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How To Pick Those Exotic Vacation Spots

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I'm often asked how I find my "exotic" places for vacations. It's actually pretty simple.

You can do it, too.

Basically, I stumble upon them. That's my secret.

The real key however, is that I always have my antennas up. I look, I read, I surf, I listen. Then most of the time, something just clicks and things fall into place. There's no requirement for in-depth study. The trick is in keeping up the antenna.

First, look at the Sunday paper Travel section or supplement. This section is always chocked full of destinations, travel specials, deals and tips. Make yourself a nice cup of coffee or tea, sit in a quiet spot and scan the paper. Yes, just scan it.

Pay particular attention to the tiny classified ads that pepper the edges of the pages. These are usually low overhead, low cost tour agencies or consolidators that have great offerings major agencies do not. Most of them focus on specialty niches such as Scandinavia or South America. Most will also have website to poke around and all will have a telephone number for you to call if you want to talk to anyone. Best yet, most of them will list destinations you never even thought of . . . how do you think I decided to go to Rarotonga and found a great airfare deal to get there'

The big full page ads are worth a scan, too. While most of them are placed by airlines or top travel agencies, take the time to look at them. I rarely book travel this way but every now and then the offer is too good to pass up. I got a United Airlines package to Australia a couple of years ago that I doubt I will ever see offered again.

As you scan look for key words to catch your attention. Words like "special," "deal," "limited time" or "book until" will make you stop scanning and read.

If you do this for a few weeks you'll be amazed at what you start to notice. Queuing up your brain to recognize deals and destinations comes with this simple scanning of these pages each week.

Another great source of information is your favorite magazines. As you flip through pages look for ad campaigns. Cities engage in tourist campaigns. Regions engage in tourist campaigns. Entire countries engage in tourist campaigns. Scan the pages for those glossy, colorful ads and just note what they are touting. Some campaigns I noticed myself this week are Napa Wine Country Fall Tours, Canadian Cities Weekend Getaways, Discover Thailand, and San Diego Tourism.

Another resource is your radio. What do you hear on the radio' Is your favorite station giving away Hawaiian getaways' Are they handing out airplane tickets to caller number 100' Where are they heading' Are you filing them away in the back closet of your mind' Anything can be a source of quick information.

And, its fun to do!

So now that you are accumulating a library card index in your brain of destinations, prices and specials, what do you do with it'

You either play it safe or take a risk. . . .
About the Author

Joyce Jackson is a 30 year travel veteran offering tips and expertise to new and inexperienced travellers. Have a great trip the first time and every time.

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