Take advantage of Europe's worst-off economies: Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain -- the "PIIGS."
Lodging costs are down 20% in Athens this summer vs. last year. In Barcelona, five-star hotels are $120 a night in November -- a third of Paris' rate. Says Alex Pasquariello of Jetsetter.com: "The economies are down, but the destinations are as beautiful as ever."
A 16-day trip through Italy, with stops in Venice and Rome, starts at $3,839 a person for lodging and air from N.Y.C. (virgin-vacations.com) -- 23% less than a similar 17-day Western European trip with stops in better-off cities like London and Paris.
Or hop aboard the luxury Seabourn Quest for its Nov. 3 sailing from Athens to Rome for 14 nights for $3,999 plus airfare (less than $900 from N.Y.C.). That's 28% less than a shorter 10-night Brazilian cruise that takes you through Uruguay and Argentina.
Don't let the shaky economy stress you out. A grand can still improve your career prospects, lower investment risk, make your home safer and more.
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