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Travel News: Midwinter-Madness Edition

Reclining seats, gay hotels, and really cheap tropical getaways

Of all the things that irritate people about flying (delays, security lines, paying for pretzels, getting groped), there’s one that seems to divide passengers like no other: seat recliners. As this recent CNN story points out, air travelers fall firmly into two camps: those who love seat recliners and those hate them. Personally, as a 5-foot-11-inch woman with personal-space issues, I hate them. But many seem to think that reclining their seat for the duration of a ten-hour flight isn’t just a privilege but a right. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.

Time magazine published a story this week about a growing trend in hotels that aren’t only gay-friendly but “gay, through-and-through.” An example is the Royal Palms Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, which features a spa, bar, and gym, as well as a “clothing-optional” environment. Look out for Out NYC in 2011, a new Manhattan hotel with an 11,000-square-foot disco and men’s spa.

A few European deals are going on this week (as is standard for winter): Iceland Express is offering roundtrip flights from New York to London for a staggeringly inexpensive $469 both ways, including taxes and fees, on twice-weekly flights from January 7 through March 28. If you’re looking to get to London, this is pretty much the cheapest deal you’ll ever find. Obviously it isn’t completely ideal deal—the flight stops in Reykjavik, and you’ll have to get to New York first. But for penny-pinchers, it’s a steal.

Another steal that doesn’t involve going via the land of Björk, banking crises, and Eyjafjallajökull: Aer Lingus has a deal on direct flights from New York to Dublin starting at $199 each way, or around $500 roundtrip with taxes and fees. Even better? You can take a friend with you for between $99 and $119 each way.

Usually if something sounds too good to be true, it is. But I’ll withhold judgement on this deal, which is offering rates of $20.10 per person per night at its Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. The rate includes all meals and unlimited drinks. I can’t imagine this deal includes profitability, so there’s got to be a catch somewhere, but regardless, it expires today, so jump on it if you dare. Travel is valid for four-to-seven-night stays from January 3 through December 20, 2011. The resort features a private beach, parties every Monday and Thursday, nine bars and restaurants, and a spa. And in case you aren’t getting your money’s worth, free Scuba lessons are also included. Flights, unfortunately, are not.

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