Tag Archive | "real estate bargains"

Smalltown USA Ashe County


Smalltown USA Ashe County offers many living and business benefits as well as great real estate value.  See why below.

Merri’s and my business has thrived for many years because we try to avoid financial fashion and always look ahead for value instead.

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See why this home on 47.8 acres offers such good value.

This search for value has led us to the long term focus we have had on three important trends… the falling USA dollar… investing business and living outside the USA and Smalltown USA.

Back in 2005 way before the real estate crash our site looked at five factors that suggested we would see growth in Small Town USA.

Smalltown USA Value Factor #1: Some parts of America were growing increasingly overvalued. Our 2005 message warned about Naples, Florida (where homes were 84% overvalued).  We also warned about  Merced, Ca. 76.7%; Salinas, Ca. 74.8%; Port St. Lucie, Fl., 72.2%; and Stockton, Ca., 72.0%.  We reviewed how 41 of the 65 significantly overvalued markets were in California and Florida.

That message also looked at  how the most undervalued markets were in small towns in Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama.

Smalltown Value Factor #2: One of the largest demographic groups in history (Baby Boomers) about to retire.

Smalltown Value Factor #3: A majority of boomers plan to move when they retire and a majority of the movers plan to settle in small towns 25 or 30 miles from where they now live.

Smalltown Value Factor #4: Boomer surveys show that most Boomers plan to keep working part time when they retire.

Smalltown Value Factor #5: Technology now makes it easier than every before for these boomers to move to small towns and continue to work part time.

Smalltown Value Factor #6:  There is a large decline in the purchasing power of corporate pensions.

Smalltown Value Factor #7: The loss of Social Security and the US dollar’s purchasing power will force many  boomers to move to paces where the cost of living is less expansive.

In other words, Small Town USA offered good value and the changes that demand would grow was strong.  This fact remains in place today.

Take for example Ashe County, North Carolina where Merri and I live part of the year.

As of December 2009 the cost of living index in Ashe County was very low 83.2  compared to the U.S. average of 100.

Here are some demographic facts about Ashe County.

Industries providing employment: Manufacturing (26.7%), Educational,health and social services (16.2%), Construction (10.9%), Retail trade (10.3%).
Type of workers:

•    Private wage or salary: 75%
•    Government: 13%
•    Self-employed, not incorporated: 11%
•    Unpaid family work: 1%

Races in Ashe County, North Carolina:
•    White Non-Hispanic (96.1%)
•    Hispanic (2.4%)
•    Other race (1.1%)
•    Black (0.7%)
•    American Indian (0.6%)
•    Two or more races (0.6%)
(Total can be greater than 100% because Hispanics could be counted in other races)

Median resident age:
42.1 years
North Carolina median age:
35.3 years

Males: 12,031
(49.3%)
Females: 12,353
(50.7%)

Plus between the recession and the cold winter this year real estate has really dropped in price as this chart shows.

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There are some very interesting values in this part of the Blue Ridge.

Take for example this 47+ Acre mountain tract with 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom home (shown above) bordered by the Jefferson National Forest.

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Blue Ridge Mountains are in sight.  This is a very private mountain cabin.

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This mountain cabin has wood floors, gas log fireplace, covered wrap porch and full walk-out lower level with expansion potential.

This is an almost new cabin with all wood interior 2-bedrooms, bath and great room on the main level.

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The great room, dining area and kitchen are placed in an energy-efficient cluster.

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An efficiently designed step saving kitchen with ample storage and work space is perfect for the chef who does not want to spend coveted time in the mountains toiling in the kitchen.

There are two bedrooms and a full bath on the main level.

A full partially finished lower level features expansion potential with a multipurpose room that can be used for additional sleeping space and a game room area with lots of storage space.

A large covered wrap porch is ideal for outdoor entertaining and relaxing with the views with the sounds of Nature all around.

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Total privacy, views and lots of room for outdoor entertaining.

Extending the dining experience outdoors is this detached screened picnic shelter where you can enjoy the view while entertaining friends and family.

In addition to the picnic shelter, this second building will work nicely as a workshop or garage.

Jefferson National Forest borders this 47.8 acre tract along one side and the back adding to the privacy. This tract was timbered a few years ago but young hardwoods and evergreens are already reaching for the sky.

Trails meander throughout the property providing excellent adventure, hiking and horseback riding opportunities to explore all that this unique mountain tract has to offer. Located with in the Mount Rogers Recreation Area, this would be perfect for horses.

There are multiple potential building sites with views.

There are also numerous natural mountain springs and streams.

The asking price is $239,500.

You can get details about the property above from Jeff Neal a Realtor/Broker/ABR at Ashe High Country Realty.
email: Jeff@AsheCountyRealEstate.com

Jeff will be at our North Carolina Seminar this June 24 to 27 to answer questions about Blue Ridge real estate.

Merri and I feel great comfort having our farm in the Blue Ridge. This is the type of place where one could live through most economic and social disasters… plenty of good water…. fresh air and fuel… plus enough land and wildlife to provide food.

Yet we did not buy into Smalltown USA as protection from disaster. That is just frosting on the cake.

History suggests life will just get better and I am all for that and still want to be in the mountains during the summer where it is cool and filled with peace, quiet and beauty…. away from the maddening crowd.

Learn more about a great Ecuador grain for weight loss and better health without sacrifice here.

Gary

How We Can Serve You

2014 – 2015 Schedule

Schedule 2014-2015  Seminars and Courses

Mt. Dora Photo

Delegates enjoy taking breaks at our winter courses in Mount Dora.

jefferson Landing

We conduct our summer camps at Jefferson Landing in West Jefferson North Carolina.

Join us in balmy Central Florida in the winter and the Cool Blue Ridge in summer… plus this autumn our Multi Currency Investing Course will be in Montreal, Canada.

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Montreal Skyline in autumn.

Join Merri and me for all the courses and seminars that we’ll conduct to help you gain positive solutions to your economic, financial and lifestyle concerns.

Here are the courses we will conduct in 2014 and early 2015.

June 13-14-15  Super Thinking Writer’s Camp, West Jefferson, North Carolina.  ($999)  See details on the Writer’s Camp here.

July 18-19-20 Super Thinking + Spanish, West Jefferson, North Carolina.  Courses are also conducted in Canada, St. Louis and Canada.  See schedule and details of the Spanish courses here.

August 30-31-September 1 Super Thinking Writer’s Camp, West Jefferson, North Carolina. ($999)

October 10-11-12 International Investing & Business Seminar, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. ($999)   See details here.

November 14-15-16 Super Thinking Writer’s Camp, Mt. Dora, Fl. ($999)

January  16-17-18,  2015 Super Thinking + Spanish, Mt. Dora, Fl. ($899)

February 13-14-15,  2015  Super Thinking Writer’s Camp, Mt. Dora, Fl. (normally $999 for a couple).

L

Ecuador Tickets # 4


Ecuador Tickets # 4

This series on buying tickets to Ecuador began with three articles at this site.  If you missed part one see it at Buying Tickets to Ecuador.

See Ecuador Tickets 2 here.

See Ecuador Tickets #3 here.

Here is a rave from a reader about the series on Tickets for Ecuador:  Great to know about  kayak for Ecuador tickets——had tried it awhile ago but did not realize all the good features thanks so much.     Good instructions, Merri……….and love all those Ecuador pics!

Here is another point about Kayak.com that a reader shared from our previous articles about Ecuador tickets.

One thing Merri may wish to mention about Kayak which I  find tremendously useful, is that you get to choose the currency of your country for the prices. This is absolutely a fantastic feature of this website,  truly international and very cognizant of the global marketplace that the web represents.

There are many reasons to buy an Ecuador ticket… like this three floor house on the beach for $110,000 asking.

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1st floor

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2nd floor

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Modern

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Merri’s information on Ecuador tickets continues here.

Award Tickets vs. Pay with Miles

I used to think that the highest thing out there in the “ticket” world was a free ticket!  But look at the cost is of a “free” ticket with Delta!

Our daughter was here for 3 weeks from London before she returned for  a year in Africa, and this was a more or less “instant” decision for her.   Many fares from London were high…and I thought “Oh, let’s go for an award ticket”…

But just to show you how all the rules have now changed, I thought well, let’s make some comparisons…

Here’s what I found…Award Ticket round trip from London to Charlotte:

Mileage required 50,000 and up to 70,000.

Award available on most days, plenty of seats, etc.

Sounds good…right?  A free ticket!  Great for kids as there is no tax advantage and it’s there and red hot!

However, let’s look closer, the requirement for taxes was $316.23!!  Other flights, taxes were $375.10.  Wow!

Well, that’s not really a free ticket is it?

So…then let’s look at Pay with Miles (explanation later in this article):

Same flights, same days…ticket would be $94.43 and 50,000 miles…a big big difference…this includes all taxes and fees.  I could have made it even lower to $40.43  if Gary had an extra 5,000 miles in his account.

Well, what would you rather have?  A “free” awards ticket for 50,000 miles + $316-$375 in taxes or a Pay with Miles for 50,000 miles for $94.43 or even as low as $40.43?

Ecuador tickets will brings you rustic restaurants open air restaurants like this three table authentic pizza parlor complete with dog, cat and dirt floor.

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But great pizza

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Pay with Miles

How does Pay for Miles Tickets work?  Well, there is a small catch that I discovered after recommending this to a client…she called me back and said “Pay with Miles does not appear on my computer”…

Here is that catch.  It says very clearly that this is for Platinum and Gold Medallion Members.  And of course, only people crazy enough to travel as much as we do qualify…but and this is a big BUT it is available to anyone with a Delta Skymiles number if that person holds an American Express Sky Miles GOLD Card, Platinum or Reserve Credit Card.   I have provided links to learn more about how to get these cards at the end of this message.

The first year, the fee is waived and then can be as low as $55 annually…you’ll save that on your first purchase of “Pay with Miles”.

All of this is a bit lopsided…but as I said before “All the Rules have Changed”…and that means ALL the rules.  When you order this credit card you’ll get a bonus 25,000 miles to start.

Gary and I (as you probably know) abhor debt, so we pay off our credit cards each month but we do love credit cards…because we can easily track our purchases for IRS purposes and also because of the Pay with Miles feature.   It is possible to have free (that is really free) Delta Crown Room Use at all airports by showing your American Express Delta Reserve Card.  This Amex card is a bit pricier but has more benefits because your miles are at times doubled and you have access to a Concierge desk when you really get into trouble (which I often do) and also don’t forget all those quiet times in the private rooms.

You don’t really need to be a road warrior who has hundreds of thousands of miles, you just need that little American Express Gold or Platinum card!  Suddenly those magic words, “Pay with Miles” automatically appear on your screen, giving you a free ticket with no blackout dates, the use of any amount of miles you might have (award tickets have a premium minimum), as well as flexibility, AND no fees.  This can be purchased for a group of people (if on the same itinerary) and can be used as often as you have miles in your account.

Pay with Miles is a great way to use those accumulated miles that is fast, easy, Internet friendly and instant.  I just love bringing our kids from all over the world as we did Jake (on the itinerary and dates he chose) last year for $17!

Ecuador tickets can lead you to fancy restaurants in Bahia like at the Bahia yacht…

Ecuador-Tickets club or…

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simple affairs like this Bahia Cafe on the

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or  at La Piedra Hotel in Bahia…

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where standards are high and…

Ecuador-Tickets views of the estuary…

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outstanding and food is very reasonable.

ecuador-hotels

Join us at an upcoming Ecuador or North Carolina conference or tour.

There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… like the wonderful people.

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour

June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 4-8  Ecuador Export Tour

July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two.

Here is another shot of visit La Piedra Hotel in Bahia. We visit on our Ecuador coastal tours.

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Learn more about American Express Sky Miles GOLD Card

Learn more about American Express Sky Miles PLATINUM Card

Learn more about American Express Delta Reserve Card

Ecuador Tickets #3


Ecuador Tickets #3

This series on buying tickets to Ecuador began with two articles at this site.  If you missed part one see it at Buying Tickets to Ecuador.

See Ecuador Tickets 2 here.

Here is a rave from the first messages on this series.

Merri,  This message on Ecuador tckets is a good one=—thanks for your input.  Shoot, I thought I WAS THE BEST at getting Ecuador tickets!!!!!!     I use Delta, American and Southwest…..I did not have quite enough miles on American for both my son and I so we just bought the extra miles. I am using Delta miles to fly to Calgary and I am getting first class on way back for no extra miles because their coach air mile seats were taken but they had a first class seat available.  I am happy. When I get over 50,000 miles with one airline, I start using the card that needs boosting up to 50,000 —and Southwest is easy—-I like it —2 hours to Columbus from TPA——can go to Orange City airport in California – Seattle – Tulsa – now they are hooked up with  West Jet for  Calgary-!!!    but I loved Avianca and Lan Peru both.  Our airlines do not compare.

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There are many reasons to buy an Ecuador ticket. Miles of safe empty each is one. All the pictures in this message were taken at San Clemente Ecuador around the Vistaul condos. For more information on Vistazul contact Kjetil Haugan at kjetil@haugancruises.com

There are no hurricanes in Ecuador.  This surf is as bad as  have ever seen.

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Most days it looks like this.  Or at best…

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a surf to play in… .. lots of nature… birds and sun!

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Here is the third part of Merri’s tips on Ecuador tickets.

Some suggestions for Ecuador.  I find a lot of people need help on this somewhat exotic country…because there isn’t a lot of information out there.  Gary and I have lived/worked in Ecuador for going on 15 years, so we’ve learned a lot the hard way…that is so you won’t have to!

Here are my list of dos and don’ts:

1.Fly into Quito not Guayaquil (even if the flight is cheaper). Guayaquil is a big, bustling, expensive city full of a lot of things you don’t need to put up with and not much of interest to tourists as well as those who want to look for a place to live.  Quito is orderly and functional and the airport really organized.  We have good friends in Guayaquil and over the years have spent a lot of time there, but that doesn’t mean that we like it.  It also costs a lot of time and money to get up to Quito (over $100 round trip, so that usually wipes out any savings) and since most flights arrive in the evening…you’ll have to overnight in expensive Guayaquil.

The surf at San Clemente is safe enough for kids to play in.

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Merri continues.

2.Don’t fly on a Colombian Airline (Avianca and others), even if it is great deal cheaper.

For instance, right now Avianca is flying from Miami to Quito for $361 while Delta is listing at $362. (round trip).  I’ve been waiting for all of you to arrive in Quito for over 14 years and those which fly from Bogota, Colombia often don’t land in Quito, they go onto Guayaquil and overnight there…or more usual, they just stop in Bogota (unscheduled of course) and then continue in the next day to Quito.

Why do people fly with them?  Often they are the cheapest…but cheap is nothing compared to an American passport holder overnighting in Bogota and not really understanding when the next plane goes out, plus missing your ride in Quito, etc.  I always  say to people this is the prime example of false economy.

Weather can be misty with a socked in airport and Quito can be a tricky airport to land into.  (This will be remedied when the new airport is finished.  It is built on top of a plateau instead of in the valley of Quito.)  All Delta pilots who fly in there are licensed to land in any weather (but sometimes choose not to land and go to Guayaquil…but rarely.)  Colombian pilots are rarely licensed to land on instruments, so the plane just stays in Colombia and comes the next day…not ever a good thing for a traveler!  I’ve waited hours in the Quito Airport with our crew for years looking for those people who don’t arrive until the next day!

Even little children are safe on this beach.

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Merri’s notes continue.

3. Bring your own favorite non heavy snacks and just drink lots of water, skip the airline fare and the drinks…you’ll feel better and the next day not have any recovery time.

4. We never book “Multiple Airlines” tickets.  This can be a combination of all sorts of airlines and can be a reason if anything goes wrong (like lost luggage) that no one claims responsibility.  We don’t like to mix airlines.

5. If you think that Quito might be too high in altitude for you, then just hire a driver to meet your plane, bring you water and fruit and a pillow and blanket and bring you on out to your destination!  That’s what we do!

Ecuador is a charming, beautiful country…buy your tickets with care and enjoy the ride!

Let’s discuss Award Tickets vs Pay with Miles and other variations that  we use tomorrow.

Big children can play in the surf as well!

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Gary

Join us in Ecuador or North Carolina for a seminar or tour.

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour

June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

There are many reasons to buy an Ecuador ticket.  You can enjoy rustic, really low cost accommodations like this reserve hut near Vistazul…

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with this view or…

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luxury accommodations like Palmazul Hotel & Spa or Vistazul condos below.

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Here is a night view from Vistazul.

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July 4-8  Ecuador Export Tour

July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

There are many reasons to buy an Ecuador  ticket… including business opportunity by exporting hand woven textiles.

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July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Many types of crafts make good exports.

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Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

There are other reasons to buy an Ecuador  ticket… like real estate bargains. These condos just off the San Clemente beach offer 400 square foot units for under $19,900.

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See these condo interiors below.

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

These little condos are three bedroom, one bathroom.

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Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two.

There are many reasons to buy an Ecuador ticket…  like fresh seafood direct from the fisherman’s boat to your table in a rustic, on-the-beach Ecuador restaurant or…

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A gourmet meal and fine dining at Palmazul Hotel & Spa like…

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this sushi meal.

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Get an Ecuador ticket and join us!

Buying Tickets To Ecuador


Buying Tickets To Ecuador

There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… miles of sunny empty beach is one.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… big cities and…

ecuador-air tickets 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.

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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.

Merri

(Tomorrow’s message continues with more tips.)

Join us at an upcoming Ecuador or North Carolina conference or tour.

ecuador-air tickets

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.

How We Can Serve You

2014 – 2015 Schedule

Schedule 2014-2015  Seminars and Courses

Mt. Dora Photo

Delegates enjoy taking breaks at our winter courses in Mount Dora.

jefferson Landing

We conduct our summer camps at Jefferson Landing in West Jefferson North Carolina.

Join us in balmy Central Florida in the winter and the Cool Blue Ridge in summer… plus this autumn our Multi Currency Investing Course will be in Montreal, Canada.

montreal

Montreal Skyline in autumn.

Join Merri and me for all the courses and seminars that we’ll conduct to help you gain positive solutions to your economic, financial and lifestyle concerns.

Here are the courses we will conduct in 2014 and early 2015.

June 13-14-15  Super Thinking Writer’s Camp, West Jefferson, North Carolina.  ($999)  See details on the Writer’s Camp here.

July 18-19-20 Super Thinking + Spanish, West Jefferson, North Carolina.  Courses are also conducted in Canada, St. Louis and Canada.  See schedule and details of the Spanish courses here.

August 30-31-September 1 Super Thinking Writer’s Camp, West Jefferson, North Carolina. ($999)

October 10-11-12 International Investing & Business Seminar, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. ($999)   See details here.

November 14-15-16 Super Thinking Writer’s Camp, Mt. Dora, Fl. ($999)

January  16-17-18,  2015 Super Thinking + Spanish, Mt. Dora, Fl. ($899)

February 13-14-15,  2015  Super Thinking Writer’s Camp, Mt. Dora, Fl. (normally $999 for a couple).