There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… miles of sunny empty beach is one.
When I took my first flight to Hong Kong 41 years ago, I was 21 years old and few on a cheap ticket that was called a student fare.
While in Hong Kong I met a travel agent. Charlie Kwok was his name and he had an office in the Miramar Hotel, Kowloon, not far from the Star Ferry. Charlie was the master of the low cost air fare and over the next half decade he amazed me with some of his great deals…. Especially for people under age 27.
Next decade in London, John Dragonas, a Greek travel agent continued showing the way to get deals. Back then they had VUSA (Visit USA) where prices were really low.
By then Merri and I had met and she became the maven of amazing air fare deals.
In short I have always enjoy incredibly low costs air fares. However Merri added another dimension because not all low cost air fares are great.
I recall one flight Honk Kong to Portland Oregon that Charlie Kwok arranged… really cheap, because it was a charter with two empty seats and otherwise full of doctors returning from Thailand. What Charlie forgot to mention was that the actual fare went Hong Kong, Seattle, Minneapolis, San Francisco and then I had a connection back to Portland… adding about 24 hours to the flight!
There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… such as the high Andean lakes.
John in London ignored the human part of travel to get the cost down once as well… a special VUSA fare. Merri and I wanted to fly London, Miami, Chicago, Portland, London.
To get the lowest fare, the actual flight turned out to be London -Denver, Miami- Denver, Chicago-Denver, Portland-Denver, London…or something like that… low fare but not a great deal.
There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… including wonderful colonial architecture.
It was about then that Merri took over finding our fares and she is good… Let me be humble and say she may be the best. Recently our son visited us from London, Charlotte, London for $17. That is correct, seventeen dollars.
There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… big cities and…
quaint villages like… Cotacachi shown here.
Recently one of our articles Ecuador Air Fare Update mentioned a $316 Miami Quito fare that Merri found and explained that readers should visit www.farecompare.com
So many readers asked for help on how to get this fare that I asked Merri to prepare an article on how she does it.
Here it is:
Buying Air Tickets
Gary often asks me to write about how I buy airline tickets and especially those to Ecuador…so this is the first in a series of hints including safety, price, ease…
Well, first of all…it’s a tricky business for sure. And to top it all off, it rarely is quick and easy. I start out with that in mind and sometimes days later I’m still at it! But there is a pattern that I always use that helps me sort from the beginning the good, bad and the ugly.
Malcolm Gladwell’s newest book, “The Outliers, The Story of Success” clearly states that most people are really good at something, really successful after about 10,000 hours. Well, for sure I have my 10,000 hours in on travel and tickets. For over 4 years, Gary and I crossed the Atlantic commuting from our home in London to our home in Naples, Fl every three weeks. It was always different, always a surprise and very often extremely challenging to buy tickets for Gary’s mom, our 5 children to all our destinations all over the world ON A REGULAR BASIS. We had homes in London, Gloustershire, Naples, North Carolina, the north coast of the Dominican Republic and…oh, it makes my head spin just thinking about it!
Needless to say, just by the sheer act of plotting, planning and finally buying, I’ve learned a lot…earned my 10,000 hours over the last 25 + years of international traveling.
However, all the rules have now changed…it’s often hard to know which way to jump…some people book for instance a conference and tell me to confirm quickly so they can buy “that cheap ticket” that is 6 months out! Whoa, I reply…that’s pretty risky…sometimes you can now buy a ticket at a week out for the same price or better than a month out.
Airlines are constantly shifting and changing and hedging their bets…so let’s look at a few things that we can count on.
#1. The internet makes it a lot easier than we’ve had it before. There is plenty of data and solid information that we can gather from 100s of sources instantly.
#2. The internet also makes it a lot harder than we’ve ever had it before BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY CHOICES! We have more information so it is essential that we use this information wisely.
Here are a few ground rules that I am currently using that are working now.
1. Don’t buy months out.
2. Sit down with those who are traveling and have a general chat on days/possibilities/flexibilities that might be possible. Right now, for instance, I am buying for Ecuador. Gary and I will get a month’s calendar, list our IDEAL flight days and then see which ways we COULD be flexible.
3. For the past year, it is cheaper (yes, cheaper) in most cases to fly from an outlying airport than direct. I know a lot of people for instance who drive from let’s say Birmingham, Ala to Atlanta and then fly direct from Atlanta to everywhere. Don’t do this. CHECK YOUR POSSIBILITIES.
For example, Gary and I fly mainly from NC to Portland, NC to Quito, NC to London and NC to Copenhagen. Well, we can fly from Charlotte, Greensboro (Triad) or from a nearby TRI Cities TN tiny airport. I check out each of these easily and quickly to get a handle on the whole picture. I don’t just assume that one is cheaper or more expensive, etc.
For instance for years, Charlotte has been very expensive to fly into our area than all the others, and suddenly last fall, it all shifted…now it’s the cheapest. Well, it could be the aggressiveness of USAir after its near collapse that has caused them to price the lowest since it is their hub and therefore Delta, etc. have followed suit.
When flying from Florida, I look at Tampa (our favorite), Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, etc. Takes only a second and sometimes you can really find an el cheapo winner!
4. Decide whether you are a frequent flyer who needs to accumulate miles or if you are just an occasional flyer. We for instance are frequent flyers and use Atlanta as our hub to go to our common destinations…Portland, London, Quito, Copenhagen are our patterns. Sometimes we fly from NC and sometimes from FL (according to the season)…but ALL of these flights are non-stop from Atlanta via Delta. So, instead of looking at all airlines/all flights, I really just watch Delta. We accumulate a lot of miles, use them for free tickets for our children and/or for upgrades. My advice for frequent flyers is pick an airline and stick with it! This gets the most bang for your buck…although sometimes I pay more for this, in the long run it works out well and suits us.
If you are lucky enough to be an infrequent flyer, then just look for the best deal!
5. Frequent flyers can gain a lot from loyalty…although not everything as recently we found out on an emergency trip to Portland! But usually, we can get what WE determine is important. (not that this might be your choice in the line of fire.)
What is important to us is not just the price but the Duration of the Flight…very, very important you might say! I’ll pay a bit more to fly a total of 7 hours instead of a lot less to fly the same route with a totally of 11 hours or maybe 23 hours!
Another thing that is important to us is that we can upgrade. We have logged so many miles and usually have to get off an airplane and go straight to work that over the years we have decided that if we can go first or business class (more or that later) we should. We feel better if we are not cramped in and let’s face it (although we don’t drink alcohol and don’t eat on planes) there are some good perks. Very important to us is that there is simply more oxygen up front than there is in the back…so we arrive in better shape than if we were tucked in on the last row.
Other things important to us is that we have a place where we can be quiet and not listen to a dozen cell phone conversations and 7 different TV stations. We aren’t used to this type of confusion and noise and so we want to have the use of special rooms that airlines provide (Delta’s Crown Rooms) that allow quiet areas. Often we travel with our service dog, and she too is allowed in these rooms. We just rest and wait there. IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Merri even makes sure that we have seats so we see the sunset at night and sunrise in the morning.
But on the other hand, we don’t want to pay for this privilege which can cost big change.
How do we achieve this? Well, each airline has its own gimmicks, but Delta allows a cardholder of AMEX Sky Miles Reserve (which can cost anywhere from $295 up) to have free access with his/her companions to all Sky Mile Crown rooms at no cost. You can now have a simple Gold AMEX Sky Miles card (sometimes without a fee) that allows more or less the same privileges. We find excellent light food (that is fresh) and peace and quiet there. We also find their quiet desk of agents that will do just about anything to make life pleasant (changing flights/redoing tickets/finding lost luggage, etc.). They will even wake you if you fall asleep in your comfy chair. That same card allows us to have a free Concierge booking service (that means they will REALLY try everything to help you) as well as double miles for most of our travel…and (and this is a big one) the right to Pay with Miles.
And what is Pay with Miles? Well, let’s discuss that under Award Ticketing later in this series.
Join an upcoming Ecuador seminar or North Carolina Super Spanish course.
There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… like the wonderful people. This is a dancer entertaining delegates at one of our recent Ecuador tours.
Learn About Ecuador & Speak Spanish in Three Days
Learn Spanish in 3 Days – Cuenca Course – April 1-2-3, 2016Learn how to speak Spanish in just three days in Cuenca, Ecuador.
Super Thinking tactics help us absorb… retain and recall information better and faster. We prove this in our Super Thinking + Spanish course which teaches how to communicate in Spanish in just three days.
Learn Spanish in Cuenca, Ecuador, April 1-2-3, 2016.
Rick Brown teaches 3 Day Spanish in Cuenca Ecuador.
Cuenca is Ecuador’s most popular city, a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site because of its many beautiful colonial buildings. Cuenca has wonderful architecture, tourist attractions, restaurants, hotels and night activity.
Ecuador Living Club members can enjoy discounts at Cuenca hotels as well.
This course really works!
An M.D. who attended wrote: We want to thank you plus all the others for making the class such a fun and rewarding experience. I took Spanish as an undergraduate and lasted two days before dropping the class due to my own anxieties. Over the years I have tried to learn French, Italian, and Spanish yet again using a variety of methods such as Rosetta Stone, Berlitz etc. and was never successful. I finally feel like I can be successful at learning to converse at Spanish–in fact already feel successful! Thanks so much for teaching an old dog some new tricks. We’re both looking forward to continuing the learning process, having fun doing so, and taking more classes.
See a ten minute video of Gary Scott and Pronunciation coach Don Childs showing how to get started creating Spanish sentences right now.
Unlock the power of your untapped knowledge.
Super Thinking + Spanish course goes beyond just learning to speak Spanish.
There are numerous little known, but scientifically proven ways to enhance the speed, accuracy and efficiency of your decision making process for greater wealth, health and happiness. In just three days you can gain almost amazing learning skills. Plus you become skilled in Spanish as a bonus.
In just three days? Sound too good to be true?
This is not a gimmick nor a trick. At least three best selling books, Superlearning, the Mozart Effect and Superlearning 2000 have revealed insights about how we can learn and think more powerfully based on systems drawn from the Bulgarian, Dr. Georgi Lozanov. In 1980 Superlearning sold over two million copies and showed how the Lozanov learning system blended long-tested sciences of yoga with contemporary physiology and psychology so people could learn faster and better.
The 3 Day Spanish system includes some of Dr. Lozanov’s original work that uses music to integrate brain waves so the process of absorbing, processing and recalling information is vastly accelerated. The course integrates the use of music with 17 lessons that teach you over 4,000 Spanish words.
Fluency in a language is considered to come when you know 1,200 words. To prove that it is possible to gain this and much more, let me share just one of the 17 lessons.
Here are the thousands of Spanish words lesson #1: All words in Spanish and English that end in ION are almost identical, just pronounced differently. For example action is accion, education educacion, manipulation, manipulacion, etc.
Now you already literally know hundreds of Spanish nouns. This is just one of seventeen Spanish lessons you gain. The next lesson teaches you how to pronounce each of these nouns. Then you learn in a third lesson almost as many verbs, almost as quickly.
You also learn how to avoid conjugating verbs by sticking with the infinitive (far easier than it sounds). This simple lesson leaves you sounding like a Spanish professor.
There are many other lessons. For example lesson five shows how to sound infinitely polite and yet get almost anything you want in Spanish. Lesson six gives you the valuable connectors and the seventh lesson triples your Spanish capacity with yesterday, now and tomorrow.
By the end of the three day course you will feel quite comfortable speaking Spanish without stress!
A delegate who learned Super Spanish outlined how this course can help you. After three days, I can speak Spanish in complete sentences. In simple conversations, such as buying groceries or ordering a meal, I can make myself understood. I think that’s incredible! Although I am far from the competence level of a native speaker, I feel I’ve taken a giant step forward in learning Spanish so that I can experience the people and culture of Ecuador. The foregoing benefits would have more than justified the time and money I invested in Super Thinking Super Spanish. And learning Spanish was not the most important benefit I got from the course. In recent years, I’ve rarely relaxed (No wonder I have had high blood pressure!) . In class, the past three days, I’ve been introduced to the calming effects of Baroque music. What a blessing! I’m inclined to make this a daily part of my life. Rob Christi
The Super Spanish helps you start speaking and understanding Spanish right away. This can help you speak Spanish faster and make your traditional Spanish course easier and more effective.
A Livescience.com article helps explain why this course works and how delegates are creating Spanish sentences by the first lunch break and can communicate well in Spanish after just three days. This article by Jeremy Hsu, LiveScience Senior Writer, is entitled “CIA Seeks Anyone, Anyone Who Can Speak 2 Languages”.
Four important points in the article are shown in excerpts below with my comments to show what has been wrong with traditional Spanish courses and why the Super Thinking tactic is perfect for this program.
This three day course gets you speaking and thinking Spanish all the time so you can use and/or think Spanish every day… and communicating even from the beginning. In this way the education grows even when Spanish is not being spoken.
The Super Thinking course first integrates the brain. Students learn better with relaxed concentration. Then the course teaches them 17 simple lessons so they know 4005 words in Spanish and can use them to create sentences. In this way, you can communicate in just three days.
Travel, accommodations and food are not included.
Here are what delegates wrote about a Super Thinking + Spanish seminar.
“Hi Gary & Merri, You two are the BEST!!! Your Seminar was fantastic! I am so excited. I had procrastinated fulfilling my continuing education for my Broker’s License and then just before my surgeries, I realized by expiration date isn’t Nov. 12th – it is Sept 12th. Well, as you can see prior to taking your course I had only completed 3 units of the required 45 units. I thought I would take your course and then complete my remaining 42 units over the next 2 weeks. However, I took one class exam on Saturday night, August 27th. I didn’t even take the cellophane off the required Course manuals until after I saw the two of you today less than 5 hours ago! I used your techniques and completed 39 units of continuing education today. I have now completed all 45 units. All of my test scores were in the 90.6-96% range. My course exam information is listed below. I just wanted to let you know how valuable your course was to me. Thanks again!” Suzy Kurinsky
Another wrote: Thanks for the Spanish course. This technique is truly a breakthrough in learning. I believe I learned more Spanish in four days than I learned in four weeks in a previously attended Costa Rica language school. The Costa Rica school taught a very limited number of memorized words and phrases. Ted.
Another delegate at a Super thinking plus Spanish seminar wrote: The Super Thinking approach exposed us to a broad variety of works and the technique needed to expand the language. Again, Thanks for the experience.
One attendee wrote: I just wanted to say thank you so much for everything during the seminar. You guys are indeed a shining example of having a business that truly serves others. And thanks for the extra time spent and good things taught to me personally. I have begun to implement them already and will continue to apply them. And you might be interested that waiting for my flight home I ended up sitting next to a woman from Quito and could understand some of what she said in a cell phone conversation. We talked a little and she said that I should visit Ecuador! Thank you again for your real graciousness and acceptance! I will also write to Merri and thank her as well. And I wish that I could do something for you two!
Another wrote: Thank you! We always look forward to spending time and learning about so many fascinating things. Like Minded people and Vivaldi! What could be better?
Another sent this note: Thank you for the wonderful workshop on Super Learning + Spanish! I really enjoyed the workshop.
Since I returned home, I have purchased some of the CDs of Baroque music and thought about which specific pieces will work best in different parts of my classes. I am also reading Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra. I found your discussion of this book to be very helpful in showing how to balance one’s life. I have adjusted my daily schedule, and I can already notice a difference in my productivity.
Thank you for sending the file of the 4005 Spanish words. This will be very helpful in my daily review of Spanish.
Another emailed this: Every day I’m becoming more proficient in Spanish. As I get ready to do something, I think about how I would say it in Spanish. Thank you again for a Super Workshop! With love and blessings,
Another: It certainly was an interesting and intriguing four days for me. I enjoyed the Spanish but even more so, all the tentacles that extended during those four days that went into so many different directions.
I grew up in a very SQUARE box with loving and intelligent parents but my world remained within this box, unable to see beyond those walls, as I was never encouraged to “think outside the box”.. Mike has been opening doors and leading me outside this box but because of my upbringing I have not completely embraced or understood what was beyond those doors he opened for me. As I have gotten older I have become more open to the world outside those doors yet those old tapes continue to play and I have not been able to completely release myself and experience all that can be.
Another shared this: Listening to the two of you during our time together has suddenly got me to thinking, and although some of the ideas still seem foreign to me, I am at a point in my life now where I can say, “anything is possible” and I am now willing to embrace and allow myself to experience the world of possibility and let it take me in directions I may have in the past resisted. I really don’t know where all this is going to lead me but I am now willing to explore, develop and grow.
I found all the information you offered on healing, realigning the body, nutrition, etc. so fascinating, have you ever thought about doing a course on just that? With the aging population and the health care issues I think it would be not only an interesting course but one that would be very beneficial to so many. I, personally, would love to learn more about what you talked about and plan on purchasing the book, “Body Renewal, the Lost Art of Self Healing” for my Kindle.
Thank you again for a wonderful four days!!
Another: We had fun at Disney World on Monday and sat beside several Personnes Espaniol. We could understand them however I couldn’t make sentences quickly, but could say one or two word phrases that were understood. We arrived home at 3am yesterday – the airlines were very late in Denver due to a crew incident.
I found myself making up sentences all day yesterday as I was running errands. John knows more vocabulary than I at this point as he has studied Spanish previously. Today I will begin to review the lessons and construct sentences to send to you and the group – as you suggested below. Es en BUENO sugestion!!! I also received the email Merri sent with the 4005 words and started to scroll through those yesterday.
Another: Thank YOU for everything you have done to create and bring this wonderful experience to all of us. It takes a well sychronized team of people to put on an effective, change producing seminar! I have given many seminars and enjoyed the experience immensely. The outcome is even better! Estoy une infantil de Super Thinking and Spanish, y es possible aprender en tiempo.
John and I both thank all of you for the wonderful experience – we are working now to clear up things so we can leave for the Galapagos and Ecuador November 25th – December 20th. Nosotros tiene muchos appreciacion! Gracias y Abrazos,
Another: Muchas gracias para la informacion! I had a wonderful time at the Super Learning + Spanish weekend!… excelente!
I was impressed with your depth of knowledge on numerous subjects and your ability to speak about them with exceptional recall. Con mucho apriciar, P.S. Yo estoy enteresado en Espanol #2.
One delegate even explained how after our course they ended up as the accidental translator: Gary, I have sent a couple of messages, and a story of Mike being able to translate yesterday for a Spanish person who couldn’t understand what a man was trying to tell him!
We loved the seminar, and are excited to put the super learning to practice, and especially the great company of like-minded people (especially G & M!) Muchas Gracias! Tiene an excellante dias.
One delegate communicated entirely in Spanish…. after just our Super Thinking + Spanish seminar: Buenas dias nuestra maestra perfectamente, Merri! Muchas gracias por la lista espanol.
Claro, David y yo aprendemous mucho espanol el fine de semana pasada. Gary y usted nos hacen espanol muy facil aprender. Es importante continuar a practicar espanol cada dia. Gracias tambien! Buenas suerte…hasta la vista! Con mucho amor,
Comments from another delegate: I wanted you to know that the Spanish course has proven incredibly helpful. Dealing with internet service providers and shopping for appliances, etc., normally would have required me hiring a translator to follow me around. While it may not be pretty or 100% grammatically correct, I am understood. Thank you! Saludos!
Delegates during a relaxation session.
Another a dentist said: I was so delighted with my experience at the Spanish training. I felt more confident of ability to pronounce Spanish than I ever was of French or German. Funny… I did not think I remembered any French or German but when I cannot remember the Spanish words the German and French popped up. Practicing my pronunciation made my trip home go faster. I never enjoyed pronouncing either of the other two, but this was fun. It is hard to fall asleep at the wheel when you are moving your mouth to speak Spanish. It does work your mouth in a different way. I realized that you have to say each syllable slowly and correctly(until you get it perfectly) and when you do it is impressive.
It was amazing to see us all writing such advanced sentences after a few days and so much more enjoyable than having to go through the alphabet to build the words to build the sentences.
Rick Brown has created his own programs attending a one year Super Spanish training program from Merri and me. He has now been teaching this course for five years. He has moved to Cuenca Ecuador and teaches this course once or twice a year.
The Course will be conducted at the beautful American run B & B in Cuenca.
Cuenca Inn Courtyard. Click to enlarge.
The Cuenca Inn B&B is located just outside the city center and is in a large home well back from the road, so you have maximum peace and quiet.
View from near Cuenca Inn B&B. There are plenty of very inexpensive taxis into the center of town.
It has large luxury guest rooms, two with bathroom en suite and TVs. There is a wonderful large central covered courtyard with TV, a central fire pit and lots of plants.
TV room for guests.
A guest living room with TV and big comfortable sofas adjoin the courtyard.
There is also a small bar area just off the courtyard that we all enjoyed. The Inn is very well appointed and the ambiance is warm and conducive to the comforts of a home away from home. Internet/WIFI is good and Magic Jack is available to guests for long distance calling, along with pyre-loaded local cell phones.
Delegates can sit round the fire pit enjoying conversation.
The Inn’s manager Bill Dixon attended one of Rick’s first Super Thinking / Super Spanish courses prior to moving to Cuenca. He believes this was a really good investment on his part as he acquired the language basics he needed, and it gave him the confidence to make the change in his location and his life.
Cuenca Inn is offering a 20% discount on room rates and a hearty and warm welcome to Cuenca to course members . You can make reservations or get further details from Bill Dixon at firstname.lastname@example.org.