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Austin

C Brian Munoz leavenworth.org Leavenworth Washington

Take time this holiday season to stop and smell the chestnuts roasting on an open fire – literally. In cities around the country, December becomes a feast for the senses with electric light shows, warm music, and even warmer drinks. From millions of twinkling lights and festive treats to a cookie treasure hunt, here are five of our favorite holiday strolls that deliver a delightful winter escape.

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We love Austin for its loud bars, its excellent and cheap food, and its amiable locals. And more, we love that the city has a specific look, that its neon signs, low craftsman-style houses, and distinctly throwback-y flavor could exist almost nowhere else. Here are six of our favorite places in Austin — all of which show different sides of this utterly original city.

1. Antebellum-Style Opulence
austin_ella2You probably think of Charleston or Savannah as the places for sprawling historic homes, but Austin has one that easily competes — and you can stay in it. Hotel Ella, which opened in 2013 in a Greek revival mansion, doesn’t feel stuffy or pretentious, either. The hotel’s interiors reflect a modern take on a traditional aesthetic. Think artfully distressed mirrors, tufted velvet in bright colors, and modern sculpture by the pool. In fact, our favorite spot on the property is the ultimate mix of old and new: a classic set of wrought-iron chairs, perfect for an outdoor cocktail, that sits under a tree hung with an enormous glass chandelier. Locals and out-of-towners alike flock here in high season for weddings, so book early if you’re staying April through September. Rooms average about $279 per night.

Saver tip: Stay before the end of the year. We found some midweek rooms in October, November, and December going for as low as $219 — a great price for a luxury property.

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FPO_BUE_403It’s not uncommon for upscale hotels and resorts to offer guests extraordinary excursions and activities, but Four Seasons takes it to a whole new level. From dining center stage at a historic opera house to designing a custom pair of Lucchese boots, here are a few exclusive Four Seasons that we love dreaming about.

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humphrey slocome

We may have missed National Ice Cream Day (it was on July 20), but National Ice Cream Month continues. Why not celebrate with a couple of scoops of something more adventurous than vanilla? Read more

vinyls - steve snodgrass - 620A big part of the travel experience is bringing a piece of it home, so you can remember where you’ve been long after you’ve returned. We recommend skipping the chintzy souvenir shops and loading up on genuine local goods instead. Here, four ways to find items that really represent the destination, wherever you are.

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coral gables - venetian pool - florida - wikimedia commons - ebyabe - 620

Looking to cool off this summer? We already introduced Europe’s most beautiful public pools last year, but we thought we’d take a look at the aquatic offerings a bit closer to home. Whether you’re looking for a basic soak, a serious workout, or theme park-style entertainment, here are five fantastic (and inexpensive) public pools where you can make a splash.

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OmniBostonLooking for a last-minute getaway? Omni Hotels & Resorts invites you to “Spring into Action” with its 72-hour flash sale. From April 1-4, rooms at the brand’s Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Boston properties will be available for less than $200 per night. Read more

transitappIt’s no secret that Google Maps is a lifesaver if you’re traveling without a car. Generally, this, and similar sites like Hopstop, are incredibly reliable for planning your travel route on public transportation. But what if you want more precise information – like when to leave for the station in order to make the next train, for example, or detailed schedules that tell you how often buses and trains arrive?

This is where locally-based transit apps come in. A whopping 246 public transit systems across the nation make schedule and GPS-generated location  data accessible to developers so they can incorporate them into new programs. Here are some of the best free transit apps for iOs and Android that are worth downloading before your next trip… Read more

Crested ButteIt’s the first day of the rest of the year, and for us, that means only one thing: time to start making new travel plans! We’ve got about a million and one ideas cooking, but to narrow the playing field a bit, we’re taking a closer look at where we can go on the cheap. Here, a sampling of the best deals to be had to kick off 2014 – better hurry, though, some of these expire in just a few days! Read more

The Property BrothersYou may know them as the handsome twins from HGTV’s Property Brothers, Buying & Selling and Brother vs. Brother. In addition to being real estate pros, these guys also happen to be world travelers, luggage experts, and dog lovers. See how brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott deal with life on the road.

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Edinburgh

As we begin to see the world of in-flight entertainment change, so too are we seeing an evolution in the way airlines are planning their new flight routes. A recent spate of new airline route announcements indicates a trend that many Americans (especially those who don’t live in New York or LA) will be very happy about: airlines are now focusing on establishing daily or weekly service out of secondary cities like Boston, Chicago, and Orlando. Likely due to overall growth among airlines like Emirates, United, and British Airways, passengers are now benefiting from nonstop routes based out of their home cities. Read more

JetBlue Fall Flight DealsWe know it’s hard to think about autumn travel as the summer winds down. But booking now will definitely pay off when you see the fare sale that JetBlue is advertising for their Leave-With-the-Changing-Leaves Sale. Travel is valid on one-way flights September 3 – December 18, and you must book by August 21 at midnight (blackout dates apply). Check out a selection of our favorite fares below. Read more

NYC Blog TravelArriving to a new city can be disorienting. With most of our energy exerted on deciphering the public transportation system and finding a decent place to eat, we end up forfeiting the other, more rewarding aspects of urban travel: exploring lesser-known neighborhoods, learning local history, and zeroing in on key cultural happenings.

Local blogs can be of immense help when it comes to quickly finding out what’s happening in a new city – and what’s worth your time. Unlike travel guides, which limit themselves to hotel and restaurant reviews, maps, and at-a-glance neighborhood descriptions, blogs offer curated, useful information on a particular aspect of the city, updated on a regular basis by locals in the know.

Here are a few top-notch online sources that will turn you into an expert the next-time you find yourself in… Read more

Jet Blue Summer Sale Saving 90%Things are heating up across the U.S. – and more specifically in New York City. And JetBlue is taking notice: Not only did they just release another amazing one-way flight sale, they also announced they’ll be offering promo codes from today until Saturday, July 20 that will save you 90 percent on round-trip fares from NYC (EWR, LGA, and JFK airports)! Believe it folks, things are going to get hot this week – check out some of the amazing deals going on right now! Read more

La Quinta Resort & ClubThe dog days of summer are upon us, meaning now is the perfect time to plan a quick getaway. From Las Vegas to Orlando, take advantage of low rates on hotel deals for $99 and under, and enjoy summertime travel without digging too deep into your wallet. Read more

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