VACATION BRAGGING: Had an amazing experience that no one else has had before? Better keep it to yourself. Post-event social encounters are built on commonality. People are more likely to enjoy talking about an ordinary experience they have all had rather than hearing about the fabulous one they didn’t. So sharing the details of your singular experience in a social setting can indeed backfire, leading to feelings of being excluded.
FAKE LOCATION – CHEAPER FLIGHTS: Flights are cheaper when bought from a certain location. For example, use Google ITA to buy a flight from Bogota to Cartagena and save $75. Same with routes from Santiago to Easter Island when bought in “Santiago” instead of New York City.
Because you realize that the more you spread the breadth of your experience across the globe, the thinner and more meaningless it becomes. You realize that there’s something to be said to limiting oneself, not just geographically, but also emotionally. That there’s a certain depth of experience and meaning that can only be achieved when one picks a single piece of creation and says, “This is it. This is where I belong.”
The self is highly adaptable to its external environment, and ironically, the more you change your external environment, the more you lose track of who you actually are, because there’s nothing solid to compare yourself against. With frequent travel, so many variables in your life are changing that it’s hard to isolate a control variable and see the effect everything else has on it. You are in a constant state of upheaval.
Because uncertainty breeds skepticism, it breeds openness, and it breeds non-judgment. Because uncertainty helps you to grow and evolve.
Castillo de San Felipe in Cartagena, Colombia (Christine Lai)
WHY DON’T AMERICANS TAKE VACATION? Many people chasing the American Dream are working long hours and skipping vacation to reach it. Most employees strongly believe, compared with people in other countries, that hard work pays off in success. Americans who work over 40 hours a week are more happy than those who work less – so are they happy being overworked? Europeans, on the other hand, are different – they seem to value leisure time more, and accordingly those who work over 40 hours are less happy than those working less.
GREEKS WORK HARDER THAN ALL OF EUROPE: As it turns out, Greeks work hard. Greeks work more hours than everyone else in Europe — even more than workaholic Americans. (Caveat: Long hours at the office don’t always equate to high productivity).
Though they work a lot, Greeks are, by and large, not rich. Like poor people everywhere, they have to work more just to get by. Almost one-quarter of Greece’s 11 million people are at risk of poverty, the highest percentage among European Union countries.
(OECD. Graphic: Tobey – Washington Post)
MBA TRAVEL? “It’s all about the people” is a maxim that seems to flow through business-school campuses. Group travel, many say, is one way to build a network.
In many M.B.A. programs, lifestyle experiences are gaining on academic ones in importance, as seen in much busier evening and weekend schedules of bars, parties and trips.
Some student-organized travel is career-focused but carries no academic credit. That includes the Career Trek at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where professional student clubs introduce classmates to opportunities in areas like private equity, biotech and retailing.
Excursions can mean spending $3,000 before the first day of class. At the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, many first-year students choose among about 35 trips — five- to eight-day excursions to places like Costa Rica and Zanzibar, in an effort to help first-year students get to know one another. These student-led trips cost $2,100 to $3,600 a person.
As opposed to students in law or medical school, many enter business school with previous work experience in lucrative fields and may have substantial savings. Some M.B.A. candidates are in school on the dime of their companies, and have agreed to return to work in exchange for their tuition. Others come from very wealthy families and have trust funds.
BINGE DRINKER? Living on an island appears to exacerbate one’s tendency to drink. The Cook Islands, Samoa, Ireland and Sri Lanka are all near the top.
Portuguese women drink 8.8 gallons of alcohol per year – American woman 2.2 Mali men drink 16.4 gallons a year – American men 5.5.
If you’re Zambian, you’re probably drunk at least once per week — and in very good company.
The World Health Organization found in 2011 that the people of Moldova are the hardest drinkers in the world. They drink three times the global average, putting back 18 liters of pure alcohol per year
Pakistan, despite the fact that it’s a Muslim country, has a pretty sizable drinking problem. The penalty if you’re caught is 80 lashes, but the punishment is rarely enforced, and alcohol addiction clinics are flourishing.
Oktoberfest in Munich, September 18, 2010. (Reuters)
BEST DAYS TO BOOK TRAVEL: Best day to book flight tickets is actually Thursday. Reserve a domestic flight on Thursday and you’ll spend, on average, $10 less than if you reserve on Saturday, the worst day to book domestic flights. With international flights, you’ll save, on average, $25 over Sunday, the worst day to book flights abroad.
For the vast majority of routes, weekends are the worst time to book, and for about two-thirds of routes, Wednesday or Thursday is the best day. So avoid booking on weekends and try midweek; for the average American flier, those savings will add up in the long run.
For domestic flights, leaving Wednesday (the best day) will save you $40 on average over a Sunday departure (the worst day); returning Tuesday will save you $45 over returning Friday. For international flights, Wednesdays are the best day to both leave and return.
I ran Dallas/Fort Worth to Beijing, and found that Tuesdays are magic: For the average passenger, departing on Tuesday is $200 cheaper than departing Friday through Monday. Returning Tuesday is also $100 to $200 cheaper than any other day.
5 WAYS TO BOARD A PLANE: The fastest way to board a plane is the Steffen method. It is a close relative of the outside-in method, but instead of allowing all window seat passengers to board first, it creates a choreographed sequence of them to avoid any aisle-waiting at all.
Window seat passengers from one whole side of the plane are sent in, followed by the window seat passengers from the other side. But the rows of passengers allowed in are staggered, so you never have multiple passengers using the same aisle space to sit down or put their bags into the overhead bins. (Example: you send in 36A, 34A, and 32A, then 35A, 33A, and 31A).
This eliminates waiting while someone in your row gets up to let you in (like the outside-in method), but also makes sure that at any given time, the passengers getting on are accessing completely different rows and overhead bins, further cutting down on congestion.
6.18 minutes for the current method and 3.6 minutes for the Steffen method to board a 72-person plane