Travel Expenses

The Cost of Things: A Family Wedding in the DR

Lodging: Free! The advantage to having a huge family is that there are so many places to stay!

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GTD, Planning for the Holidays Edition

You ever think we’re going to be the last generation that does presents? Like, we were the last generation that did trick-or-treating as a door-to-door thing, don’t most kids do organized Candy Events now? And we were the last generation that did birthday parties where everyone brought gifts, now it’s like “bring a used book for charity, please do not bring my child a Spiderman toy.”

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Why You Should Buy Thanksgiving Tickets Now

It’s October! There’s a nip in the air, a gourd on every doorstep, a scarf round every throat. And you know what that means: it’s time to go broke paying for holiday travel. Except maybe not this year. Maybe you can get it together to buy tickets in advance and not have to shell out an extra $300 for the privilege of visiting your Aunt Ellen in Milwaukee and listening to your relatives try to explain Twitter to each other for the fourteen-thousandth time.

We tend think that maybe tickets will get really affordable at the last minute because airlines will get desperate, like bar patrons still lingering on their stools at Last Call. This is a myth. MYTH. According to CheapAir.com:

For most domestic trips, we found a similar pattern. The worst time to book your trip was the last minute. No big shocker there. The day before was the single worst day, two days before was the second worst, etc. etc. all the way up to 13 days in advance. Our data completely debunks the myth that if you wait until the last minute, there will be big price reductions to take advantage of, as airlines dump empty seats. That simply doesn’t happen, and buying a flight with less than two weeks advance purchase is the last strategy we would recommend.

When is the optimal time, then? So glad you asked:

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Group Fall Getaways

Eight friends and I have started somewhat of a tradition of renting a house in the middle of the woods during the fall. It’s a chance to get out of the city, to watch the leaves change, and spend some time together before the rush of the November and December holidays.

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The True Value of Taking The Greyhound To Spring Break

Fall of my senior year in college, my best friend Jill and I decided to book a cruise to the Bahamas for spring break. I saved my nannying money for the deposit, and looked forward to our splurge. When spring arrived, we still had yet to plan our transportation from our origin in Richmond, Virginia, to the Carnival port in Miami. What had previously sounded like an excellent road trip full of giggles and bad rest stop snacks had evolved into a financial nightmare. The price of gas had jumped a full dollar per gallon in the last six months, and when we looked into parking we found it would be $20 a day, which was more than our entire “fun” budget for the trip. With just over four weeks to go, we frantically investigated flights and trains, to discover, of course, that this last minute booking would be several hundred dollars. We were college students with part time jobs; we had limited funds and were not going to squander money needlessly on something boring like transportation.

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Infinite Vacation? What About a Mandatory Pre-cation?

Back in the days when I was doing the office job routine, I remember reading something about how you should try to stagger your jobs so that you have a week of (unpaid) time off between the end date of your last job and the start date of your next job—because when else are you going to have “no responsibilities” and time for a vacation?

Some companies are taking that advice to heart, and insisting their new hires take a mandatory paid “pre-cation” before starting work.

Slate describes San Franscisco real estate search engine company 42Floors, and what happened when CEO Jason Freedman implemented the pre-cation policy:

Freedman decided to begin offering pre-cations to all his new hires. “The day they get their offer letter, it’s kind of like Christmas morning, in that they have a new job and they’ve already thought through the vacation they’re about to go on. We have a guy who’s about to start next week, and he’s in Thailand right now. It’s like, ‘Yeah, have a great time! And when you get back here, work your ass off.’ ”

The difference between a pre-cation and a regular vacation is, of course, the lack of responsibility. You’re not leaving other team members in the lurch because they’re not your team members yet. You don’t have a company email inbox that’s stacking up with unread messages, and you don’t have to take your job on vacation with you because, well, your job hasn’t started.

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An Interview With a Friend Who Got Bedbugs The First (And Last) Time She Used VRBO

So, what have you been up to?

I went to Big Bear Lake, California for a bachelorette party. Twelve of us stayed atThe Moose Lodge at 209 Elgin Road, which another friend had found on VRBO. It looked great—cute cabin, moose stuff everywhere, very rustic, close to the lake… And full of bedbugs.

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The Economics of Reclining Seats During Flights

During my flight home, the passenger in front of me turned around and mumbled something, and when I said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you,” the passenger across the aisle from her said: “She asked you if it would be okay for her to recline her seat.”

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The Cost of Street Food in Delhi

Last month I moved from New York City to Delhi, first to volunteer and then to (hopefully) change careers. Finding a place willing to let me volunteer wasn’t hard; the next step is a little more daunting. In the meantime, I’ve become fascinated by Delhi’s street food. I’ve lived in India before, and while I did eat a lot of street food, I stayed away from a lot of the most delicious looking food because I was worried about getting sick. Of course, I still got sick all the time. This time I decided that if I was going to be sick either way, I might as well eat what I want. Plus, Delhi is huge, and the food on the street is so elaborate and varied and always-tempting. Most of the time I am too curious not to try.

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Visiting Hogwarts When You’re Broke

Yeah, I paid $31.12 for an enchanted (discounted) piece of plastic. But *it* chose *me.*

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The Cost of Missing Your Flight

I spent a week in Seattle recently – my sister had a wedding to attend, and I tagged along to shop and explore the city. The wedding was on a Saturday night. Our flight home was booked for the following day, connecting through O’Hare, and we were scheduled to arrive home just in time for her to get a full night’s sleep before her nursing shift early Monday morning.

We ended up missing our connection because we were stupid enough to think we had enough time between flights to go to the bathroom and get something to eat without running through O’Hare like romantic comedy heroines chasing after Chris Pine or whatever. We showed up at the gate two minutes after our plane finished boarding, and we knew it was the last flight home to Montreal that day.

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