New Year's travel deals, tips

December 2, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Travelzoo's Senior Editor, Gabe Saglie reveals his top picks and shares four "Ways to Simplify Your New Year's Travel."

For more information:

    Travel Tips:
  • Pick Your Travel Dates Wisely
    Check rate calendars from individual airlines (or Travelzoo) to see which specific dates will be the most expensive
    New Year's: The most expensive dates to fly this year: Dec. 26, 30-31, Jan. 1,5
    The cheapest dates to fly this year: Dec. 28, Dec. 4
  • Don't Check Bags, But If You Must
    Think like a business travelers: don't check any bags to make travel easier (and cheaper)
    If you must check a bag: Know the weight rules: fess can soar to $450 on overweight bags (on international flights); Leave extra room and weight (to avoid extra fees on the way back)
  • Be Transparent
    The plastic baggie is your friend (and will make going through security easier) -- know the 3-1-1 Rule
    Do not wrap gifts
  • Use Technology to Your Advantage
    Download apps to help keep track of things like schedule and gate changes, weather and alternate flights
    Check-in from your computer as close to 24 hours before your flight as possible
    Program as many details of your itinerary in your iPhone, iPad or laptop as possible

    New Year's Vacation Deals
    • Sin City Countdown in Luxury
      Las Vegas
      Roundtrip airfare from ORD to Las Vegas on United
      4 days, 3 nights at the Vdara Hotel & Spa at CityCenter
    • New 5-Star luxury resort at the new Vegas CityCenter that features an exclusive pool and full-service spa
    • All-suite, smoke-free property is connected to the Bellagio Las Vegas Hotel and Casino
    • CityCenter is home to three hotels and Crystals, with shops such as Louis Vuitton and Tiffany as well as restaurants by Todd English, Eva Longoria and Wolfgang Puck
      Accommodations in 600-sq.ft. One Bedroom Suite offering 270-degree views of Las Vegas
      Travel Dec. 30-Jan. 2
      Note: traveling the following week drops the price on this package by 30-50%
  • New Year's Across the Pond
    Roundtrip airfare from IND to London
    7 days, 6 nights' accommodations in downtown London

    Package features stay at 3-Star Bayswater Inn near Hyde Park, Oxford Street West End, and Kensington Gardens; upgrades available
    Breakfast daily included
    Depart Dec. 30; departures on some surrounding dates slightly more
    The Deals: New Year's Staycations (Or, Where to Put up Your Visitors)

  • Fairmont Chicago Hotel Chicago Luxury AAA 4-Diamond hotel near Millennium Park, Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile Hotel features two chic dining options (Eno Wine Room and aria Restaurant & sushi bar), w/onsite chef currently competing on Top Chef Rooms offer 42-inch flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations
    $149/nt. ($100 off)
    Deal includes FREE valet parking ($54 value)
    Travel through March 31, inc. New Year's Eve
  • Hyatt Regency Chicago
    Popular luxury AAA 4-Diamond hotel located downtown along the Chicago River
    Hotel is walking distance to shopping on Michigan Avenue and State Street, as well as all the hot shows in the Theater District
    $99/nt. (50% off)
    Deal features half-off valet parking ($25 instead of $50/nt.)
    Travel through Dec. 30 and Jan.1
    Note: rate jumps to $239 for Dec. 31 stays, but w/other nights at $99, the average per-night rate can still be low
    New Year's Cruise

    Fireworks at Sea
    Bahamas Cruise (out of Baltimore)
    8 days, 7 nights at sea
    Ship: Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas
    Ports of Call: Baltimore, Pt. Canaveral, Nassau, Coco Cay, Baltimore
    Sail Date: December 31
    $849/pp Ocean View Stateroom Balcony cabins and suites also discounted; return Jan. 7

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