Where, oh where are the vacation bargains?

<p>My husband & I have decided to take a big vacation this year. No more tuition payments-woohoo! We have been talking about Ireland but with the value of the dollar we weren't sure if this trip made sense this year, although Ireland is having big time financial difficulties...so maybe there would be deals? Since we aren't set on any particular place, we were wondering if there was an interesting land that might be a better bargain. We are open to almost anywhere in Europe or South America. Any suggestions? We mainly like to drive around and see the place, eat at little cafes and see some attractions.</p>

<p>I loved Spain…even though I went on a tour. I want to go back with my dh and just bop around. There are some deals to be had but you will be in competition with the British. </p>

<p>You might also consider a cruise. Prices are reasonable right now with the time of year + there are fewer people traveling. Try Vacations to Go.com or On-line Vacation Center. I have purchased trips from both of them; they are very good. The 90-Day ticker on VTG.com is great…pick a place and they’ll find you a short-notice deal.</p>

<p>We have done cruises but this year we want to stay on land. I should have also mentioned that we are thinking of traveling in the fall. We went to Barcelona and Madrid about 9 years ago. It was lovely.</p>

<p>I’d suggest picking a few possible destinations and dates and finding out the going prices for each destination. That way when you find a deal, you will be able to purchase it quickly since the deals I’ve been seeing in this past year have only been available for short periods of time.</p>

<p>How adventurous are you? Would you consider Slovenia and/or Croatia? This part of the world’s so gorgeous, it has gone on my ‘bucket list’. I’ve done a bit of research and it seems like self-drive isn’t a problem…and the countries are small enough that you could see as much as you want without having to constantly change hotels.</p>


<p>The only expensive part will be the flight down. Once you’re there, it’s a very affordable vacation, especially if you like to eat out: restaurants are plentiful and CHEAP. The Argentinians eat a lot of meat (best steaks on earth) and have excellent Italian food. Dinner for two at a nice restaurant with a bottle of good wine will set you back maybe $20. Great shopping too - wonderful leather products. I’d recommend Buenos Aires (fascinating city), the wine region of Mendoza, the amazing waterfalls at Iguazu and, weather permitting, Tierra del Fuego. </p>

<p>Two things to keep in mind about Argentina - southern hemisphere so the seasons are opposite of ours: it’s now their summer. If you go in our spring, it’ll be their fall - very good time to go. Another thing to keep in mind: there is less English in Argentina than you’d think, so do brush up on your Spanish & bring along a phrase book/dictionary.</p>

<p>You may want to keep an eye this web site. I like it because it lists current “deals”.</p>

<p>[Deals</a> and Discounts on Hotels, Airfare, Vacation Packages, and Cruises at Frommer’s](<a href=“http://www.frommers.com/deals/]Deals”>Vacation Deals | Frommer's)</p>

<p>I like Arthur Frommer’s [Budget</a> Travel](<a href=“http://www.budgettravel.com/bt-dynsrch/realdeals/realdeals.html]Budget”>http://www.budgettravel.com/bt-dynsrch/realdeals/realdeals.html), which overlaps the regular Frommer’s website but also tends to be more budget-minded. They update the “Real Deals” feature every month and the magazine also features deals on hotels & out-of-the-way bargain places.</p>

<p>I thought the dollar was better right now than it was a year or so ago?</p>

<p>Since Ireland’s having financial woes it might be a good time to go - more competetive pricing for the tourist and tourist dollars for them. Everyone I’ve talked to who’s been to Ireland has liked it. I haven’t been but would like to go someday. A couple of years ago we did a family trip to Scotland, Wales, Northern England and that was nice.</p>

<p>Budget Travel has a package deal to [url=&lt;a href=“http://www.budgettravel.com/bt-dyn/content/article/2010/12/23/AR2010122302206.html]Ireland[/url”&gt;http://www.budgettravel.com/bt-dyn/content/article/2010/12/23/AR2010122302206.html]Ireland[/url</a>] right now.</p>

<p>Katliamom- The only country we have been to in South America was Argentina! My dd did study abroad there. Lovely wonderful country. I always tell people," great food, great wine and handsome men- what more can you want!" We stayed in Buenos Aires and flew out to Iguazu. We did talk about going back but there are so many places that I haven’t been to.
Ummm- Argentine food…</p>

<p>That’s funny, Onward, we went to Argentina also because our daughter did a semester abroad there, while in high school. </p>

<p>So my next recommendation is on top of my ‘bucket list’ - Turkey. Istanbul is amazing, cosmopolitan, exotic… then the wonders of Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Bosrum…</p>

<p>^I have heard wonderful things about Turkey from the most seasoned travelers. It sounds like a fun trip!</p>

<p>We are taking a big cruise from Rome to Greece to Alexandria to Turkey to Rome this summer. Turkey sounds so fascinating, esp. all the excavations they are doing…apparently everybody from the Greeks on down visited!</p>

<p>How about Berlin?</p>

<p>We rented a place through [Barcelona</a> Apartment | Paris Holiday Apartment | Madrid Apartment | Lisbon Apartments | Valencia Apartments | Berlin Apartments | Florence Apartments | London Apartments | Rome Apartments | Prague Apartments](<a href=“http://www.waytostay.com%5DBarcelona”>http://www.waytostay.com).</p>

<p>Our expenses - subway, museum fees, restaurants - were all quite reasonable, I thought.</p>

<p>Congrats, Onward! H and I just wrote our last tuition check, too! To celebrate the momentous occasion, we’re doing a self-drive tour of Iceland’s Ring Road. We figure we’d better take our outdoorsy Bucket List trips before we’re too old.</p>

<p>[Iceland’s</a> Ring Road - The Ultimate Road Trip - NYTimes.com](<a href=“http://travel.nytimes.com/2006/06/18/travel/18ring.html]Iceland’s”>Iceland’s Ring Road: The Ultimate Road Trip - The New York Times)</p>

<p>I know an Iceland trip is not for everyone, but the country is more affordable now than it’s been in years. The Icelandic currency still hasn’t recovered from its crash in 2008.</p>

<p>Mapesy, my sil went to Iceland years ago and loved it. But after reading the article, you better plan on drinking your PBR at home! These ideas are great. Slovenia and Croatia are certainly on my list. Turkey is up there too. I hadn’t thought about Berlin, so thanks for that idea. Its funny, Argentina fits the bill except for the fact that we have been there and would like to go some where new. While the airfare was pricey and the trip was long, the country itself was inexpensive (except for intra-country flights). Keep the ideas coming, it is fun to dream of these places and who knows someone else may find a place to go.</p>

<p>DH & I spent a week in Istanbul and loved it! A Turkish friend cautioned us about trying to see Istanbul & Cappadocia & Ephesus in a week - too much travel time between sights/sites. So we chose to concentrate & spend the full week in Istanbul. Did not regret one minute. </p>

<p>There is SO much to see & do in Istanbul that it took a week: Hagia Sofia & Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar (I could have spent days getting lost in that maze!), a ferry cruise down the Bosphorus to the Black Sea, visiting the Fortress of Europe, Topkapi & Dolmabace Palaces, the Egyptian spice market, the Basilica cistern. One day, we said “Let’s have lunch in Asia!” and we took the public ferry (~$1.50) across the Bosphorus from Europe to Asia for a salad & kebab. The Archeology Museum has exhibits of Anatolian civilizations 10,000 years (!!!) old, as well as the 9 levels of the city of Troy (Trojan war = level 7). It was a fascinating place full of ancient history, and I would go back in a heartbeat. There is something haunting about hearing a pre-dawn call to prayer from the mosques. But next time, I plan to visit the 7 cities of the Revelation Trail & stay in a cave hotel in Cappadocia.</p>

<p>Oh, and did I mention that it was affordable? The most expensive thing was our airfare to Istanbul, which we purchased with frequent flier miles. The next most expensive thing(s) were the rugs that we purchased in the Grand Bazaar. Hotel & meals were nominal, but then, we do not stay at luxury hotels. </p>

<p>If you are interested in visiting Turkey, check out Tom Brosnahan’s website [Turkey</a> Travel Planner](<a href=“http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/]Turkey”>http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/). It is a wealth of information.</p>

<p>We took a wonderful recent trip with the kids to Mexico City, with side trips to Puebla and Teotihuacan. It’s nearby, culturally fascinating, very affordable, and packed with things to do. The food was fabulous, and unlike what’s served in US Mexican restaurants. The drug violence in Mexico is mostly in the border region–the crime rate in Mexico City is no worse than in most US cities, though we took normal urban precautions.</p>

<p>I have never done a home exchange, but many are doing it worldwide and saving a ton of money in the process:</p>

<p>[url=&lt;a href=“Home exchange - HomeExchange”&gt;Home exchange - HomeExchange]HomeExchange.com[/url</a>]</p>

<p>Watch the movie The Holiday with Jude Law, Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet to see the idea in action.</p>