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Sale fares and hotel deals make California an incredibly affordable travel option this fall and winter. Once you've arrived, there's practically nothing you can't do: shop for used books in San Francisco, star search in Los Angeles, ski in Tahoe or drive along the Pacific Ocean coast on Highway 1.

American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) is having a huge fall internet sale to destinations all over the United States, including Los Angeles. Travel is good through March 9, 2006 with booking 14-days before departure or within one day of making a reservation. Certain blackout dates apply around holidays. Roundtrip sample fares to L.A. include $218 from Baltimore, Austin, Birmingham and Orlando; $258 from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Louisville; and $260 from Houston. Check the website for fares from a departure point near you. Departure taxes and security fees should not exceed $30.

Once there, you can take advantage of another great sale, this time on hotel deals. Expedia (tel. 800/EXPEDIA; www.expedia.com), to celebrate its own 10th anniversary, is having a fire sale on hotel prices in the L.A. area. The offer, which ends on October 23, 2006, gives travelers savings at over 20 different southland hotel properties. In conjunction with this deal, if you book it for 2006, Expedia will give you a $200 coupon for any trip booked through them in 2007. Some of the hotel deals in the L.A. area include a Comfort Inn (with free in-room wireless access) near Universal Studios for $79. This deal is available through January 31, 2007.

For lovers of the West Hollywood shopping, barhopping and celebrity scene, Expedia offers a deal to the Econo Lodge Inn and Suites. This two-story motel on Sunset Boulevard harkens back to an older L.A., back when motor lodges were frequented by newcomers to town looking to make dreams come true. For just $87 per night, guests get a complimentary Continental breakfast and access to the pool. If you stay two nights you save an additional 10 per cent and three nights reduces the bill by 20 per cent. A guided tour eight-block tour of Hollywood gets you even closer to all the action for $20 per ticket.

Skiers tired of the L.A. celebrity scene can take refuge in a ski deal to Lake Tahoe available through Squaw Vacations (tel. 800/403-0206; www.squawvacations.com). Starting at $192 for a two-night, two-day lift ticket package, this ski in and ski out deal comes with one free lesson per person. This early season deal is available from the opening ski day in Squaw Valley until December 14, 2006. Taxes and fees are not included in the price of the deal and blackout dates apply from November 23 to 25, 2006. The Squaw Valley Lodge has clean, spacious rooms with kitchenettes and laundry facilities as well as hot tubs, business services and dining on lodge premises.

In the last minute travel department, you'd be hard-pressed to find less-expensive deals to San Francisco than from Site 59 (tel. 888/872-8356; www.site59.com). Offering in some cases over 70 percent savings, Site 59 has deals from virtually every major U.S. city to every other major U.S. travel destination. For a three-night trip to San Francisco from Cleveland, Ohio, Site 59 has an air inclusive deal costing approximately $389 per person with double occupancy travel. Accommodations are at the large Holiday Inn Golden Gateway located on Van Ness Avenue near the Pacific Heights neighborhood. Other downtown hotels near Union Square and the theater district are also available for slightly more money. This trip is good from October 26 to October 29, 2006. Look for similar prices from you're a departure city near you.

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