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San Diego

Last-MinuteThe twelve days of Christmas have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean there’s no more excitement to be had in December. In fact, for travelers, end-of-year sales and promotions can yield some of the best finds of the whole season. The tricky part? Finding them. But luckily for you, we’ve gone and done all the hard work to bring you the best last-minute travel deals available this week. Consider it our Christmas present to you… Read more

Day of the Dead Celebrations 2013
Every year, the hype surrounding Halloween seems to get bigger and bigger, but in many Mexican cultures, one of the season’s liveliest celebrations falls on November 1 and 2. Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, blends indigenous and Catholic influences, with the most traditional celebrations taking place in cemeteries in central Mexico. There, families gather at gravestones to honor deceased loved ones, but the tradition has become more popular in the U.S. as well, especially in places with thriving Latin American populations.

At the heart of the celebrations are ofrendas – altars or offerings of food, drink, and alcohol – which are believed to guide the spirits of the deceased back to Earth to spend time with their family and loved ones. Día de Los Muertos celebrations also include processions, musical performances, and tons of great, skeleton- and skull-inspired art – and, a refreshing break from the over-the-top commercialism of Halloween. What’s more, they’re almost always free, too. Here, five great places to get into the spirit of the Day of the Dead.

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Large International Airport ExpansionsThe airline industry as a whole takes its fair share of flack. It seems that every other month, some new fee is being added, services are being cut, price increases are being slid into fares, and flexibility is nothing more than a cute notion. But for all the negatives, billions are being spent on airport expansions to make flying a little bit more pleasant. Here’s a look at three of the year’s biggest airport upgrades, though if immediate results are your thing, don’t get too excited. Some of the work isn’t scheduled to be completed until 2030. Read more

JetBlue Deals: Flights from 49 Dollars, One-Way

Editor’s Update: While this particular sale from July 2013 has expired, take heart — JetBlue launches $49 flight deals nearly every season. A great way to stay up to date is to also follow JetBlue on their social media platforms, particularly Twitter and Facebook. You can also find current JetBlue deals at the airlines’ Deals page. Another tip to take advantage of the next sale? Keep your schedule flexible, since some of the more popular routes will only offer special prices on select days of the week. If you’re leaving from NYC, for example, you’ll likely have to travel Tuesday through Thursday or the occasional Saturday.

Get a jump on your fall travel plans with JetBlue’s Jet-This-Party-Started Sale. With one-way flights to Boston, Bermuda, St. Croix, San Diego, New York City, and beyond, you’re bound to find your ideal autumn getaway. Keep in mind, you’ve got to think fast: These fares only last until July 31, 11:59pm EST; travel is valid from September 3 through December 18, 2013. There are also day-of-week restrictions and blackout dates from November 22–December 2. Check out some of our favorite fares below!

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Free Fitness Options at HotelsWhether you borrow a free bike for a cycle through a new neighborhood or kick off your shoes for yoga on the beach, fitness can become an enjoyable part of your vacation. And hotels are getting creative to help guests stay healthy on the road. On your next trip, skip the treadmill in exchange for one of the following fun fitness options; here are five of our free favorites!

1. Free Salsa Classes: Mezzanine, Tulum, Mexico

While clocking in 45 minutes of cardio might not sound too appealing on a beach vacation to Mexico’s Riviera Maya, how about a salsa lesson on a beachfront patio? At Mezzanine boutique hotel a local salsa school offers free classes on Sundays at 6pm, followed by a live salsa band that will provide the soundtrack to work on your new skills. Read more

San DiegoWith spring in full swing and summer fast-approaching, travel season in the U.S. is at its prime. Even places like Chicago and the Finger Lakes – known as cold locales for most of the year – are coming out of the woodwork as desirable summer destinations, and have the prices to match. Take a look at some of our favorite sun-soaked travel deals below. Read more

Travel Deals Across the CountryFrom the east coast to the west coast and the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. boasts miles of diverse shorelines that provide picturesque backdrops to many of our favorite destinations. Head to one of our great coastal cities and spend less of your tax return on hotel stays. This week, we’ve rounded up a batch of hotel deals, all with nightly rates under $180 for stays April through June. Read more

San Diego? For a convention? Must be Comic-Con International, right? Unfortunately, not all of us are able to head to Southern California to goof off with costumed characters, but there are certainly worse places for business travels to take you during this part of the year. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the wilds of “America’s Finest City,” we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.

If you’re up for branching out a bit, and you need an upscale place that’s far from stuffy, Rama has you covered. Just a few short blocks away from the sprawling San Diego Convention Center, this place serves up “exotic” Asian fare, but there’s plenty of curries to choose from if you don’t want to risk it. The atmosphere is really unique, and while you’re certainly pay for it when the check arrives, it’s a fantastic place to lighten spirits and generally blow off steam after a long day amongst concourses. Read more

You’re busy. We understand. We are, too. Between work, family, social engagements, and endless to-do lists, we all forget to stop to take a breather now and again. And chances are most of you are finding yourselves with extra vacation days that you didn’t use because of the lack of said breathers – which you can’t carry over into 2013. (It’s a common story; even those of us who work at a travel website sometimes can’t find the time to use them.) But don’t despair, because it’s not too late to plan a trip with those few extra days. With these great deals – all available for travel this December – you can explore a major metropolis, soak up sunshine, or relax at a luxurious spa for an extended weekend getaway that isn’t too far from home.

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Believe it or not, Thanksgiving Week is one of the cheapest of the year at hotels across the country. As most people stay close to home or with family during the holiday, rates dip to fill up rooms. So this year, why not shake things up and take a trip over Turkey Day? With prices these low – and all at 4-star hotels – there’s no reason not to get away.

New York City has plenty of draws for a Thanksgiving visit, from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to fantastic sales on Black Friday. 4-star hotels in the Big Apple offer low rates during the week, like the trendy Stay Hotel, located in the center of Midtown Manhattan, for as little at $187 per night when you stay three nights. Rates at the Stay go up to $399 per night in December, which means you’ll be saving over 50 percent. Or, stay at the 4.5-star W New York Downtown Hotel, one of the most stylish hotel brands in the world, for an incredible $197 per night – a savings of $250 on rates earlier in the fall (in fact, these rates at the W hold on many nights through mid-December, and go up to just $213 per night over Christmas week). Read more

Stay at a sprawling San Diego resort on the tip of Shelter Island, known for its beautiful harbor views and yacht-filled marinas. This fall, the Kona Kai Resort and Spa is offering rooms for as little as $97 per nighta savings of 40 percent on January and February rates.

The Hawaiian-inspired Kona Kai Resort and Spa features peaceful harbor and marina views and is surrounded by eleven acres of lush tropical gardens. The resort includes an outdoor pool, a whirlpool, a full-service spa, a fitness center, a sunning beach with volleyball courts, jogging and walking paths, free bicycle rentals, and complimentary WiFi. Dine at the waterfront Kona Kai Restaurant serving fresh local cuisine, and visit nearby attractions like Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, and downtown San Diego — all minutes away by car. Complimentary shuttles are available between the hotel and the San Diego Airport, Amtrak station, and cruise ship terminal.

Guest rooms offer garden, marina, or waterway views, and feature relaxing island decor and private balconies.

Travel on select dates throughout September and October. To book, visit the Kona Kai Resort Hotel and enter your dates. Or call 800-566-2524.

See our San Diego destination guides for more trip planning information, then use our TravelSearch price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on return flights, packages, and more travel deals.

See San Diego’s luxurious side for less – stay at a 4.5-star boutique hotel in the city’s chic Gaslamp Quarter for $175 per night. This offer from the eco-friendly Hotel Palomar San Diego cuts advance bookings made at least twenty days prior to your stay by 20 percent (a savings of $44 per night). Travel is available through December 31.

Stay in a Deluxe Guest Room with a plush king bed. Accommodations provide modern comforts such as an MP3 alarm clock, HD cable TV, an organic mini-bar, and a glass rainforest shower. Don’t forget to bring pets along – the hotel is as pet friendly as can be, with no fees or size restrictions.

The Hotel Palomar San Diego’s sleek decor is woven throughout each room and the hotel’s many onsite facilities, which entertain locals and tourists alike. Cool off in an outdoor swimming pool, then dry off on the pool deck with a cocktail from the rooftop bar and lounge. Workout in a state-of-the-art fitness center, or indulge in a rejuvenating treatment at the hotel spa. Try an appetizer or a full meal of innovative cuisine at the Saltbox restaurant. Palomar guests are also treated to nightly wine tastings. Read more

Walking Dead EscapeWhen we came up with our Top 10 Zombie Film Locations, we were only half serious about the necessary survival skills in the event of an undead apocalypse. However, we may have to actually brush up on our running and hiding abilities in preparation for the Walking Dead Escape simulation zombie takeover in San Diego this summer. Taking place at Petco Stadium July 12-14 (timed to coincide with this year’s Comic Con, of course), groups of participants will spend 35-45 minutes climbing obstacles while dodging “zombies” as they attempt to make it to the “Evac Zone.”

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Mission Bay Park San DiegoIf you want to be in the middle of all the San Diego action – steps from SeaWorld, and minutes from the San Diego Zoo, the Gaslamp Quarter, and the New Children’s Museum, among other must-sees – and if you want to enjoy it all for less, consider a late spring stay at The Dana on Mission Bay. Throughout the month of May you’ll enjoy savings of up to 59 percent off summer rates, with weekdays starting at only $139/night. The timing couldn’t be better, as you’ll avoid the tourist surges of summer and you’ll also avoid the July nightly rates that can climb as high as $339.

The Dana on Mission Bay is on the waterfront, less than a mile from Mission Beach, and surrounded by 10 acres of Mission Bay Aquatic Park, so despite being so close to close to San Diego staples, you won’t want for natural surroundings. You can stay in the Water’s Edge guest rooms or the Marina Cove guest rooms, but no matter where you stay, you’ll find modern décor and amenities like flat-screen TVs, discount tickets to San Diego attractions, and complimentary shuttles to SeaWorld, should you not want to walk there. The property also includes two spas, two pools, a seasonal pool bar, and a private marina.

To spring on these savings, book a May stay online. You’ll find the lowest rates during the week, rather than on the weekends.

See our San Diego destination guide for more trip-planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights.

Disneyland Cars LandAs the kids start counting down the days to summer vacation, America’s theme parks are counting down to the newest, biggest, most scream-worthy rides and attractions (so far, anyway). Here, a handy primer on where you’ll be taking the family this year.

The biggest news, of course, is the opening of Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure. This 12-acre attraction based on the Disney-Pixar Cars movies incorporates three new rides – including the thrilling coaster Radiator Springs Racers (pictured) – a trio of restaurants, and other themed shopping and entertainment venues. Watch out for Lightning McQueen, Mater, and other Cars favorites starting June 15.

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