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Booking It: A House in Fez

I don’t know about you, but I morph into the procrastinator of the century when it comes to home improvements. I’ve gone down in too many battles with curtain rods, caked too much Spackle to my head, and turned too many light fixtures into glass-shard showers to take any pleasure in repairing anything. I’ll stick to fixing up trips, thank you.

So I need to profess some deep admiration for Australia-based journalist Suzanna Clarke after reading A House in Fez, her rip-roaring but thoughtful account of purchasing and restoring a centuries-old riad in the Fez medina. She and her husband, Sandy McCutcheon, persevere through layers and layers of red tape, language barriers, plumbing disasters, deceptive contractors, structural scares, 26-hour flights, and a donkey-napping to lovingly rebuild their new home in methods true to Fassi architectural heritage.

Photo courtesy of Suzanna Clarke

Extended Vacation: Trips for the Unemployed

Suddenly have a lot of free time on your hands? With the jobless claim at a seven-year high, chances are you or someone you know is out of work. Being unemployed may hamper your finances, but those of the “lemons into lemonade” mentality will consider turning this sudden abundance of free time into an opportunity to travel. So if that severance package is burning a hole in your pocket or you’ve got money saved up, consider these five budget-friendly trips for your extended “vacation.” Who knows? By the time you get back this mess could be cleaned up and you’ll be refreshed and ready to re-enter the workforce.

Anguilla
Anguilla is known for its white-sand beaches, fine dining and upscale resorts. What this island in the northern Caribbean is not known for, however, is being inexpensive. Anguilla makes this list for one reason – a deal offered at the Arawak Beach Inn geared at guests staying for one month or longer that makes living the good life affordable. Guests who book extended stays are eligible for a rate of $825 / month – or less than $30 per night – with a three month stay. According to the website, a two month stay it is an additional 20 percent and 25 percent more for one month stays. Accommodations are in an oceanfront room with a kitchen.

Asia Cruise
A month touring Asia? Who has that kind of time? Well – you do. An Asia itinerary on offer from Azamara cruise line is priced from just $1,999 (not including airfare) for a November departure, or about $84 per night. A great value, considering the price includes your accommodations, all meals and transportation between ports. The ship departs from Athens, Greece and calls on exotic locales like Cairo, Dubai, Mumbai and Taiwan before the last stop in Singapore. That should give you enough bragging rights for a lifetime. This particular cruise departs on November 22; there are many shorter cruises and different itineraries available depending on your needs.

Photo courtesy of IgoUgo.com member Koror