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2010 Travel Hotspots

We live in stressful economic times -- all the more reason to take a reasonably-priced vacation. But where in the world should you go?

CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg has just the places.

ARGENTINA:

The exchange rate is still very favorable, in fact the most favorable it's ever been: $1USD to 3.79 Argentine pesos

When to Go:
The high summer season is December-February and July to August. Shoulder season falls outside of those months, so look at travel in spring and fall.

Hotel rates:
Did you know that one of the best places in Buenos Aires for beginners is actually something called a "tango hotel?" Hotel Mansion Dandi in San Telmo incorporates group lessons and one-on-one instruction, professional tango shows on Thursday and Friday nights, and a weekly milonga dance club. Talk about an all-in-one experience. Room rates start from $100 a night; a three-night package including one group lesson, one private lesson and one milonga starts from $309.

Buenos Aires Sheraton in the center of the city starts from $149 a night. The Hilton Buenos Aires is also about $140 a night.

On the Brochure:
You can't visit Buenos Aires without getting the full steak dinner experience. Try La Cabaña Las Lilas, which actually raises its own cattle, and La Cabrera in the Palermo Soho district.

Tango is another must. Milongas, or tango hall, are scattered throughout the city. You can enjoy dinner and a tango show at Esquina Carlos Gardel for about $75 per person.

Off the Brochure:
One very cool (though a little pricey) experience is the Cheese Room at the Park Hyatt. Located in Duhau Restaurant & Vinoteca, guests can make an appointment to try out Argentine Malbecs, artisnal cheeses chosen by the Maître Fromager served with breads, dips and fruits.

A perfect trip from Buenos Aires is Argentina's wine country, Mendoza. More than 880 wineries making some incredible vintages.

Horseback riding is an integral part of Argentine culture. Equitours has several horseback riding tours in Argentina and Chile-ride across the Andes, trek the foothills from estancia to estancia, or stick with one ranch, Estancia los Potreros about an hour from Codroba. Estancia los Potreros is a 6,000-acre ranch owned by the same family for four generations-an eight-day trip including six days of riding in the high season (January-April, October-December) is $2,555 and in the low season (May-September) is $2,065.

TURKEY:

Beta Ciragan Palace: Istanbul Sultan Suite
Exchange rate: $1USD to 1.52 Turkey Lira

When to go:
Peak tourist season is June-September, the best time to visit is during May, and October-November. But bundle up-in May and October the average temperature is in the low 60s, and in November it drops to the mid-40s.

Hotel rate:
Even the luxury Ciragan Palace Istanbul has some deals: book 30 days in advance, and get 20 percent off your stay. Rates in early May start from about $460 a night.

But there are plenty of more affordable places to stay. Best Western President Hotel near the Grand Bazaar starts from about $140 a night in early May.

The Dedeman Hotel in Istanbul also starts from about $10 a night in early May.

On the Brochure:
In Istanbul: the great Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Byzantine Cistern, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar. Most visitors will stick to Sultanahmet.

Off the Brochure:
The neighborhood of Ortakoy on the banks of the Bosphorus is filled with tempting food stalls. In the neighborhood of Taksim, check out the pedestrian street Istiklal Caddesi, which also boasts tasty stalls.

One of my favorite things to eat is rice pudding from Istanbul, aka firinda sutlac. It dates back to royal kitchens of the Ottoman Empire, and can be found in pudding shops and restaurants all over Turkey. In Istanbul, try Özsüt Pudding in Sultanahmet, and Saray Pudding shop located on Istiklal Caddesi, which has been in operation since 1935.

Public baths are still common in Turkey. I recommend Cagaloglu Hamami, a 300-year-old institution which keeps up the traditional bath experience.

A trip along the Bosphorus is a must. Stretching about 20 miles from the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea, the Bosphorus flows past countless villages and communities that thrive along both its European and Asiatic sides. One worthwhile stop is the village of Anadolu Kavagi (the last stop on the Asiatic side), which has some of the best seafood restaurants in the country.

Package Tours:
A basic "Highlights of Turkey" tour with Trafalgar is nine days from only $999, covering Gallipoli, Troy, Pergamon, Izmir, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Bursa and Istanbul. That includes daily breakfast, and some dinners.

Gate1 Travel's 13-day tour of Turkey covers three nights in Istanbul, Canakkale, Kusadasi, Pamukkale, Konya, Cappadocia and Ankara from only $719 (land only). That includes 11 breakfasts and seven dinners and escorted tours.

ROMANIA:

This is the real sleeper for great value.

Romania is great for skiing this time of year: The major ski resorts are Poiana Brasov, Sinaia, Predeal, Paltinis and Runcu.

Exchange Rate - 1.00 RON (Romania New Lei) = 0.34 USD Dinner at Taverna Sarbului in Bucharest: $10-$30

Moderate Hotel: Novotel Bucharest City Centre: $152 per night
Expensive Hotel: Carol Parc Hotel: $342 per night

Big Cities: Bucharest, Iasi, Cluj-Napoca
Smaller Cities: Timisoara, Tara Hategului

Who flies there: Nobody flies to Bucharest direct from the U.S., United, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Iberia

High Season: May-August, Low Season: November-March (but winter is the best time to ski), Shoulder Season: September-October

THAILAND:

Remains a great bargain destination for Americans.

Exchange rate: $1USD to 33 Thai Baht

When to Go:

Bangkok experiences three seasons: hot from March-May, rainy from late April-late November, cool from November-February. In the northern regions (Chiang Mai), definitely avoid the hot season; however, southern Thailand (Phuket) is a good choice in the hot season as it's more temperate.

Peak travel season is November-February, but shoulder season is around April and September.

Hotel Rate: Intercontinental Bangkok in early April is about $158 a night.

Hotel Shangri-La is about $152 a night in early April

Grande Ville Bangkok is only about $50 a night, and there are plenty of other affordable, clean hostel-type places to stay.

MOROCCO:

This could be the hotspot of 2010 season. They've just opened the legendary La Mamounia Hotel in Marrakech, and the royal mansour is about to open. And take it from me, Casablanca is a fabrication. You need to go to Fes and Marrakech.

Exchange Rate - 1.00 MAD (Morocco Dirham) = 0.126 USD

Dinner at La Fibule in Casablanca: $20-$40

Moderate Hotel: Maamoura Hotel for $63 per night
Expensive Hotel: Mazagan Beach Resort for $386 per night

Big Cities: Casablanca, Rabat, Fes
Smaller Cities: Tangier, Marrakech

Who flies there: Royal Air Maroc (direct from U.S.), Delta, Air France, Iberia, easyJet, Lufthansa, Condor, more.

High Season: June-August, Low Season: November-March, Shoulder Season: April-May, September-October

LET'S NOT FORGET CRUISES!

Talk about the law of supply and demand -- There is so much excess capacity in the cruise business now, with new ships coming on line, like oasis of the seas, that there are lots of empty cabins about to set sail in 2010. In fact, the bigger new ships are cannibalizing passengers from other ships, which means - DISCOUNTS throughout 2010.

Don't forget that cruises are an exceptionally family-friendly way to travel. Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas has a FlowRider, H20 Zone, rock-climbing wall, ice skating rink, Wii, Wi-Fi, and several specialty restaurants. There are last-minute deals available-departing January 10, a Western Caribbean cruise from Miami is $399 for seven nights! Compare that to later departures-February 21 it starts from $639. Sometimes it pays to wait.

On NCL's Norwegian Pearl, you can take a 7-day cruise to Alaska from Seattle from just $639 per person. You'll get the best Alaska deals if you sail in early May and early September, as prices steadily go up to more than $800 in June, July and August.

Sample rates: May 9, 2010 from $699; May 16 from $639, May 23 from $669; September 5 from $669

The Princess Diamond sails some very exotic itineraries where you can find even bigger savings. Try 35 days from Auckland, with 17 ports of call in New Zealand, Australia, Tasmania, China and Taiwan from $4,440 per person-at about $100 a day, it's a far more affordable way to explore that many plus three meals a day for that price.