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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

new england mill fall autumnEvery 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: Fall has arrived, and so has this year’s crop of shoulder-season travel deals. Especially ripe for the picking is AirTran’s latest three-day sale, which launched this morning with fares as low as $43 each way. The airline is offering reduced-rate flights to destinations all over the U.S. as well as to Aruba, Bermuda, Mexico, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.

Travel is good between October 7 and December 14 — ideal dates for catching some fall foliage or booking a tropical getaway before the busy winter season. The cheapest domestic flights we saw were between Boston and Baltimore ($43 in either direction), while you can escape the continental U.S. to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from as little as $69 each way (from Tampa).

Eight Unique Ways to Experience Fall

The Catch: The lowest sale fares are only available for domestic travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays; on any other day of the week you’ll have to pay peak prices. Fortunately, travel dates for international itineraries are a little less restrictive: You can fly Monday through Friday. And of course, sale fares are unavailable on the most convenient Thanksgiving travel dates (November 22 – 23 and 26 – 28).

The Competition: Southwest Airlines is offering a similar three-day sale with matching fares on competing routes. Southwest doesn’t fly to any international destinations, but it’s worth checking out this deal if you’re flying within the States, as the airline covers some cities and itineraries that AirTran doesn’t.

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

– written by Sarah Schlichter

paris winterEvery 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: Fall’s first day is Friday, but travelers mourning the end of summer can take comfort in knowing that super-cheap winter flights are a-comin’. Scratch that — they’re here already. Aer Lingus, the Irish discount airline, has just rolled out an expansive low-season Europe sale featuring tickets as cheap as $227 each way plus taxes and fees. Travel is valid this winter, from November through March.

Book early for your winter trip and you’ll snag low fares — but you’ll also have plenty of flight options from which to choose. We did some digging and found low-priced tickets available on a wide range of Aer Lingus transatlantic flights. For example, a quick search for discounted flights departing on November 23 turned up 16 departures throughout the day, each for $233 each way or less. The cheapest total price we unearthed, for a flight from New York to London in November, totaled $691.76 including all taxes and fees.

The Catch: Be choosy about your European destination when planning a winter trip. Some places in Europe — the ones with skiing, Christmas markets or dog sledding — make for spectacular cold-weather travel. Other European cities and towns basically shut down when the tourist season ends.

The Competition: Fall and early winter flights to Europe are currently on sale from Icelandair, with fares starting at $489 roundtrip plus taxes and fees. However, the very cheapest fares are only available on a few dates in October.

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

– written by Caroline Costello