What We're Reading: Top Budget Travel Destinations, Packing Tips, Gift Guides, More

Welcome to What We're Reading, our new weekly look at the most insightful, useful, and entertaining travel-related stories from across the information superhighway. 

Unless you work for a travel magazine or you're independently wealthy (or both—in which case, congrats), you probably don't have time to keep up with every travel publication out there. Fortunately, we do. You might even call it a job requirement. (No one said it was a tough job ... ) If it's being written, talked, or tweeted about in the travel space, you can bet we're paying attention. And starting this week, we'll be putting that focus to good use by sharing our favorite stories and discussions with you.

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So without further ado, let's have a look at the stories that caught our eye this week:

If You Want to ... Travel Cheap

The December/January issue of Budget Travel reveals the magazine's picks for the top 10 budget travel destinations for 2012, including Athens (a struggling economy translates into travel savings), the Azores (hotel rates have been sliding since 2010), Belize (the exchange rate is nearly two to one), and Poland (five-star hotels are already among the cheapest in the world). Read the article online for the full list and a nice companion slideshow of the destinations. 

If You Want to ... Fit More Into Your Luggage

The folks at Frommer's seem to have packing tips on their mind, having featured not one but two useful articles about packing—one for beach vacations and another for weekend getaways.

If You Want to ... Not Kill Your Travel Companion

Ed Hewitt over at Independent Traveler, one of SmarterTravel's sister sites, suggests 10 ways to be a less annoying travel companion. They're all good tips, and useful, too: Nothing ruins a vacation faster than fighting with your friend or partner. (Actually, scratch that: This is probably a lot worse!)

If You Want to ... Shop for the Jet-Setter in Your Life

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are just memories now, but if you still have a few more people to cross off your shopping list—and if those people are travelers—you'll find some good ideas in these gift guides from Frommer's and Family Vacation Critic (the latter site is another of SmarterTravel's sister publications). And don't forget to check our gift guide, too—featuring both "splurge" and "steal" options for each gift idea, we think it's our best yet.

That's it for this week. Check back next time for another look at the best articles from around the Web. And in the meantime, let us know in the comments field below if you find a story you think we should be telling people about.

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