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Steals Of Travel Deals For '09

One upside of the down economy is an abundance of great travel deals.

According to Barbara Messing, vice president of, a new Web site that seeks out great travel bargains, 2009 will be overflowing with affordable deals to all sorts of destinations.

She showcased a few along with The Early Show Saturday Edition's "Bargainista," co-anchor Erica Hill, and explained how to find cut-rate travel deals in this turbulent economic climate:

It will be a great year for travelers because of the poor economy, Messing says. Hotels are doing everything they can to get people into their rooms. Airlines are also in a much better position because fuel costs have dropped and they can offer cheap fares again.

For starters, says Messing, it's a great time go to Las Vegas. It's seen a building boom and there are lots of empty rooms on the market. Business travel is down, too, which should lower prices even more.

Las Vegas

A star-studded Four Stars for less: Stay at the famed Palms Casino Resort from $89 a night midweek. Weekends start at $179. You'll get a food/beverage credit, VIP passes, discounts, upgrade offers and more. You would normally pay double those prices for this property; The Palms is beautiful, a Four-Star property with a Michelin rated restaurant and world-famous steakhouse, and the pool scene is very chic. Bring your friends and family: You can upgrade to a 1,000 square foot suite for $70 more (or perfect for a bachelor/ette party!)

Ski Resort: Keystone, Colo.

Recognized by readers of Condè Nast as one of the Top 50 Ski Resorts in North America: The Inn at Keystone, from $99 a night. Such great heights, such low rates! Head to the Rockies and get that deal now through April 12. $99/night is 50 percent! Skiers can also get discounted lift tickets at supermarkets on the there. The Inn at Keystone is centrally located between River Run Village and Lakeside Village. This hotel features the hot tubs with the best views -- on top of the building! This property is just a quick walk to the lifts and all skier services at the Mountain House Base Area.

Tip: Go to the best areas of the country to ski, but hit lesser-known destinations in the same area that are a little off the beaten path. You'll get world-class skiing and amenities at a fraction of the price.

Lufthansa's Winter fare sale to Europe -- from $204

Go Euro for fewer dollars. Lufthansa just announced a fantastic fare sale to many exciting European destinations from the U.S. Save on flights to London, Madrid, Rome, and more with fares from just $204 each way, now through May 1.

Tip: Lufthansa's winter sale includes so many US origins and destinations that Europe is back to being an accessible vacation destination. They've lowered fares on routes to destinations all across Europe! A couple of months ago, you would have easily paid $1,000 more roundtrip for similar flights, so the savings are around 50 percent. The euro is finally going down and Europe is becoming more affordable again. European hotels, like those in the U.S., are seeing fewer travelers and so are also slashing prices to entice visitors to cross the pond.

Mexico: 5 stars in the Riviera Maya: All-Inclusive resort, from $120 Per Night

Dive into this Caribbean deal! The Five Star favorite BlueBay Grand Esmeralda in the Riviera Maya is now starting at just $120 per person per night Enjoy all the Five Star food, drinks and activities you've been dreaming about. Valid through March 31. You're getting a Five Star property with no surprises on the price. This would normally be about twice that! The BlueBay Grand Esmeralda is right on the beach in Playa del Carmen on the Caribbean side. The beaches are fantastic. Includes everything: meals, activities, even drinks. About 30 minutes south of Cancun; very safe and easy to get to.

Tip: Let the deal be your guide for choosing a vacation. Not a lot of people are looking at Riviera Maya right now, but a lot of people want warm weather, beaches, and tropical winter escapes.

Cruises: Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Alaska Cruises With Extras, from $149

Sail with up to $500 to spare! Expedia has Norwegian cruises to spots around the world from $149. Cruise the Bahamas from $149, or visit Europe from $349. You'll also get up to $500 in onboard credit. Book by February 1 for sailings through 2011. Norwegian Cruise Lines is an outstanding brand. The great thing about cruises is that everything is paid for, similar to the Mexico deal (except drinks). The ship is your playground! And again, because travel is slow, many cruise ships are available, and there are deals galore to get people cruising around the world.

San Francisco: 60 Percent Off New Union Square Hotel, From $89, Three-and-a-Half Stars

New name, new rooms, new savings! What was once the Monticello Inn in San Francisco's central Union Square is now the renovated Hotel Abri. And TravelTicker readers stay from $89 (regularly. $229). Valid through March 31 at this brand new hotel, a saving of $140 a night! (60 percent). The hotel is great, with a beautiful design, 42-inch flatscreens/LCD, luxurious linens, and is in the best San Francisco location, just a couple blocks off Union Square. If you're traveling with a family, you can upgrade to a suite for just $40 more.