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Simmering Hope

Hope is the expectation that something outside of ourselves, something or someone external, is going to come to our rescue and we will live happily ever after. – Dr. Robert Anthony

Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Nov 12, 2007

Second home in the sun

Courtesy of Don Ediger who wrote for International Living, we got some general information on beach properties that could be bought for a good price in various countries.

So, if you want a place in the sun, but don’t want to spend more than $100,000, there are 10 destinations you need to consider:

Costa Rica: It’s a favorite retreat for North Americans who like the country’s cool mountains or beautiful, wide beaches. Costa Rica has superb sport fishing, birdwatching, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, surfing, and horseback riding. Property prices are rising–but not so fast that you can’t still find bargains.

The Dominican Republic: It’s one of the least expensive countries in the Western Hemisphere. Ocean-view condos are on the market for just over $100,000. For a little more than half that amount you can find an apartment in the capital Santo Domingo, known for its old world charm.

Belize: This English-speaking Caribbean country offers big tax incentives to foreigners who live part- or full-time in the country. While Ambergris Caye and several other coastal areas have become expensive, there are still real estate bargains galore, particularly in the exotic rainforests only a few miles from the ocean.

Mexico: The country has been a favorite of second-home owners for many years, but prices in Mexico can vary just as much as the climate. Today’s savvy property shoppers are attracted by low prices around Yucatán’s Gulf Coast and by the big advantages of the Lake Chapala area–golf, tennis, hiking, and horseback riding, as well as theater, concerts, and garden clubs.

The Bahamas: Sports, nature, and an elegant lifestyle continue to lure people to these islands just off the Florida coast. Though the Bahamas have a reputation for pricey real estate, it’s not difficult to find condos for $100,000 and three-bedroom houses for around $200,000.

Guadeloupe and Martinique: The French West Indies combine Caribbean culture with a Riviera lifestyle. That means dining and dancing as well as opportunities to enjoy nature, whether it’s a hike around a volcano or a dip in ocean waters that Jacques Cousteau described as among the best in the world.

Nicaragua: Despite the potentially worrisome outcome of recent elections, the country remains a haven for second-home owners. Bargains are the big reason. Even at property developments with top-notch golf courses, you can get a condo near the ocean for less than $100,000.

Nov 3, 2007

How to make an exotic trip hassle free

 

Typically when you are to travel you have two options: to book an organized tour or to hop on the plane and go.

The organized tour might be the most convenient having the hotels, meals, activity all booked in advance. You go to see or do what you like, but at the same time what you don’t like because the organized tour is designed to accommodate a common denominator.

Hopping on a plane and blindly going somewhere could be terrifying and time consuming when it comes to finding accommodations at your destinations. Then you spend time checking local travel agencies to see who has the best local tour at the best prices.

To make an exotic trip less stressful there is another solution: get in contact with local travel agents. First gather your information on the place you want to go.

Check the sites of Lonely Planet or TripAdvisor, along with their forums, to start with.

Once you have an itinerary in mind and the clear budget you are willing to allocate for this exotic trip, try to find a good, reliable local travel agent.

When you are pleased with your choice, gave the full information to your chosen travel agent and book your flight.

 To find the cheapest flights, check out kayak  which checks most airlines against each other and gives you the cheapest options. You can even set an alert to warn you if a cheap flight is advertised at the last minute.

If the flight is long, involving many hours and a few stops, maybe it’s a good idea to schedule a day or two to spend somewhere in the middle of the trip, Europe for example.

One important thing to remember is that is important to trust and listen your chosen travel agent, rather than second-guessing him. Often what you see in brochures or online bears little resemblance to what you find when you finally arrive at your destination, so having someone who has actually been there would be a valuable asset.

Your on-line agent will arrange all local transportation, including personal pick-up and drop-off at each airports and might provide you with a local 24-hour phone number in case you might experience difficulties.

 

One last tip: Cell Phones

You phone with a current Canadian provider’s card would be very expensive.

Take a GMS cell phone  that takes a SIM card. Make sure that the phone is ‘open’, meaning that you can use any service with it.

Resist buying the SIM card before you travel.

You can get one at the airport when you arrive. I will cost you usually less than $20 and it will come bundled with several hours of connect time.

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