8 WAYS TO SAVE ON TRAVEL IN 2015: The Russian ruble is tanking (as of late December, a dollar will get you 94% more than it did a year ago). Here are some other countries where you would get at least 13% more cash for your cash if you arrived there right now: Argentina (31%), Chile (16%), Mongolia (15%), Israel (13%) and — yes — Sweden (16%) and Norway (21%).
It was also a bad year for the euro, which means right now is a good time to go to Europe: You would receive about 10% more for your dollar in countries from Portugal to Slovakia.
French Kisses: When You Greet a Friend, How Many Times Do You Kiss? (Bill Rankin, radicalcartography.net)
FRENCH KISS: Most French two or four kisses, with three kisses popular in the South. 18% of Corsica go for five kisses!
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)