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Ecuador is the next Paris… at least for me.

I spent a semester in Paris in college and then returned to live there for a year in 2003. I fell in love with the city. And I made a promise to myself that I’d visit every year. I’ve kept that promise, too. I even got married there in 2007.

But now I find Ecuador quickly rising to join Paris at the top of my list of favorite places. I like it so much, in fact, that my husband and I are looking for property there — either in Quito or on the coast.

It seems weird to talk about buying property in a foreign country when so many of us are trying to make do with less here in the U.S. But I’d argue that now more than ever, it’s important to expand our horizons.

The editor of Budget Travel Magazine, Nina Willdorf, shares this same sentiment in this month’s issue, saying: “… now more than ever, taking an adventure in search of the extraordinary seems crucial. Seeing places that have weathered storms of their own, like the Forbidden City in Beijing… or Turkey’s Cappadocia… puts our challenges in perspective.”

John Farey, the President and CEO of the National Geographic Society, offers a similar opinion. He writes…

“These are interesting times. The headlines have us battening down the hatches… hoping this storm passes before too long. People are looking inward, reevaluating their choices, defining what is important to them. Meaningful travel, I’d argue, is one of those things that shouldn’t be sacrificed. No matter what stage you are at in life… nourishing your mind is as important as ever. And a quality travel experience is one of the most rewarding ways to do it.”

It’s with this in mind that I’d like to challenge you to a little game of Deal or No Deal today. Here’s how it works…

With airline ticket prices dropping and hotels pulling out all the stops to attract customers, it’s hard not to give in to the allure of the well-priced tourist-trap.

But my challenge to you is to find better destinations — those with the promise of a more fulfilling travel experience — for a comparable price. Here are two examples…

EXAMPLE #1: Deal or No Deal?

A trip to Orlando with tickets to Disney’s Epcot Center for $1,766. (For that price, you can fly to Orlando, stay six nights at the Walt Disney Dolphin Resort, and spend five days in Epcot Center.)

Or, you could actually fly to Morocco, spend six nights at the beachfront Movenpick Hotel overlooking the Bay of Tangier and the Strait of Gibraltar (with breakfast) for $1,599. (Source: www.fittours.com)

EXAMPLE #2: Deal or No Deal?

A trip to Las Vegas with entertainment included for $1,444. (For that price, you can fly from the East Coast to Vegas and stay five nights at the luxurious Venetian Hotel and Casino. Included are a gondola ride and tickets to see the Blue Man Group.)

Or, spend just $250 more and fly American Airlines straight to Venice, travel from Venice to Florence and then to Rome, stay nine nights in total (with breakfast) for $1,699. (Source: www.fittours.com)

You see what I’m getting at here…

— Lori

Lori Allen
Director, Great Escape Publishing

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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