Ventimiglia, Italy: Travel and shopping on the molto-cheap

Visit another country with the whole family, stock up on cheap booze and clothes, and eat a three-course meal -- all for about $141.50. The destination is Ventimiglia, Italy, the Tijuana of the Ligurian Coast. You get the Italian experience in a border-town, day-trip gulp, then it's back to the French Riviera.

Ventimiglia is the perfect way to stretch a Cote d'Azur vacation into a multicultural tour on the molto-cheap. Of course you already have to be in the south of France to take advantage of the savings, but don't quibble. Ventimiglia is a fine place to visit when you're in the neighborhood.

My wife and I took our 3 year old son and 7 year old daughter on the special Carte Isabelle ticket from 46 miles away in Cannes for about $44 round trip total. The ticket allows you to make as many stops as you want, so the transfer in Monaco could turn into a side trip to a Monte Carlo casino if you want to get all James Bond about it. This voyage, however, was about a change of scenery without making the scene and going broke.