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Holiday Travel Tips & Deals

'Tis the season for a deal. Savvy shoppers can still score a last-minute deal on a holiday trip or night out.

We've compiled our list of top holiday travel and entertainment deals over Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's. These deals include family-friendly events and trips, discounted hotel rooms and cruise cabins -- even cheap flights if you know what dates to fly.

In addition to these deals in spots such as New York City, Napa Valley and the Caribbean, here are a few tips to save some holiday travel bucks:

1. Know when to fly: This calendar offers up the best dates to fly. We also isolated some of the best fares to major cities and warm weather destinations. A few hints: the Friday before Christmas and the day after Christmas are often the most expensive days to fly. Try traveling earlier -- or really last minute. Christmas Day is one of the cheapest days to fly during the holidays.

2. Go before, not after: If you are considering a weeklong trip in December, and not tied into school schedules and such. Take your trip Dec. 18-25 instead of Dec. 25 - Jan. 1. The week after Christmas is generally very pricey in many popular destinations such as Orlando, Hawaii and top ski resorts. But the period before Christmas often offers up amazing deals, even for weekends in Las Vegas, cruises and other trips that will be hundreds of dollars more a week later.

3. Book your New Year's Eve deal now: Dec. 31 is one date that's very tough to find a deal on in any destination. Packages and minimum-night stays can offer savings though. One idea to consider that's also true when flying to Europe -- major sales from Air France, KLM and Lufthansa have discounted fares starting on Dec. 25. Why not spend the New Year in the Old World?

4. Ship your presents, or get a Local Deal: The TSA agents must not get enough gifts at home, because they like unwrapping presents travelers send through security. If buying something on the Internet, shipping it to your final destination (or a FedEx Kinko's nearby) could cost you the same, and save you on baggage fees when flying. If you want something extremely portable, check out our Local Deals Gift Guide for top spas, fine dining, fun activities and popular shows.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, New York
Friday, December 2, 2011
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Andrew Young