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Even though vodka originated in Europe, we love it so much here in the States that we’ve dedicated an entire day to celebrating it. Yep, October 4 is National Vodka Day. Here are four places where you can honor the popular spirit.

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panning - hillary stein

Want to come back from vacation with more money in your pocket than when you left? Vegas, thankfully, isn’t your only option. In a few mining destinations across the U.S., finders are keepers. Plan a visit around these cities where you can hunt for treasure — and take home what you find.

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By Jackie Strause for Yahoo! Travel

The Suite Life: 15 Over-the-Top Las Vegas Hotel Suites

“Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign (Photo: Thinkstock)

Hey, high rollers, big spenders, and “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” shouters: We’ve got some suites for you.

When it comes to Las Vegas, a suite is more than just a suite: It’s a villa, a penthouse, a bungalow — sometimes (ahem, Bellagio) it’s an estate.

We’re not kidding! For the best of the best, you can enjoy in-room elevators, 24-hour butler service, glass-enclosed lap pools and Jacuzzi hot tubs, movie theaters, full spa and salon services, fireplaces, rain showers, terraces with plunge pools, and courtyard gardens without ever leaving your “room.”

So cash in your chips and get ready to cash out with one of these 15 überluxurious dream pads. It’s no gamble: You’re sure to feel like you’ve died and gone to Sin City once you do.

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RockCreekAs much as we love traveling to big cities, sometimes it can get overwhelming. Here are a few places in or near the biggest metropolises in the U.S., where, for a few hours at least, you can leave the noise and bustle behind. Read more

LadoniaNimisWhether established as a joke, to make a political point, or purely by accident, these 10 micronations across the world show that, if you don’t like your own country, you can just go ahead and start your own. Of course, like all of the ones we’ve listed, yours might never be recognized as a real nation, but you may not mind.

Visit our slideshow to learn about the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands, The Empire of Atlantium, a dictatorial banana-republic in Nevada, and more.

baseball - flickr - tulanesally - 620America’s pastime is in full swing this spring as baseball fans head south to Florida’s Grapefruit League and west to greater Phoenix’s Cactus League to catch Major League Baseball in preseason action. Training stadiums offer closer access to your favorite players, often with designated areas to snag an autograph. You’ll also find yourself merely a fly ball away from the action. Compare the new Cubs Park in Mesa, Arizona, which has 15,000 seats, to Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, which has a whopping 54,000.

If you’re traveling this spring, here are a host of baseball-related activities that are tailor-made for travelers, and you don’t even have to go all the way to Florida or Arizona to experience them… Read more

Rarotonga, The Cook IslandsAt the end of 2013, we chose the best budget destinations for 2014. Now, while everyone’s starting to make plans for the spring and beyond, we wanted to serve up some deals that make good on those predictions. Ready to jet? Read more

Hanover, Dartmouth, New Hampshire

Travelers across the US are starting to dust off their ski poles and practice their knee bends, as resorts in the northeast, midwest, southwest – anywhere, really, where there’s fresh powder to be had – prepare to open for the season. But for most of us, skiing is only half the fun. The rest of the trip (finding cozy lodges to sip hot chocolate, visiting local shops and galleries, or maybe even stopping in at a ‘cowboy bar’) should be every bit as memorable as the time you spend on the trails. Below, a few recommendations for towns that provide a quiet setting for your alpine getaway,  and with lower prices to boot, could be a better deal than larger resorts in better-known areas.

Hanover, New Hampshire (above)

On your way to or from the Dartmouth Skiway, set aside some time to enjoy the cultural offerings of the college town of Hanover, 20 minutes to the south. Visit the Hood Museum contemporary art center where interning Dartmouth students help to curate the frequently changing exhibits – current exhibits feature Picasso and Fan Tchunpi. The Hanover Inn, which occupies a building dating from 1780 and overlooks Dartmouth Green, is connected to the Hood Museum via a passageway and is home to a farm-to-table restaurant named PINE, created by celebrity Boston chef, (and James Beard award winner) Michael Schlow.

Across the green, in the college’s Baker library, is the Epic of American Civilization, one Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco’s three grand frescoes in the United States (the others are in California and New York City.) Read more

Las Vegas - Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort“Relaxing” and “romantic” are two words rarely used to describe a Las Vegas vacation. This deal from the 4-star Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa, situated on a scenic slice of desert 30 minutes from the Strip, may change that. On weekends from November 1 – December 22, the resort is offering a $199 per night package for couples, a savings of 45 percent on current rates. Or, make it a group outing. Each additional traveler pays just $99.

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The summer of 1947, a ranch foreman in New Mexico discovered some peculiar wreckage in a field. The Airforce initially reported the existence of a “flying disk”. Extraterrestrial “experts” claim that aliens and UFOs from this crash and others have been housed in Area 51, a military base in Nevada. The military quickly changed its story and said the wreckage was a weather balloon. It also denied the existence of Area 51, but just this year the CIA admitted that Area 51 really exists. If you’re not a believer, all the more reason to visit the many extraterrestrial sites in the regions to see if you can be convinced – or, at least, take some campy pictures with aliens to show your friends. Read on for some great (and cheap) roadside attractions for your next long drive through the desert.

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Las Vegas Mandarin Oriental

It’s Vegas, baby. And if that calls to mind the flashing marquee signs, smoke-filled hotel lobbies, and sequin-clad showgirls so often portrayed in the movies, well… that’s about right. As recently as last week, the city announced a two-year residency by the pop princess herself, Britney Spears – yet another vice just waiting to tempt travelers into this unadulterated, high-spectacle city.

But for those needing a break from all the sin, there are options.

This month, MGM Grand, quadruples the number of its “Stay Well” rooms, essentially taking over the entire 14th floor of the main tower with a special tier of health-focused rooms. There are 17 amenities in total, including HEPA-standard air purification to remove allergens and toxins from the air; light therapy to help you fall asleep and wake up according to your body’s internal clock; vitamin C-infused shower water to give you healthier hair and skin; and even an educational welcome video from Deepak Chopra. The cost for all this wellness? A $30 per night upgrade on your basic rate.

We had to wonder, what are some other sin-free indulgences travelers can make during a stay in Las Vegas? Read more

Reasons to Visit Nevada That Isn't VegasSure, Las Vegas has a ton of celebrity-owned restaurants, and a renowned bar scene. But, there’s an entirely different culinary world beyond the glitter and glam of the Vegas strip – most of it rich with Nevada’s authentic food culture. So if you’re already planning a trip to Sin City, here’s a non-Vegas guide to eating and drinking.

1. The Wineries: Three wineries operate in Nevada, and they all boldly defy the state’s less-than-stellar grape-growing climate. Tahoe Ridge Winery was a pioneer in Nevada wine making, receiving medals for their award-winning bottles. There’s also Pahrump Valley Winery, which makes a coveted Nevada Ridge Zinfandel. And the cult-favorite operation, Churchill Vineyards in Fallon, Nevada, an appointment-only, family winery that grows European-style grapes, produce a top-notch White Riesling and Gewurztraminer. This winery is also the first winery to receive a license to operate as a distillery – keep an eye out for their silky, smooth Nevada Brandy. Read more

Nevada Fly GeyserA rainbow of colors splashes across the outside of this mound. Though Fly Geyser, located in the Black Rock Desert, may seem other-worldly, it is most certainly from here, and Nevada no less! But how could such a thing form from nature? Well, it isn’t exactly all Mother Nature’s doing. Read more

RenoThe town that Johnny Cash helped immortalize is one of the more beautiful places to visit as spring finds its way in, and if you’re heading to The Biggest Little City in the World, allow us to offer some recommendations. In an effort to get you outside the boardroom and into the Truckee Meadows, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings. Read more

Las Vegas never sleeps, and one could argue that its convention centers are never closed, either. Sitting at the top of the heap in terms of available hotel rooms for conference goers, Sin City remains a top destination for business (and leisure, for that matter) travel. You already knew that the city offered plenty beyond meeting rooms, but I’m here to give you a few options that the folks around the water cooler may be unaware of. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the wilds of southern Nevada, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings. Read more

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