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Cheap flights to New Orleans and trips to the Bahamas: this week's best travel deals

We've rounded up five of the best travel deals of the week so you can focus on planning that dream vacation without worrying about the bottom line. Jet off to New Orleans, cruise to the Bahamas, or get a great hotel bargain in Vegas. 

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    Revelers walk down Bourbon Street, located in the French Quarter of New Orleans. American Airlines is offering roundtrip flights to New Orleans for as low as $81 this week.
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The notion of traveling is about more than just a dollar value, since you spend endless hours planning and dreaming before you book anything. And we're all about igniting your imagination, so we've gathered five of the best travel deals so that you can focus on dreaming without worrying about the bottom line.

4-Night Bahamas Flight & Hotel Vacation for 2
Vendor: CheapCaribbean via ShermansTravel
Price: From $814.62 via coupon "GRAND250A"
Lowest By: $475
Expires: Today

Is It Worth It?: Picture turquoise water dipped with the overhanging branches of lilting mangroves framing miles upon miles of pristine beaches, and you've probably got a postcard image of the Bahamas. But finding the perfect stay on this island is not always as simple as it should be. Standards vary greatly, which is why we got so excited about this particular deal.

This vacation features accommodation at the 4-star Grand Lucayan Resort, which sits right on the beachfront in Freeport and has an 89% rating on Expedia, as well as a #4 ranking on TripAdvisor's list of 16 hotels in Freeport. Plus, at just over $400 per person this trip comes in at the lowest price we've seen for any 4-night vacation to the Bahamas.

This price is based on departure from Fort Lauderdale, FL, (FLL) with arrival in Freeport, Bahamas, (FPO) on July 21; other departure cities are available for an additional cost. Book this travel deal by July 10 for travel from July 11 through November 21.

American Airlines Roundtrip Flights to New Orleans
Vendor: American Airlines via ShermansTravel
Price: From $81
Lowest By: $40
Expires: July 15

Is It Worth It?: Tennessee Williams famously said of New Orleans "America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland." While we recognize that this is pretty harsh on Cleveland, he hasn't overstated the larger-than-life personality of NOLA. Everything is just a little bit vibrant: the food is more tantalizing; the air is more intoxicating; and the ghosts are more, well, present. (Certainly Cleveland isn't known for it's variety of voodoo charm shops.)

But we're not just taking this opportunity to wax lyrical about the Big Easy. This Editors' Choice deal for American Airlines flights to New Orleans is actually the best starting rate we've ever seen forany American Airlines flights.

Click on "AA.com" in the main paragraph to see this deal. This price is valid on flights departing from Dallas, TX, (DFW) with arrival in New Orleans, LA, (MSY) on September 13 and return on September 21. Book this travel deal by July 15 for travel from September 21 through October 31.

Carnival 4-Night Bahamas Cruise for 2 in the Fall
Vendor: Vacations to Go via @TravelDeals
Price: $498
Lowest By: $1,200
Expires: August 15

Is It Worth It?: For those who understand that traveling is about more than just the destination, we offer up this 4-night cruise to the Bahamas on Carnival Cruises. At just $62.25 per person per night this is one of the cheapest ways to really get away from it all. But this deal is about more than just value for money. It's about the opportunity to set sail, to be adrift in the ocean miles from dry land. It's about breathing in the crisp sea air and basking in the undiluted starlight. And of course there's the Bahamas where you can set your watch to Island Time and stretch your sea legs for a couple of days.

This roundtrip cruise aboard the Carnival Sensation departs from Port Canaveral, FL, on September 20 and stops in Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas. This travel deal ends August 15.

Cathay Pacific Roundtrip Fares to Asia in the Fall
Vendor: Cathay Pacific via ShermansTravel
Price: From $730.99
Lowest By: $142
Expires: July 14

Is It Worth It?: Asia has long set the western imagination ablaze with visions of pagodas silhouetted by the rising sun and mystical temples guarded by ninjas. A trip to Asia teaches you to see everything in a new light, as if seeing it for the first time. Everything is different, from the aromas in the air and the food you eat to the myriad languages and customs across this continent. Experience the high-tech madness of Tokyo, the succulent street food in Seoul, and the ancient radically juxtaposed with the modern in Beijing.

A trip to Asia might seem daunting, especially when you're facing the 10+ hour long haul flight. That's why we draw your attention to this deal in particular. Not only are these flights about $200 less than we'd expect to see for roundtrip fares to Asia, Cathay Pacific is a 5-star airline, guaranteeing that your flight will be as comfortable as possible.

Click on "CathayPacific.com" in the main paragraph to see this sale. We found this price departing from Newark, NJ, (EWR) with arrival in Shanghai, China, (PVG) on September 7 and return on September 14. Book this travel deal by July 14 for select travel from August 17 through December 9.

Up to $200 Resort Credit at Wynn Hotel Las Vegas
Vendor: Southwest Airlines Vacations
Price: Free with booking via coupon code "WYNNENCORE"
Expires: September 30

Is It Worth It?: There's no place to let your hair down like America's Playground and what better way to do it than with a pocket full of bonus spending money from one of the Top 10 hotels in Las Vegas? The Wynn Las Vegas is offering between $50 and $200 spending money for free when you book your flight and hotel vacation together on Southwest Airlines Vacation. This award winning 5-star hotel is located right at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip and TripAdvisor ranks it #6 out of 269 hotels in Vegas.

A minimum 2-night roundtrip flight and hotels booking for two is required. Book this travel deal by September 30 for travel through December 26.

This article first appeared in DealNews.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best personal finance bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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