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A quick trip to the continent in a discount hotel is just what you need to buy Christmas presents with a difference.

If you’re thinking that a pre-Christmas break would set you up for the festive madness that’s on the horizon, why not book a cheap flight to Rome or Barcelona, and a cheap hotel too? If you book and travel before the 31st of December 2010, Octopus Travel (OctopusTravel.com) is offering a 25% discount on hotels in these fabulous destinations and on hotels in Paris, Copenhagen, Brussels and Berlin too.

The travel savvy will know how difficult it is to get a reasonably priced hotel in Rome that’s not out in the sticks. Well, how about a double room with breakfast included for just £58.16 including taxes and fees, just a mile from the city centre? That’s what you get at the Hotel Executive (3 Via Aniene, Rome, 00198), which enjoys a central location in the eternal city, just a short walk from the Via Veneto, the famous street for cafés, restaurants, shops and style.

So book your hotel, head for the airport and let the fun begin. What better place to enjoy the Christmas lights and magical decorations than Italy's capital city?

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