Monday, January 2, 2017



Let's be honest. Unless you have unlimited funds and unfettered time, you have to look at those things that you have always dreamed of doing or places to which you have always dreamed of traveling with a discerning eye to planning and budgeting. But - and this is very important - do not forsake your responsibility as a wild and crazy NOMAD to write down your very own list for you and yours of the places, best hotels and ultimate vacays you just gotta take in 2017.
Nothing Changes You Like Travel
Whether you go to your favorite place at the beach just down the road or you make that long awaited trip  to a faraway place, nothing will have the impact on you that travel does. Travel allows you to unfetter your head and your soul. When you see other cultures, other people living their lives in another part of the world or a landscape you have never experienced, travel makes indelible marks that you will always go back to throughout out your life.
You may even have a "Damascus Road Moment" when something is so amazing or unexpected that it changes your entire reference point about life. That happened to me when we went to Italy. America, in my humble opinion, is the greatest country on earth, but, I saw things and people in Italy that changed my outlook on people and culture in other parts of the world. And don't get me started on the food!
And For All of You Cheapies - There Is Good News
The Dollar is very strong against the Euro and the Pound for 2017. That means you can go a lot cheaper than you could five years ago. The dollar is at record highs against foreign currencies right now. You could save up to twenty five percent on flights, hotels, food and other travel expenditures. So, get on line and make those reservations today! There's nothing that warms the cockles of your travel heart like staying in a five star at three star prices. That admonition does not include the west coast of the US, which hasn't seen three star prices in years.
For the budget conscious among my friendly NOMADS, here are some thoughts on places to go and places to sleep  for a song:
Hola Espana!
If you are one of those travelers that have a need to get the most bang for your buck, then it never rains on the plain in Spain. The weather is good and the prices are low. You can find amazing boutique hotels and some of the best AIRBNB places to lay your head for pennies compared to similar joints in the UK, France or Italy. And Spain has it all - great architecture and art, friendly people, excellent rail travel and fabulous food. Do not miss The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
Web Sites With Cool Places To Sleep
I highly recommend the following hotel web site links for well priced, upscale boutique hotels.
I-Escape - Excellent place for poor and rich NOMADS to choose a choice hotel. If you are going to Paris, try The Hotel Mayet. It's easy walking distance to the Eiffel Tower and its latest rate is $71.00 per night. We stayed there. Great little place. And have dinner at the little café next door. You'll thank me.
Epoque Hotels - Same as I-Escape, except edgier. You can find a great place to sleep for a song with excellent, cutting edge design.
Avante Garde Hotels - Its name says it all. This site features hotels that have cutting edge design features at reasonable prices.
Tablet Hotels - Great web site with great places to lay your weary head from low price to high. All hotels are high end designed with great beds and amenities.
Design Hotels - Another hotels web site featuring high end designed hotels by some of the most innovative architects and designers.
And Then There Is AIRBNB
I have sung the praises of this peer to peer vacation rental service since we stayed in our first AIRBNB in Eugene, Oregon several years ago. If you are budget conscious then AIRBNB is the place to look. That is especially true if you have a family or a larger group that needs a great place to stay. The web site has improved exponentially and provides one of the most sophisticated search engines for locating that perfect spot. The only caveat is this - With over 800,000 properties to choose from, you must do your homework with time spent searching for the perfect place. And read the reviews. I was told by an AIRBNB owner that reviews cannot be removed. That means that you are reading unedited reviews and thoughts on each place. From Seattle to Barcelona, we have never had a bad experience or disappointment with this great service.
So there you have it. Get busy planning and dreaming and going to that place or places you have always dreamed about. And go in the knowledge and assurance that it will be life affirming and possibly life changing. Watching old men play bocce ball in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower or seeing the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City or attending a real Flamenco dance in Andalucia, the place of its birth, will give you memories and points of reference you will always cherish.

Happy Trails / Buen Camino / Bonne Randonnee / Buon Viaggio  - In any language it is my fervent hope that your 2017 travels will take you far and wide to places yet unseen for new experiences that will last a lifetime.


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