If you're looking
to travel abroad and want some cheap tickets, you might
want to start by taking a trip away from the usual English-language
A newspaper from your destination country,
or a publication targeted at immigrants from that country,
can be a gold mine of deals aimed at people in the know.
So if you want a ticket to Tel Aviv, try
the Israeli newspapers. You can easily pick out a photo
of a plane, the name of the airline, the ticket price,
the valid dates and the phone number of the travel agency
even if you can't read a word of Hebrew.
But if you do have language
skills, you can take them to the bank.
Listening to a radio program in another
language, watching a TV show in Spanish
or subscribing to an e-mail news service
from somewhere else can land you a bargain.
So travel to a well-stocked
city newsstand, surf the Web or play
with the possibilities of satellite
radio and cable television if you plan
on buying something a little exotic...or
if you just like exploring from the
comfort of your armchair.
Shopping in unfamiliar
Obviously, knowing the language helps, especially for
the classifieds, but intrepid bargain hunters say you
can usually read the display ads and figure out the
prices without language skills.
"When I've visited relatives in Greece,
I've usually gone through travel agents in Astoria,
Queens, to book flights," says Maria Stadtmueller,
a writer in Middlebury, Vt.
"Going through the
Greek papers is problematic if you don't
read Greek, but the ads usually show
the names of the travel companies in
English." she says.
And numbers -- both dollars
and dates -- are usually self-explanatory.
What's more, many Web sites offer automatic
translation into English. On some sites,
the ads will change into English, too,
so you can get a peek at the fine print
before you call and ask if anyone can
help you in English.
If you can read the language, you'll have
more negotiating power, and you may be pleasantly surprised
at what's out there.
"There are good deals,
like furniture -- mostly Chinese --
kitchenwares, health care and dental
care, ethnic foods and Chinese restaurants"
in Chinese-language newspapers, says
Dapeng Li of Oakland, Calif.
Li says these publications
are located in America and are written
for Chinese immigrants.
As for trying to find
an ethnic store's Web site and shopping
directly for a bargain that way, he
says that doesn't lead to much.
"The Web sites of ethnic stores,
if they have one, are very simple due to their limited
size," Li says. "Most have no price and inventory
information. Even if they have, they are not updated"
Subscribe and save
If you do read another language, or
if you're able to wade through the basics,
consider subscribing to e-mails on those
sites offering special deals. They often
offer bargains English speakers can
take advantage of, and they'll save
you the constant scouting in multiple
an alliance of several airlines that
serve Chile, Peru and Ecuador, sent
out an e-mail offering a discount "exclusivo
para estudiantes en LAN.com. Aproveche
este descuento y viaje desde Miami a
Lima, Bogotá, Quito o Guayaquil."
In other words, a good
deal for students flying from Miami
to Lima, Bogotá, Quito or Guayaquil,
open to anyone with basic Spanish --
or patience and a dictionary. Not bad
for reading an e-mail.
A quick trip to the site
reveals that you can actually find those
deals in English with a couple of clicks.
There are several last-minute deals
to South America for $300 or less. Once
on the site, an ad flashing on the side
offers the chance to enter a contest
to win five tickets to South America.