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Grand Bahama - Grand Lucayan - Resort Exterior - 620x400

In the latest installment of fabulous Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals coming up in the next week, we take a look at under-$100 Caribbean getaways, a 75 percent discount in Panama City, and even a stellar sale for flights to Fiji. Get those credit cards ready…

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Qatar Airways Business Class

Flying business class on the world’s top-rated long-haul airlines (think Cathay Pacific, Singapore, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad…) isn’t exactly an inexpensive proposition. Round-trip flights on any of these airlines to their respective home airports in Asia can run you more than $8,000. An economy-class ticket on these same flights can run you between $1000, with a good sale, to $1500 — significantly less. So why the markup?

The answer isn’t so cut-and-dry. You can’t just add up the cost of the extra amenities offered in business class and come up with a concrete value comparison. For example, what’s the exact dollar value difference of flying in a basic economy class seat versus a business class, lie-flat bed? Is it $300? Perhaps $400? Exactly how much is your comfort worth?

I recently had the somewhat outrageous opportunity to fly halfway around the world — and almost immediately back — in order to assess the value of comfort in flight. Qatar Airways, one of Star Trax’s 5-star-rated airlines, hosted me on a trip that lasted just 33 hours: 13 in the air in each direction between New York and Doha, Qatar, plus seven in the Doha airport.

If this sounds ridiculous… well, it was. But the airline’s point was clear: Even the most seemingly uncomfortable travel circumstances can be made entirely, lavishly comfortable with a (simple?) upgrade. As for what it’s all worth? Here’s an attempt at a breakdown.

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Flickr Trish Hartmann 2

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? Travel journalist Donna Tunney — ShermansTravel’s cruise expert — has all the latest news. Check back every Tuesday for trends, new amenities, and money-saving ideas that help you plan a perfect vacation at sea. 

Want to win 100 days of free cruises? We sure do. And that’s exactly the grand prize in a new campaign from Carnival Corp., the parent company of 10 well-known cruise lines. Here’s all you need to do: Visit worldsleadingcruiselines.com and choose the advertising concept that you think does the best job of  debunking cruising myths and bringing the cruise experience to life. The winner will be selected at random, and the free cruises can be taken on any of the company’s lines — including Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, and Holland America Line. The campaign kicked off just yesterday (along with a Twitter contest encouraging past cruisers to share what they love about vacations at sea).

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By Leah Ginsberg for Yahoo! Travel

It’s that time of year — traffic, flight delays, staying with the family — yes, it’s the holidays. For a time that’s supposed to be happy and merry, getting to where you’re trying to go sure does cause a lot of stress. We feel your pain. So Yahoo Travel asked Pauline Wallin, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of Taming Your Inner Brat: A Guide to Transforming Self-Defeating Behavior for tips and tricks to help you hold it together during the most frustrating holiday travel situations.

Stressful Situation 1: You’re stuck in traffic — forever.

How to Survive Stressful Holiday Travel (Without Killing Anyone)

You’re getting stressed out just looking at this traffic, aren’t you! (Thinkstock)

First, realize that it’s not actually going to be forever, says Dr. Wallin, so stop that negative thinking and self-talk because it will just make you more upset. In reality, it will only be a couple of hours, tops. Then adjust your expectations — “It’s the holidays, so this is just part of the deal,” says Dr. Wallin. “Think of it this way: It’s a good time to listen to music, play a game, look at your phone, or have a conversation with your fellow passengers.”

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Isla Saona

Tourists flock to Punta Cana for snow white beaches, aquamarine waters, and never-ending rum drinks, but outside the resorts, you can immerse yourself in Dominican culture or experience the country’s tropical wonders. Here are five day trips from Punta Cana that you won’t want to miss — and that will get you back in time for some Latin dancing back at the resort.

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Flickr Steven Byles AirAsia 2

If Southeast Asia is on your travel bucket list, early next year might just be the time to do it. Malaysia-based AirAsia is releasing a pass on January 15, 2015 that will let travelers take unlimited flights to 10 select destinations in Southeast Asia for one month. Here’s the kicker: It’s only $148, excluding airport taxes. (Our minds were blown, too.)

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Palms Casino Resort

Are you attracted to cities like a siren? Whether you love popping in and out of museums in the nation’s capitol or romping along neon-studded Las Vegas Boulevard, cities across the U.S. are offering plenty of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals this year. You’ll find discounts as steep as 90 percent off, and rooms as low as $39 per night. 

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FortWorthStockyardsCattleDrive

With its irresistible cowboy culture, Fort Worth certainly lives up to its “Cowtown” moniker. But there’s a more sophisticated side to the city, too. This is most notably evident in the urban revitalization in the downtown area, which includes the recent addition of the Sundance Square entertainment district, and the opening up of chef-driven restaurants and chic wine bars and cafés all over town.

If you’ve only got a couple of days to explore Fort Worth, that’s just enough to get a sense of the city’s twin personalities, and without spending too much money either. Here’s how to get the best of both worlds.

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Christine Dayao Daytona Beach MOAS

New York. Paris. London. Those are some of the big cities that travelers hoping for some cultural enrichment flock to. But what if you’ve had your fill of The Metropolitan Museum of Art or have grown tired of The Louvre? Here, four cities that might surprise you with its delightfully unexpected art and culture scene.

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HotelQuickly App

As with most things in travel, the art of booking a hotel has been transforming thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones. Just as apps such as Uber, Lyft, and Hailo have revolutionized the process of hailing a ride, and a variety of airline apps have eliminated the need to keep track of a paper boarding pass, a litany of new hotel booking apps has made it easier than ever to make last-minute reservations or find a good deal. Here are the latest to come on the scene:

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cakes - mickey - © Disney

One of the biggest assets that set Disney World apart from its competitors is the level of service the company delivers to guests. It’s no secret that the iconic resorts offers exclusive hours and transportation, but here are 10 lesser known services offered by the House of Mouse.

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jetblue-plane-bill abbott

Must all good things come to an end? We used to think that JetBlue could do no wrong, but two recent announcements will be robbing passengers of our favorite perks of flying with the airline: free checked bags and spacious legroom.

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The Resort at Longboat Key Club

In what has become an annual highly anticipated sale, dozens of hotels and resorts have gotten into the Black Friday and Cyber Monday game, offering deals that must be booked either the day after Thanksgiving (November 28 this year) or the following Monday (December 1) for varying days of travel.

We’ve got the scoop on so many great travel deals for this year’s sales that we’re trying something different. Instead of one big, overwhelming list, we’re sharing themed roundups for easier vacation planning. First up is the Beach edition — whether you yearn for bustling Waikiki Beach in Hawaii or Florida’s quiet Gulf Coast side, you’ll find up to 50 percent discounts next week.

Mark your calendars, then check back in the coming days for our Urban, International, and Adventure editions.

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JANM-HelloKitty-GaryBaseman

“Are you here for Hello Kitty?”

I wondered if the man at the security desk asked that question of all the thirty-something women who arrive at the Japanese American National Museum. But let’s face it, I absolutely was. “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty” is the pop art, pop culture-driven retrospective happening at the downtown Los Angeles museum from now until April 26, 2015. You’re advised to purchase timed tickets in advance ($20 adults, $10 kids age 6-17, 5 and under free) for access to the show.

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etihad airways - 620

Space travel. Bitcoin payments. Suites on airplanes. Some trends just keeping popping up on our news feeds time and time again. Some of these are fantastic and others… not so much. But for better or worse, here are nine that we think are here to stay.

1. Wearable tech.
Now that Apple’s in the game, wearable tech seems more and more like a part of the future — and not just as an ugly fashion trend. While we all love to hate Google Glass, travel brands are already responding to the Apple Watch unveiled in September. For example, Starwood’s new SPG app, which will let guests unlock rooms with their iPhone, is already designed to be Apple Watch-compatible. Of course, at nearly $349 dollars, Apple Watch isn’t a casual purchase, and we bet there will be some software and hardware challenges to overcome. Plus, it needs to be paired with an iPhone, though brands like Samsung are attempting to market what’s essentially a mini-smartphone to wear on your wrist.

2. Space voyages.
Despite the unfortunate Virgin Galactic crash at the end of last month, space travel is going to happen. The brand’s CEO shared that the company is continuing full steam and will “have a new spaceship that’s going to be ready in a few months” (as investigations into the crash continue). Having recently received massive funds from NASA, Boeing is also working on developing passenger aircraft for space. And it’s not just planes we’re talking about here. A Beijing-based company called Space Vision is developing a “high-tech balloon” powered by helium to bring tourists into space, and a Japanese construction company, Obayashi Corporation, is aiming to operate an elevator into space by 2050.

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