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By Maria Mora

Miami_cusine_alexdecarvalho

Miami culinary delights. Credit: alexdecarvalho.

Miami is a melting pot of culinary styles, from Cuban fare to new American classics, and no trip here would be complete without indulging in these local delights. Now through June 20, Florida visitors have the chance to top off their cheap Florida vacation with the much-anticipated Coral Gables Restaurant Week.

A celebration of the savory and spicy, Restaurant Week offers Miami guests the chance to enjoy prix fixemenus featuring top dishes at some of Coral Gables finest restaurants — all while saving around 20% off the bill. Over 30 restaurants are participating, including Anacapri, La Dorado, Por Fin Restuarant & Lounge, Morton’s Steakhouse and Sushi Maki.

Where to Stay
For a one-of-a-kind experience, stay at the landmark Biltmore Hotel. The Westin Colonnade has a spa-like atmosphere and sumptuous rooms. For great steals at surprisingly cheap Miami hotels, check out the sweet accomodations recently featured in Hot summer vacation, cool Miami hotels.

Maria Mora is a memoir blogger and wannabe photographer. She travels extensively throughout Florida and the Caribbean with her two young sons.

Tagged: Beach, Events, Food & drink

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Las vegas hotels
Even if you’re on a budget, you can make travel plans to celebrate New Year’s Eve in style. CheapTickets has unveiled the top five cities for New Year’s Eve celebrations and nearby destination alternatives for cheap New Year’s Eve hotels.

From big cities to the beach, you can join the party and save big on your travel budget by staying just a little bit further from the action. The top New Year’s Eve destinations and cheap hotel alternatives are based on hotel bookings on CheapTickets for arrivals December 27-31, 2008. Check out the average daily rates for the big cities versus the alternatives.

TOP NEW YEAR’S EVE DESTINATIONS AND ALTERNATIVES FOR CHEAP HOTELS

  1. Las Vegas Strip $154.50 / Las Vegas off-Strip $137.42
  2. New York City $256.53 / Newark, NJ $80.95
  3. Orlando, FL $93.43 / Kissimmee $75.32
  4. Cancun, Mexico $289.74 / Cozumel $165.71
  5. Miami Beach $197.22 / Ft. Lauderdale $91.81

LAS VEGAS STRIP/OFF-STRIP: If you’re planning to ring in 2009 in Las Vegas, booking one of the Las Vegas hotels off the Strip can save you up to 11 percent. Just take a quick cab ride downtown to partake in the New Year’s fireworks and live music on the Strip and at the Fremont Experience.

NEW YORK CITY/NEWARK: Newark is just a short train ride from Times Square, so you can take the train to see the ball drop and save an average of 68 percent on your hotel room.

MIAMI/FT. LAUDERDALE: Miami’s New Year’s Eve celebration is better than ever with Bayfront
Park’s free fireworks show, the annual Big Orange Festival — which
drops a 35-foot orange ball to a laser show and fireworks. Stay in one of the Fort Lauderdale hotels just 30 minutes away and celebrate average hotel savings of 53 percent.

CheapTickets resources:

Tagged: City

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cheap flights
If you’re still looking for cheap flights for the holidays, here’s good news: CheapTickets and American Airlines are teaming up to offer cheap fares this December.

Round-trip fares start at $105 plus tax. Maybe you want to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Cheap flights from Orlando to New York start at $185. Or visit your relatives in Florida. CheapTickets and American have cheap fares starting at $205 for flights from New York to Miami.

Holiday travel doesn’t have to cost a lot. With these cheap flights, you’ll have plenty of money left for gifts! Fares are goodfor travel through January 5, 2009, but you must book your tickets at least 14 days in advance.

CheapTickets resources:

Tagged: Flights, FREE!, Limited-time Offers

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Cheapflights
Airfare to cities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico is on sale. AirTran Airways is offering cheap flights for fall and winter travel. So if you want to take a vacation, check out airfares like these:

  • Atlanta to San Juan: $244
  • Chicago to Miami: $204
  • New York to West Palm Beach: $184
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul to Dallas/Fort Worth: $264
  • Denver to Fort Lauderdale: $284

These cheap flights don’t include taxes and are for round-trip travel through January 30, 2009.

You could plan a long weekend in Los Angeles, or a relaxing getaway in Phoenix. No matter where you want to travel, you’ll save on airfare with this sale from AirTran and CheapTickets.

Hurry, sale ends October 14.

CheapTickets resources:

Tagged: City, Flights, FREE!, Limited-time Offers

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San Francisco hotels
Flights and hotels get cheaper when you buy them together on CheapTickets. How cheap? Just check out these sample vacation packages for less than $500:

  • Orlando (from Detroit) — $360
  • San Francisco (from Denver) — $399
  • Phoenix (from Chicago) — $457
  • Fort Myers (from St. Louis) — $399
  • Washington, D.C. (from Boston) — $439

Vacation packages include one round-trip flight and a two-night hotel stay.

In fact, CheapTickets has a wide selection of vacation packages under $500. You could fly from Baltimore to New Orleans and have a two-night hotel stay for under $500. Or fly from Philadelphia to Miami and stay two nights. So whether you want to live it up in the city or relax on the beach, you’ll have a cheaper vacation when you book your flights and hotels together.

CheapTickets resources:

Tagged: City, Vacation packages

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The holiday travel season is fast approaching, and if you’re planning to head out of town for Thanksgiving or take a Christmas vacation, take note: CheapTickets has identified the top 10 holiday travel destinations for 2008.

The list includes a mix of big cities and beach vacation destinations, with Florida and Mexico cities grabbing the most spots. According to CheapTickets’ data, Las Vegas hotels are the most popular for holiday travel, while travelers also have booked plenty of rooms in New York hotels and Cancun hotels.

Travel deal alert: Average rates are less than $100 at Las Vegas hotels, Orlando hotels and Fort Lauderdale hotels.

Check out these popular travel spots and average daily hotel rates.

CheapTickets’ 10 Most Popular Holiday Getaways
1. Las Vegas / $97.74 6. Riviera Maya, Mexico / $284.21
2. New York City / $273.95 7. Miami, Fla. / $134.49
3. Cancun, Mexico / $194.62 8. Chicago, Ill. / $135.52
4. Orlando, Fla. / $83.80 9. Fort Lauderdale, Fla. / $87.02
5. Oahu, Hi. / $151.08 10. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico / $155.18

The data is based on the average price for all hotel bookings on CheapTickets compared to the listed destinations for arrivals November 24 – December 31, 2008.

CheapTickets resources:

Tagged: City, International, Tips & advice

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Finding cheap hotels just got easier. CheapTickets has identified ten beach vacation destinations where you can get great rates on hotels this fall.

CheapTickets’ Fall 2008 Off-Season Deals include top vacation spots in Florida, Mexico, Hawaii and the Caribbean . You could take the family to Orlando, explore historic downtown Puerto Rico or enjoy the beautiful beaches and lush landscape of Maui. So if the fall chill starts to make you miss summer weather, just check out the low rates at hotels in these hot spots.

The top ten off-season destinations and average daily hotel rates in the table below are based on hotel bookings on CheapTickets for travel from August 18 through December 17, 2008.

Top Fall 2008 Off-Season Travel Destinations
1. Fort Lauderdale, Fla. / $77.91 6. Riviera Maya, Mexico / $219.25
2. Miami, Fla. / $110.10 7. Maui, Hi / $177.46
3. Puerto Rico / $143.27 8. San Diego, Calif. / $111.32
4. Cancun, Mexico / $166.13 9. Jamaica / $172.44
5. Orlando, Fla. / $69.03 10. Oahu, Hawaii / $129.10

CheapTickets resources:

Tagged: City, FREE!, International, Off-season

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Miamiblog
If it seems like we talk a lot about restaurant week events, you’re right. But it’s just because we love travel and food — and when you can get deals on both, we’ve got to let you know.

Today, we’re highlighting Miami Spice, a food-lovers’ event in a beach-lovers’ paradise. During the event, about 100 restaurants in Miami are offering lunches for $23 and/or dinners for $36 (not including drinks, tax and tip).

Participating restaurants stretch across the Miami metro area, so whether you’re staying at one of the hip South Beach hotels, somewhere downtown or in Surfside, you’ll find a restaurant close by.

A few South Beach/Miami Beach restaurants participating in Miami Spice include Ola Restaurant in the Sanctuary Hotel, Emeril’s, Miami Beach in the Loews Miami Beach Hotel and Sushisamba droMo.

On the mainland, you could eat at Tony Chan’s Restaurant Club in the Doubletree Grand Hotel, Cacao Restaurant in Coral Gables or Baleen Miamiin Coconut Grove.

Miami Spice runs through September 30, so you’ve got a whole month to travel to Miami to enjoy the sights and tastes of the city.

CheapTickets resources:

Tagged: City, Events, FREE!, Limited-time Offers