For the most part, I consider myself a pretty downhome kind of a guy. I stay in simple hotels when I travel—if there’s internet, I’m set. Fancy restaurants are okay. But usually I have more fun and get tastier food where the locals eat, whether it’s a beachfront palapa in Nicaragua…a hole-in-the-wall eatery in a Costa Rican mercado…or a roadside taco stand in Mexico.
That being said, I do like to cut loose once in a while and see how the other half lives, so to speak. And as IL Roving Latin America Editor, I get the chance to do that a few times a year…at our action-packed conferences.
And whether it’s a massive hotel in Las Vegas, a high-end Cancun resort, or an exclusive hotel in Costa Rica’s chicest neighborhood, I’m always joined by a special group of VIP International Living readers…members of the Lifetime Society (find all the details for becoming a member here).
One of the many perks of being a member of this group is that you’ll enjoy VIP status at any International Living event.
There’s always a VIPs-only lounge near the conference room. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a little peace and quiet during a busy event. There are snacks (usually some great pastries or cookies), little sandwiches, bagels, cold drinks, and coffee…even beer and wine, and it’s all free to VIPs.
Of course, the biggest benefit is that me and the other IL editors and correspondents hang out in there too. So it’s a great place to ask us questions, pick our brains, and just talk away from the crowds, where it sometimes can be hard to get a word in. It’s an informal vibe, and the best place to make a personal connection and get detailed answers.
The best part of being a VIP, in my opinion, is the “big night out.” There’s one at every conference. These are exclusive parties that only VIPs are invited to. Last year at our Fast Track Costa Rica Conference, we all drove up into the hills surrounding the capital, San Jose, to a charming open-air restaurant. We were treated to a delicious buffet of traditional Costa Rican food: hearty plates of rice, black beans, grilled chicken, salad, plantains, and a chayote casserole. And of course, the drinks are on the house too.
Thanks to the restaurant’s hilltop location, we could see the lights of the city stretching for miles in every direction—I don’t think there’s a bad seat in the house when it comes to the view. It’s a spectacular sight. And we capped off the evening with folkloric music and dancing. The dancers twirled and clapped in time with the rhythm and there was even audience participation.
Editor’s note: Exclusive party invitations, rubbing shoulders with the International Living editors and correspondents in executive lounges, a special fast-track registration process…these are just some of the perks to being a member of the Lifetime Society when you join us at conferences. But there’s also so much more to membership…you’ll receive International Living magazine free for life, get extra discounts on any IL products on our Bookstore, and much more. But you only have until midnight tomorrow to become part of this select group…all the details for signing up are here.