The Deal Detective is SmarterTravel.com's resident bargain hunter, Kate Hamman. She's always on the lookout for new travel deals and invites you, dear reader, to submit your own questions.
TexAg writes, "Howdy, I will be graduating from college in December. I have from approximately December 10 through January 16 to travel. I love adventure, art history, architecture, and the outdoors. I would love to travel to a country where I know a little bit of the language—namely, Arabic, German, or Spanish. I have already traveled all around the states and I have been to Italy, England, and France. Do you have any suggestions? I want to harvest as many exciting stories as I can from my last 'real' vacation before joining the workforce."
Not to sound corny, but your criteria demands me to invoke the spirit of Dr. Seuss, and say, "Oh, the places you'll go." And it really is true, because you have so many destinations to choose from. Some spots that immediately jump to mind are Jordan, Prague, and Spain. It's Morocco, however, that gets my vote as an ideal place to have a last hurrah before trading in your college backpack for a corporate briefcase. Plus, your knowledge of Arabic makes it all that much easier for you to truly enjoy the culture.
Begin planning your trip by searching for flights. I priced tickets for $942 on Iberia from New York City to Casablanca for the exact dates you listed above. Once you arrive in Casablanca, you can then explore the country by train. A first-class bunk bed between Casablanca and Oujda costs about 350 MAD (about $40 U.S.; check XE.com for current exchange rates), possibly stopping in Fes, Tanger, or Marrakesh. There are a range of options you can choose from to fit any fancy, including scuba diving, paragliding, caving, and kayaking. Finding a place to rest is the next order of business, and many of the larger cities offer cheap lodging for the adventurous traveler. Your overall cost will depend on the length of time you choose to stay.
If you'd rather skip most of the planning process, you can hand over your trip details to a tour group such as Gate 1 Travel, which will book your flight, lodging, transportation, and some meals and activities for you. For instance, you can book a 12-Day Kaleidoscope Morocco tour for $1,899 that includes your flight from New York City to Casablanca, 10 nights lodging, transfers between cities, tours, and 20 meals. Granted, this is a tour setting, but it can provide you with an introduction to the country before you decide where you'd like to spend the rest of your time.
Also, since you're technically still a student, you can take advantage of STA Travel, which offers tours that may be more suited to your age group. You can also get discounts on flights and activities.
I can't wait to hear about your adventures, whether you choose Morocco or some other far-off land. If any of you other readers have suggestions on where TexAg can celebrate those last few days of freedom, please share any and all ideas below.
Deal or No Deal?
Visitors will find vacation deals offered from a variety of travel wholesalers like Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz, among many others, available in one place. For instance, I was able to find savings of up to $500, plus 50 percent off companion airfare, through Pleasant Holidays.
The deals change daily, and a little healthy competition is expected between offers, so check back often to see just how low some specials might go.
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