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The Gilt Groupe Model Applied To Travel Deals

Buckle your seat belts: Just when we’re finally building up defenses against the online sample sale phenomenon (and their daily doses of discounted designer duds), a slew of new sales sites are tempting us with some seriously sweet travel deals. Employing the same time-is-of-the-essence drill used by Gilt.com et al, these travel sites offer their members access to deeply reduced hotel rates for a few days at a time. Sure, a few of the “deals” might be more than your yearly salary—$53,000-a-week villa in the Galapagos, anyone?—but there are plenty of affordable offerings for mere mortals looking to plan a spring vacay, romantic getaway or a bachelorette weekend on the cheap. Read on for our guide to the web’s best travel sale sites.Jetsetter.com
The mack-daddy of all travel sale sites, this Gilt.com spinoff offers up to 10 different hotel deals at a time. Once you snag “membership” (existing Gilt members are automatically invited; otherwise, simply Google “jetsetter membership” for an invitation), you’ll have access to deeply reduced (up to 40 percent off) room rates at some of the world’s hottest spots. Recent offerings include $145/night rooms at The Crane resort in Barbados and $105/night rooms at Chicago’s chic Hotel Burnham. Just don’t spend too long drooling over the site’s gorgeous slideshows for each property; the sales only last a few days and holiday weekends book up fast.

RueLaLa.com
Keep an eye out for themed travel sales on this well-known private-sale site, such as the recent “Luxury on the Slopes” and “W Hotels” events—the latter of which offered up rooms at the notoriously hip W chain for just $130 a night in Atlanta. Though sales are “open” for just 48 hours, they’re advertised up to four days in advance—giving you enough time to wrangle the girls together to agree on dates and budget for your cut-rate getaway.

TabletHotels.com
Allergic to ho-hum chain hotels and looking for a deal? Head to this site’s “Last Minute” section for reduced rates on the coolest boutique hotels all over the world. A recent search of available hotels—divided into “Urban,” “Hideaway” and “High Roller” categories—revealed $129/night rooms this coming weekend at Donovan House, a seriously stylish spot in Washington, D.C., which normally charges $399 and up. If you can snag membership to Tablet Hotel’s Private Sales (either by booking on the site, or scoring an invite from someone who has), all the better: Each Tuesday at 10 a.m., they present even more drastically reduced rates at celeb magnets like Townhouse in Miami.

Kayak.com
The trusty travel search site now holds weekly “Private Sales”—which, considering anyone can sign up for free, might not be so private after all. Still, it’s well worth checking out the five to 10 hotels that go on sale (up to 50 percent off retail prices) each Thursday at 10 a.m. EST, with reduced rates lasting the entire week or until the sale sells out. Current deals include a $221/night rate (normally $295) at Hollywood’s Sunset Tower Hotel, the swanky hangout that lures the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Daniel Craig.

Happy travels. Don’t say I never fluffed a pillow for you.

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