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No Vacation Required Podcast

For fulfillment fanatics interested in traveling deliriously, living deliberately, and working virtually.

5 Travel Deals / Trends We Want More of in 2012

NVR Guys

Looking back at some of the travel deals we got in 2011, there were some big standouts - like the remote cabin we scored in Alaska for about $50 a night. Below, we're highlighing five deals (okay, 3 deals and 2 trends) that really rocked our world. We want to see more things like this in 2012.

1. ASAP deals from Expedia

Heathman Hotel - Portland

We love to love Expedia. Truth is, they let us down – in a big way – at one point last year, and we were bummed to have to cross our hometown favorite off the "we likey" list. But that's old news. We are happy to now have them back among our favorites. How'd they make the leap way back to the top? By offering some deals that are better than Priceline's Name Your Own Price. Yes, you read that correctly. Expedia is offering what they call ASAP (A Sudden Amazing Price) deals, which promise "seriously fabulous discounts every weekday." We learned that it's not just talk.

For our recent journey down to Portland, we snagged the Heathman Hotel for 50% off on Expedia. The room came to about $70 a night - better than we could have done using our old standby, Priceline. Plus, with Expedia, the specific hotel isn't veiled.

Keep an eye on Expedia and especially these ASAP deals.

2. Happy Hour deals from Celebrity

Transatlantic cruise on Celebrity

Every now and then, we'll go on and on around here about how cruise prices are low low in the current economic climate. This was never more true for us than when we got notified of a particularly amazing "happy hour" special that Celebrity Cruises was running.

For just a few hours, on only one day, Celebrity discounted a few already low cruise prices even further. One was the Transatlantic cruise that we ended up taking from Rome to Fort Lauderdale. We were able to secure a balcony cabin on the 15 day cruise for about $700 each. Yep, that's $1400 – including accommodations and food  – for the two of us.

Have cruise envy? Head over to Celebrity and sign up for their e-deals. Maybe you, too, will enjoy an all new kind of happy hour.

3. Last Minute deals from Alamo

Driving to the mountains

Generally speaking, we don't have a lot of heart space for car rental companies. However, we're rarely disappointed when we rent from Alamo. That held true throughout 2011. We're good judges of the car rental arena because – being away from home base so much – we no longer own a car. So, we tend to rent quite a bit on the road and in Seattle.

We just got our hands on a killer last minute special. Get this, we used an e-deal to secure a car for $30 for 3 days. We were then able to layer a $20 coupon on the rental in order to bring the cost down to $10. That's about $3.33 a day folks. Booya (is that how you spell that?)!

Go sign up as an Alamo Insider and, just like with Celebrity, request their e-deals.

4. Price Guarantee from Alaska Air

We'll be spending a lot of time up in the air.

This isn't really a deal, but it's such a good policy that it has to be mentioned. Actually, it's such a stellar policy that it's worth mentioning twice. We wrote an entire post about it (so go here for details), but here's the short version.

Alaska Air has a cool price guarantee. You can book with confidence (isn't that a good marketing-y phrase) because, if the price goes down at any time, you get a refund for the price difference in the form of a credit.  After taking advantage of the policy throughout 2011, we can tell you it rocks and eliminates a lot of worry. No more airfare anxiety disorder (AAD) for us.

Check it out if you live in Alaska's market.

5.  Premier Travel Benefits from American Express

Lounging in Style - Alaska Airline's "Boardroom"

This, too, isn't really a deal. We resisted upgrading to the American Express platinum card for a long time. The fee, $450, gave us heartburn. Then, a little over a year ago, American Express started to really pay attention to what travelers want. We took notice and are glad that we did.

For instance, with the platinum card, they'll cover up to $200 worth of incidental charges incurred by the airline of your choice. Additionally, you get complimentary access to several airlines' airport lounges in addition to Priority Pass lounges. It'd be worth it for you to head to their site to see if the premier benefits might add up for you. For us, the travel benefits (not to mention the business benefits) make the annual fee bearable.

Okay, time to get back to hammering out the plan of action for 2012.

What travel deals/trends have you seen lately? Share them below!