Come this Thursday at 6 p.m. CT, it’ll be gone — so make your decision and act quickly.

The Competition: Hyatt is offering up to $500 in resort credit at participating properties in Aruba, Cancun, Maui, Key West and other sunny destinations. Unlike the Funjet discount, which reduces the total cost of your trip, this credit is like free extra cash that you can spend on spa treatments, meals and activities at your resort.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Vacation Package Deals.

— written by Sarah Schlichter