The best meat on the planet in Buenos Aires — $14 per person for all you can eat, including fresh vegetables, dozens of plates, hand-made pastas, and waiters in tuxes. La Bistecca in Puerto Madero. Noah Kagan at my right.
E-mail 1 (friend):
“You should come!”
E-mail 2 (me):
“Uh…. sure. It’s too damn cold here. I guess I’ll see you in 24-48 hours.”
That was on last Friday afternoon. I bought my ticket an hour later and arrived in Buenos Aires Sunday morning, greeted by 90-degree weather and a pleasant breeze through the stunning greenery now surrounding me.
Screw freezing rain in NYC.
“Where do you winter?” used to be a question asked only by blue bloods with old money.
The ultra-rich would leave their fancy digs in Nantucket or Central Park West once a year to go to the Caymans or somewhere equally inaccessible to most people who can’t live off the interest of their trust funds.
Not anymore. In a flat world, work and life and things you do and not necessarily places. Living the good life in an endless summer costs much less than you think. It also takes less work and prep than you think. Here are both for my latest escape:
-I bought a ticket from NY –> Buenos Aires –> Los Angeles fewer than 24 hours before departure. Total cost was $1,200, and I used nothing fancy, just the “multi-city” flight search on Orbitz. Just a few days earlier, those flights had been near $2,500. I almost never purchase airfare far in advance any more, as prices are better when the airlines get desperate to fill seats and panic. I’ve never missed travel because of this habit.
-I emailed BA4U Apartments and got a kick-ass apartment secured in less than three hours. Cost? $250 per week, the equivalent of one night at a comparable hotel in the posh area of Recoleta, which is where my apartment is located. Front and center. Check out the video below. Nothing third world about it. Tell Ralf I sent you — he is awesome.
-I arranged with my post office in CA to use Priority Mail to forward all of my mail to a friend in NY, who then sends me a weekly email describing anything I might need to respond my return on Jan. 15. Cost: $10 per week of forwarding with USPS, and I’ll buy my friend a bunch of drinks and gifts when I get back. If you have an assistant do this, it wouldn’t be more than an hour of work per week (thus, $10-15/week).
-For luggage and necessities, I practice the old Zen art of BIT travel. It ended up costing me less than $10 upon arrival.
Total for two weeks:
$1,200 for airfare
$500 for excellent apartment in the best central location
$50 maximum for mail handling
Let’s do a few more calculations to make this sexier.
You might be inclined say “$1,750! I don’t have that kind of money.” Don’t forget to subtract what you would have spent in the US or wherever you happen to be. This goes for exercise, too: before you exclaim “I burned 215 calories on the Stairmaster!”, be sure to subtract what you would have burned sitting on the couch watching Family Guy.
Back to our example…
If you go out to a good club for New Year’s Eve in NYC and buy a bottle of vodka for a table, you can count on $200-400 per bottle. I can get a table for six and unlimited champagne all night for $100 USD here in Argentina. If we assume two bottles for the evening, I just saved $300-700, which I can subtract from my airfare, etc.
Long story short: I will actually save money by wintering in Buenos Aires for two weeks instead of NYC or San Francisco. How cool is that?
Alrighty then, ladies and gents, I’m off to party like it’s 1999. Be safe, be grateful, and may 2008 be the best for all of us.
Here is a quote (and a hope for all of you) from the father of my friend and world-class Russian strength trainer, Pavel Tsatsaouline:
“May you have the two things that are so hard to have at once–time and money.”
Other good spots for wintering:
Queenstown, New Zealand
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