Traveling can be exciting and enjoyable, even if you travel because of business. One thing which can take some of the joy out of traveling is spending a lot of cash to do it. The following information will give you some great travel advice on how you can keep your expenses low, while still being able to get to where you need to go.
TIP! Prepare ahead of time if you’ll be traveling by airplane. Major airports are in big cities much of the time, so getting through traffic and to your gate on time can be a challenge.
Leave what valuables you can at home and don’t take them on your trip. You stand a good chance of losing one of your valuables if you bring too many.
In the event your child wanders off, make sure to have a recent picture along with you to help locate him or her. The idea of losing your child is a terrifying one. Though it certainly feels devastating, it is a reality for many. If you have a picture of your child on you then this can come in handy if they ever end up getting lost.
TIP! Even when on long flights, never assume the airline will provide everything you need. If you think they will come in handy, pack a travel pillow, a light blanket and comfortable headphones.
Be wise about food allergies when visiting a foreign country to avoid dangerous liaisons. Especially if your allergies are severe, you should learn the names of the foods in whatever language is necessary. This helps ensure that the wait staff is clearly informed of your allergies in case of an emergency.
When you are in an unfamiliar area, be on guard for criminals acting as officials such as law enforcement. Show officials your passport, but do not give it to them. If they state you must go to an office, offer to walk the distance with them. Make sure that you do not get into an automobile with somebody that you do not know, especially if they are acting oddly.
TIP! Whenever you can, print online tickets in advance of your visit to a special event or attraction. Sometimes there is a ticket fee, but already having your ticket means you don’t have to stand in long lines, so the fee is totally worth it.
Do not expect an airline to cater to your whims when you are flying. Be sure to bring a blanket, headphones or pillow if you think you’ll need them. Don’t forget to pack a few snacks to make sure you have some food that you enjoy during the flight.
Arriving the night before is essential. Staying over at a hotel that customarily allows their patrons to leave their vehicles there during their cruise is a smart move. Check with the hotel staff about parking deals even if none are published.
TIP! Trying getting in a big workout before you board the plane. This will help you avoid the tediousness of long flights.
If you are thinking about going to a specific place that sells tickets, head to its website and see if it is possible to buy and print tickets from there. You might have to pay a little extra for the convenience, but you won’t have to bother with long lines when you get to the attraction. If the amusement park has a timed entry system, you can enjoy that benefit from buying tickets online.
When traveling by air, wear lightweight, comfortable shoes that can be easily slipped on and off. This makes security checks easier since you can easily slip them off. The number one concern is comfort. You don’t need a lot of support for a little walking and a lot of sitting. The ultimate shoes for travel are sandals or flip flops.
TIP! Always tip the housekeeper and bell station. A good rule of thumb is per bag/luggage and about -5 a day for housekeeping.
Using advice like what is offered in this article will help you travel smarter and help you travel more easily. You can rest assured that you will enjoy traveling more if you reach your destination with plenty of money saved.
The Democracy Diagnosis
June 17, 2013 by
Whereas doctors can conduct an examination to determine a person’s overall health, how do you diagnose something as ambiguous as the health of a country’s democracy? CONTINUE READING
CIPE Development Blog
In the May 11 general elections, Nawaz Sharif became Pakistan’s newest elected prime minister. For the first time in the country’s 65-year history, a democratically elected government has handed over power after completing its term and holding a fair election. The transfer of power is indeed a successful continuity of democracy in Pakistan. However, the country’s economy remains in a state of…
CIPE Development Blog
Pay Whatever You Want in Jordan
June 16, 2013 by
I never believed in the Pay What You Want economy. Then I went to Amman.
When new economy people talk about pay-what-you-want, they fixate on Radiohead’s In Rainbows and Louis C.K.’s “free” comedy special (both of which are unique masterpieces, but that seems to be beside the point.) The Freakonomics team, which is obsessed with the different twists on these seemingly paradoxical PWYW schemes, went so for as to build an experiment into a preview screening of their movie. The minimum you could pay to attend was nothing, the most was 0.
Of the 5,000 who bought tickets, eighteen paid 0.
This baffled Stephen J. Dubner, who loves it when a contractor asks what he wants to pay for a service. “My answer is always the same,” he says. “’What I want to pay is zero. Does that work for you?’”
For a long time, I shared this sensibility. Then I went to Amman. Outside the central bus station, I asked a cab driver how much it cost to get to my hotel. He asked what I wanted to pay. (His actual words were: “what do you want to pay?”)
My negotiation skills had recently been hardened in Cairo. I told him I had five dinars. “If you think that’s fair,” he said, without batting an eye. And hit the gas. It was a longer drive than I realized, and the driver was a wealth of valuable intel that would later help me navigate the city. He offered me cigarettes and tea and cookies. By the time we arrived, I realized the ride had been worth more to me than what I told him I’d pay—more than any cab ride I’d ever experienced—and found myself renegotiating something six times higher than my original offer. But I felt good about the transaction.
This sort of transaction played out day after day in Amman, where an entire PWYW economy seemed to exist. No price I offered was ever refused. It culminated at a small tobacco shop, where I found myself holding an authentic Khalil Mamoon hookah. The owner knew immediately that I understood its value. When I asked him the cost, he asked: “what do you want to pay?” I low-balled him with an opening offer of Canadian. (You can pay more than 0 for a knock off back home.)
To my surprise, he extended his hand to shake on the deal. Then walked around his shop, loading up a bag with accessories and tobacco. Clearly I had overpaid, and to make the deal fair, he was now adding to a shopping bag everything that I had touched and smelled before finding the hookah. He added two kilograms of apple tobacco, which he had mixed himself. He squinted a little bit. Then two kilograms more. The transaction was done.
Somewhere between Louis C.K. and the Jordanian hookah man, the church collection plate and the hundred-dollar movie ticket, lies a better scheme than the walls that almost every newspaper in Canada has built around its product in the last few months.
Take The Globe and Mail. The version of their product that rumbles through my Twitter feed is very different than the Globe experience that ends up on my neighbour’s doorstep—or the no man’s land behind the paywall. On Twitter, the reporters are whip smart and unpredictable. Sometimes they’re weird, sometimes neurotic, sometimes conflicted, sometimes deeply hurt, sometimes inspired. It’s like an uneven symphony of a day in the life of Canada. Between those immediate 140-character observations and that other finished product is a staff of editors, who are paid a lot of money to turn a frantic symphony into muzak.
A lifelong reporter at the paper once described the editing system to me as “binary.” A story is either easily understood by a reader or it is not. A Globe editor’s opinion of the reader must be very low. The muzak is steady and predictable. Concerned only with the fact that there is an obvious nut graf, which is repeated in the headline, dek, cutlines and pull quotes. And so the final version, in contrast to the one on Twitter, is incapable of real prescience or anything like a human voice. They’re attempting to sell certainty when those succeeding around them are selling intimacy and a sense that anything can happen if you turn a page or click a link.
It’s a poor formula to make money in this economy. Spend a butt load on good, necessary reporting, which Huffington Post and all the other cold blooded content hijackers plaster up on their websites. Jeff Simpson’s steady wisdom is spruced up with a sassy voice, cut and pasted, framed and reframed, and pushed out through massive social networks to niche and partisan and regional audiences. (Distribution is what these “content generators” do best.) That a reader must now navigate a paywall to read a drabber version on the Globe only makes this e-leeching more lucrative.
Of course, my internal payment mechanism is not so precious to mistake the fact that there can be no raw symphony if I don’t pay for the muzak. However, I am too precious to pay specifically for that muzak And as someone who lives west of Kitchener, trying to get my money’s worth behind that paywall, only reminds me that I’m subsidizing a bunch of reporting about central Canada. The Globe needs to let the audience outside of their geographic and “edited” core pay what it’s worth to them.
Because right now I choose to pay zero.
I feel good about this transaction too. Like I’m sticking it to the muzak editors for ignoring my needs. How would you get me to pay more than zero?
Consider the night at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, when comedian Mike Daisey gave his entire fee for a show to the audience, and asked him to pay it back to him afterwards—based on what they felt it was worth. He earned back the entire sum plus ,169. The Globe could charge me five bucks a month for the content, immediately credit it back to my account, empowering me to give it back based on what I use. If the Globe really wanted to engage me, they’d credit a few cents back to my account if I wrote something worthwhile in the comment section or enthusiastically tweeted a link.
Alternatively, I’d spend two bucks a month for a bundle of the stuff I actually want to read. Unedited “extended drafts” by Stephanie Nolen, Mark McKinnon, Simon Houpt, Alexandra Gill, Gary Mason, Sunny Dhillon, David Ebner’s kooky sports writing—there are more than a dozen bylines I’d check off—throw in a weird and engaging piece of long form in the vein of Ian Brown.
I’ve got a couple hundred bucks set aside every month for content, which typically includes a dozen print magazine subscriptions from around the world, several songs a month, some TV, simple beverages, some films, a play, a book or two. What will you give me for it?
Follow @veryethnic. Facebook friend.
*Part of this essay was published in Marketing magazine.
Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks
So far the results of our poll are quite positive. Most participants think they can withdraw 3-4% of their savings each year in retirement. That’s about right according to conventional wisdom given long term investment returns, inflation and life expectancy.
Check the results for yourself (and wish good luck to those think they can use 8-10%).
Cast your vote before we move on to a new poll topic. Any ideas for a good poll question?
Filed under: Observations on life Tagged: Retirement, retirement income
Recently I visited the mansions of the gilded age American aristocracy in Newport Rhode Island. This included The Breakers, the 136,000 square foot “summer cottage” of the Vanderbilts. There are 30 bedrooms for servants on the third floor.
As you walk through the house on a self-guided tour you can listen to the recorded comments of people who were guests or who worked in the house. One remark stuck with me because it is so different from the age in which we live.
The women speaking related what her mother, who was a maid for the Vanderbilts, had said. “We are all so proud to work here because this family is helping to build America.”
Imagine that, a recognition of working together at all levels. Today many would belittle that women and her point of view. Today many seek to take rather than earn, paying ones fair share is left only to the millionaires and billionaires and is defined only as ones tax bill.
As valid as much of the criticism may be regarding the robber barons and the wealthy of the gilded age, the fact is they built this country, they created industries and millions of jobs, they laid the foundation for what America was in the 20th century. It makes you wonder what foundations we are laying. If you look at the statistics and the programs and proposals from politicians today, you see a pattern of more and more entitlement paid for by fewer and fewer people. It doesn’t work that way and never will.
Frankly I admire wealth honestly earned, I admire families where succeeding generations do a bit better than their parents, I admire risk takers and people who work hard to achieve their goals no matter what it takes. I admire those whose key word is opportunity, not entitlement.
Paying ones fair share goes way beyond paying taxes; our inability to accept that is what will bring America down.
Filed under: Observations on life Tagged: Wealthy Amercans
Are physicians overpaid?
June 15, 2013 by
To answer the question are physicians overpaid perhaps we need a frame of reference.
Many football coaches in leading colleges make far more than most physicians. Many heads of large unions make more than physicians. Some members of Congress make more than physicians. Then, of course there is the Hollywood and sports elite who earn more than just about everyone while contributing nothing of significance to society.
I’ve done some research and I am convinced that on average physicians are not overpaid in any sense of the word.
Before we get to specifics lets consider the training and investment a physician must make, the risks they take, the irregular hours many physicians have to deal with, the emotional issues on a daily basis, dealing with patients and their families, continuing education and more.
When one compares U.S. physician income with other countries, we find many countries lower and some higher. When you look at the overall average income you get apples to oranges because the U.S. has far more higher paid specialists than other countries (it’s yet to be determined if so many specialists is a good thing).
Below you can see average physician salaries by specialty. This is from the Medscape News 2013 survey. As you can see, there is a wide range among the specialties.
Putting on my compensation and benefits hat, I see nothing wrong with these numbers except perhaps some physicians may be underpaid.
So what’s your opinion?
Filed under: Healthcare Tagged: physician income
The implementation gap – the difference between laws on books and how they function in reality – is a problem experienced all around the world. CONTINUE READING
CIPE Development Blog
An Argument for Escapism
June 13, 2013 by
escapism n. the tendency to seek distraction and relief from reality.
I hereby go on the record to (politely) disagree with the Oxford English Dictionary (’96 edition), because while I do indeed use many forms of media to distract myself from reality, I don’t do it to get ‘relief’. I am not depressed or stressed, I’ve not suffered any recent trauma and nor do I shy away from working a forty hour week or being with my family.
What I am, more often than not, is bored.
The label of ‘escapist’ remains a largely negative one and to identify yourself as such may lead people to believe you are some lost, childish dreamer. Someone who cannot ‘handle’ reality and so chooses to distance themselves from it, rather than ‘grow up’ and face their responsibilities.
One stigma so often associated with the word ‘escapism’ is the one of mental illness. The refusal to acknowledge the recreational value of reading fiction and gaming while instead linking the idea to eating disorders and drug addiction. The insinuation that people who feel the need to take a break from everyday life are somehow ‘broken’ is a disheartening one.
I have known people to go to great lengths to help me come out of my shell or embrace the real world. They are sweet and always acting with the best of intentions, but they will never find me walk willingly into a pub when I have the opportunity to read a new novel. I am many things, an introvert and escapist among them but these states aren’t ones which require intervention. I do not need to be fixed. I haven’t shunned reality, but it rarely interests me like the prospect of a world where dwarfs sing songs and slay dragons.
In his essay ‘On Fairy Stories‘, J. R.R. Tolkien addresses the consolation of fancy, the joy we allow ourselves to feel when arriving at a happy ending. We seek this cathartic state not because we wish to deny the existence of sorrow or failure, but simply because it is a nice thing to feel.
There are degrees of escapism as with most things and I’m not about to claim that all forms are ‘healthy’ and that people who hide away from the world out of fear do not need support. What I would say is that with so many industries founded on the idea that people want to experience something else for a while, shouldn’t we really be moving on from this bad attitude?
In her article over on A Dribble of Ink, Foz Meadows uses a great metaphor for escapism:
The ability to escape into fiction is [...] the equivalent of being able to holiday anywhere and enjoy it.
It’s a lovely sentiment, one which I agree with wholeheartedly. It’s just a shame that I’ve come to feel almost guilty for identifying with it.
Perhaps the issue with escapism being seen in such a bad light isn’t so much the act itself, but the time an individual devotes to seeking it? A trip to the cinema is normal enough, though people connect with the films they watch in different ways I know. Reading a book over the course of a week or month isn’t exactly unheard of either…
Spending hours upon hours every night playing World of Warcraft in the dark is probably slightly less socially acceptable. The ‘grown man living in his mother’s basement’ stigma is one the gaming community took decades to shift and even now still lingers.
But even if the case is all a matter of timing, then I could be categorised as avoidant or worse, I’m sure. On my days off I am content to spend only a few hours in the company of other people, retreating to my computer, books or television for quality time instead. Yet I remain a highly functioning member of society (albeit a slightly grumpy one).
This subject is vast and complex and authors far more educated than I have come out to discuss it. So instead of fumbling around in it any further I will simply finish with explaining why I devote so much of my time to places and people who I know don’t exist:
It makes me happy.
My life is a series of steps, ones which I take everyday, some that I enjoy and some that I don’t. The world is vast and constant, spinning around a sun that will shine long after I’m gone. I have friends and family and all of them are important to me. But the walk to work becomes so much more interesting when, in place of the field that stretches out to my left, I see the overgrown ruins of a spaceport instead.
Spaceport by M-Wojtala.
Read a bit more about escapism why don’t you:
J. R. R. Tolkien’s essay
Andrew Robinson’s ‘Case for Escapism‘
‘A Rule of Thumb for Escapism‘ by Fox Meadows
Escapism is the Highest Form of Art, via io9
Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks
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With Malaysia’s booming economy and globalization, there is an influx of expatriates from various countries to our country. Georgetown is rapidly becoming an expatriate hub for its highly industrialized economy. To date, Penang has drawn numerous MNC companies into investing in the state comprising Dell, Intel, Motorola, Altera, Seagate (to name a few) centered in [...]
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