Around the world, tour operators, hotels, cruise lines, and resorts are fighting for your vacation dollars. They have to pay big bucks to buy ads in magazines and online...and they do so. But some "good press" can be invaluable to their campaign as well. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico is a case in point. It's long been a destination for expat retirees and visitors from Mexico City and around the country.
Here are a lot of reasons why you should try your hand at travel writing. It’s Fun! You can relax by the pool at a beautiful seaside resort and call it work, and then eat out at a 5-star restaurant and call it research. You get paid to do things you’d gladly pay for yourself. Publications will cover many travel expenses, and hotels and restaurants typically will roll out the red carpet for travel writers.
We at International Living are sending one lucky winner (along with a friend or spouse) to Coronado, Panama for a full month in 2014—free. The prize includes round-trip flights from the U.S. or Canada to Panama City, furnished accommodation in the beach-resort town of Coronado, plus a living-expense stipend of $1,500.
A metropolis like Panama City or Paris or Montevideo has its advantages. In large, cosmopolitan communities, you have a wealth of choice in restaurants, museums, and parks. The hospitals tend to be better, the cultural offerings more varied. But a big city has its downsides, too. It can be loud, frenetic, disorganized. You may gain a measure of anonymity you enjoy, but it can be difficult to meet your neighbors and make friends.
Fifty years ago, if at retirement age you spent a few months in Paris...then moved on to Lisbon for the winter...settled for the spring in Italy...and then steamed down to Panama and Argentina...you were probably either wealthy, eccentric, or running from the law. These days...you’re just a run-of-the-mill vagabond retiree.
You ain’t nothin but a hound dog...cryin’ all the time... Well, you ain’t never caught a rabbit... And you ain't no friend of mine... Elvis was in the house last night. Young Elvis. Dressed in a nicely tailored black suit with a white, open-collared shirt, he serenaded our VIP readers over cocktails in the 20th-floor penthouse here at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. As I wandered through the crowd yesterday evening, I was pleased to hear that—the occasional Elvis recollection aside—the conversations had turned to the details shared thus far about the world’s best retirement destinations.
"From curried kale chips to soy milk...every time I say, 'I wish we could get that here,' the person I'm talking to tells me we can and where I can go to pick it up...or I stumble on the item myself at the store two weeks later," said Jessica Ramesch this morning to a packed house of 800 International Living readers. "Panama just keeps getting better and better."
"You may have sunglasses on right now, but I’d say you wear rose-colored ones more often." That was the first thing a reader—I’ll call him Joe—told me this afternoon. I braced myself. He continued, "I like what you guys at International Living do, but sometimes I get the sense you omit the blemishes when you write about a place. So I was a little skeptical when I got here. I have to say, though—everything we’ve heard so far has felt like the unvarnished truth. And that’s what I came for—the benefits and the drawbacks—so I can compare my options in a realistic way."
Like a winter coat in a swimming pool, conventional wisdom can drag you down. Don’t have enough to retire on? Work longer, it says. Want to live well? You need a big house, a big car, and a massive budget.
At home we’re fed a distinctly flavorless view of the "rest of the world." When we get news of foreign locales, it’s most often about tragedy or macroeconomics. We have a poor understanding of what’s really "out there." Here at International Living, we aim to help you build a richer and more nuanced understanding of the kind of life you could embrace abroad—and why you’d want to.