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Don't Let Your Vacation Days Go To Waste

With six weeks left in the year, the mad dash is on to plan the perfect Thanksgiving, check every last loved one off the gift list, coordinate schedules for a New Year’s bash and celebrate the season with family and friends.

During the race up to the new year, what often gets lost in the mix is unused vacation days. According to the U.S. Travel Association, Americans don’t use about two of their average 12 days of paid vacation per year. And according to a Harris Interactive survey in 2011, more than 55% of Americans had unused vacation time.

Don’t let those days go to waste: the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas often bring some of the best discounts of the year on hotels, cruises and more. Here are some of our favorite last-minute trip ideas for 2013:

1-2 days

  • See Manhattan dressed up in its holiday finest with a stay at The Blakely in Midtown, close to the Fifth Avenue shops and walkable to the sparkle of Times Square. Stays starting Dec. 17 have been discounted to $199 per night. This exclusive deal, which includes complimentary breakfast and free Wi-Fi, includes weekend stays, ideal for a quick trip away.
  • Can’t get out of town but need some pampering? Create your own  spa day with $200 to spend at select Bliss, Mandara and Elemis Spas in Orlando, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and more cities nationwide for $99. Check Travelzoo’s Local Deals for even more spa discounts across the country.

3-4 days

  • A discounted trip to Sin City doesn’t mean you’ll end up on Santa’s naughty list. One of the best times to score bargains in Las Vegas is the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Discounted hotel options abound this year: the 5-star Trump International Hotel Las Vegas is as low as $85 per night in November and December and a relaxing stay off-Strip at The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa has been cut to $59 per night. While in town, use Travelzoo’s app to find the best deals on restaurants, shows, activities and more.
  • Don’t let the warm weather and bright, sunny skies fool you: no one does Christmas like Orlando. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is held nightly through Dec. 20, featuring a holiday parade and fireworks, and this year’s schedule of holiday events at Disney World is loaded. Orlando hotel deals start at $69 per night and range from budget friendly to luxurious through the end of the year.

5 days or longer

  • Our airfare experts have found competitive prices for winter travel to Los Angeles and San Diego. Get a tan for the family holiday photos or even bring them along on your SoCal jaunt. Flights start at $72 roundtrip including taxes. Some holiday travel dates are blacked out, but many of these fares are good into February, perfect for people with generous employers who allow for a grace period on using vacation time. Once you’ve booked the airfare, find the spot for Santa to send the presents with our LA & Southern California hotel deals. Combine deals to make for a longer visit.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, Chicago
Friday, November 15, 2013
See more Tips from
Hilary Solan