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 From Ecuadorians – FREE Night in the Amazon
Special Two for One Price
We had a huge number of people requesting that we put the same promotion that we had for our previous seminars. So we are going to do that for all our Delegates. For a Limited time only we are going to offer a “Bring One Person for FREE” on our Platinum and Gold Packages.
This means that if you signup for our Platinum of Gold Packages you can bring 1 person with you at no extra cost. So you can enjoy the beauty of Ecuador and save a lot of money.
Plus… Those who enroll in the June 2014 “Ecuador Get Together” get a Free night’s stay at the Amazon Lodge.
There are three Options for the June 23 2014 “Ecuador Get Together”.
#1: Medical Tour.
#2: Three Day Ecuador Get Together in Quito.
#3: Tours to the coast and Cuenca.
Bahia on the coastal tour
Quito Hospital (click on images to enlarge)
Option #1: Medical Tour – June 23-24, 2014
Medical Tour Day One – June 23, 2014
Dr. Mauricio Tinajero is one of the leading Dentists in Ecuador. Recommended by the American Embassy in Ecuador who also has a prestigious practice in Quito, is our choice for the Medical Seminar. We will share a list of the procedures that he performs so you know in advance how much money you will be saving by coming to our seminar.
Dr. Gabela is a lead Doctor in Quito and also the Dean at Universidad San Francisco de Quito. He studied and practiced in the United Estates and after many years and due to the high technology now available in Ecuador, he decided to come to the country and established a successful career here.
Dr. Pablo Larco is an extraordinary Optometrist. His office and team are among the best in Ecuador. His equipment for eye surgery is at the top and his expertise in the field make us confidant, that is why we chose him for our Medical Tour. He also will share a list of the procedures that he preforms so you can make the math and see the huge difference in prices, without compromising the quality.
Fybeca is the biggest pharmacy chain in Ecuador. We will be going there to buy medicine and you will see the big price difference and the money that you can safe. We will be requesting that you send us your prescriptions ahead of time so we get a quote on the medicines that you need and have them ready for when you get here.
Those who do not take the medical tour can visit Huasquilla Lodge in the Amazon June 23 and 24 and spend the night free. (Medical tour delegates can visit after the seminar and also enjoy a free nights stay.
FREE overnight stay. No charge for attendees at the “Ecuador Get Together”.
The owners at Huasquilla in the Amazon, want you to see the place, get an idea of the amazing Lodge and be a part of their project. The only way to really be involved is if you can be there.
So they are inviting you to their beautiful place in the Amazon when you sign up for our seminar. Come to Ecuador and get to see one of the most beautiful places that the country has to offer. A very unique and wonderful experience.
Option #2: “Ecuador Get Together” – June 25-26-27, 2014
Day One: June 25, 2014
8:00 – 8:30 Introduction, Welcome To Ecuador by Roberto Ribadeneira
8:30 – 9:15 Mauricio Tinajero Dentist
09:15 – 10:00 Dr. Larco Optometrist
10:00 – 10:45 Dr. Gabela General Doctor
10:45 – 11:30 Coffee Break Honey and Chocolate
11:30 – 12:15 Insurance, Vladimir Gabela, quotes and Q&A
12:15 – 13:00 IESS (Ecuador Social Security), public insurance in Ecuador and retirement
13:00 – 15:00 Lunch
15:00 – 16:00 IRS, accounting and Taxes
16:00 – 17:00 Emigration Lawyer – Jeannine Lopez
17:00 – 18:00 Edward Berr Investing
Day Two: June 26, 2014
8:00 – 8:30 Introduction: Real Estate walk through to schedule for Real Estate tours in Manta and Cuenca
8:30 – 9:15 Expat, why is he living in Ecuador? How to get around?
09:15 – 10:00 Cost of Living in Ecuador, renting, food, health care, amenities, etc.
10:00 – 10:45 Real Estate Manabi Projects
10:45 – 11:30 Coffee Break Ecuador Products for Sale, Alberto Verdesoto
11:30 – 12:15 Edgar Berrezueta Real Estate Quito
12:15 – 13:00 Real Estate Esmeraldas Armijos
13:00 – 15:00 Lunch
15:00 – 16:00 Amazonas Lodge Bastienne Paliz
16:00 – 17:00 Real Estate Andres Cordova Project
17:00 – 17:30 Economics, Ecuador and the Future
Day Three: June 27, 2014
8:00 – 09:00 Import – Export Business Opportunity
09:00 – 10:30 Moving to Ecuador, all you need to know about bringing your belongings to the country
10:30 – 11:15 Yachay Daniela Calero, Biggest Project in Ecuador and the only of it’s kind in South America
11:15 – 11:45 Coffee Break Ecuador Products for Sale, Alberto Verdesoto
11:45 – 12:30 Tourism in Ecuador Minister of Tourism
12:30 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 14:45 Adjusting to Ecuador, tips and hints about living in the country
14:45 – 15:00 Closing
Option #3: Tours – Coastal Tour – June 28 – 29, 2014
04:30 – 07:00 Traveling to the Airport
07:10 – 08:00 Flying to Manta
08:00 – 10:00 Breakfast at Manta
10:00 – 13:00 Tour Manta
13:00 – 15:00 Lunch and Check in at Hotels
15:00 – 16:30 Tour Manta
16:30 – 18:00 Tour Santa Marianita
See properties for sale on the Ecuador beach.
June 29, 2014
09:00 – 13:00 Tour Bahia, San Vicente
13:00 – 15:00 Lunch Canoa
15:00 – 18:00 Tour San Jacinto Surrounding Areas
Cuenca Tour – June 30 – July 1, 2014
June 30 Traveling to Cuenca
08:00 – 12:00 Driving to Guayaquil
12:00 – 14:00 Check in Airline and Lunch
14:00 – 15:00 Arriving to Cuenca – check in Hotels
19:00 – Getting together for Dinner
Cuenca Tour – July 1, 2014
09:00 – 13:00 Tour Downtown Cuenca – Apartments
13:00 – 15:00 Lunch Piedra de Agua
15:00 – 18:00 Tour Cuenca – Houses
00:00 – 13:00 Tour Cuenca
13:00 – 15:00 Lunch
15:00 – 18:00 Paute, land and House to Build
09:00 – 13:00 Tour Downtown Cuenca – Apartments
13:00 – 15:00 Lunch Piedra de Agua
15:00 – 18:00 Tour Cuenca – Houses
End of three options.
Delegates who have not visited Amazon lodge before can visit now and enjoy the free nights stay or book additional tours.
June 23- July 3, 2014
Platinum Package: #1 – Medical Tour plus – #2 – Quito Three Day Get Together and #3 – Coastal & Cuenca Tours – Amazon Stay is FREE Singles $1299 – couples $1499
Gold Package: #1 – Quito Three Day Get Together and #3 – Coastal & Cuenca Tours – Amazon Stay is FREE Single $1169 – coupled $1369
Quito Three Day Get Together only – #1 – Amazon Stay is FREE $699 single, $899 couple
Two Real Estate Tours – Coast and Cuenca Singles $599 couples $799
One Real Estate Tour – Coast OR Cuenca Singles $299 couples $499
For questions or for more information contact Roberto Ribadeneira
Toll Free from USA: 1-888-482-3850
In Ecuador: 593-92380346