10 Days in California for $500

Last winter I returned to the U.S. after living in Paris for two years. I had spent almost all of my money and was plagued with doubt over where to build my life in America. With no plans, no job, and the glories of my home country intriguing me in a way they never had before, I got the itch for a road trip. I disregarded the fact that I don’t really, you know, drive, and decided to visit a few friends and relatives along the West Coast to see if one of those cities could be my new home.

How Real People Afford to Travel the World For Extended Periods of Time

Here's my story: In 2013, my partner and I took six months off to travel around the world, starting in Asia, moving on to Europe and finishing up in North America.

My Last Hundred Bucks, Spent Mostly at the Airport

Where'd your last hundo go, Kelly Maxwell?

The Way I Get By: Confessions of a Flight Attendant’s Daughter

I have luck with just one thing in life, but it’s a big thing: planes. As in, I’m always, somehow, against all odds, managing to get on them. Let me explain. My Mom is a flight attendant and one of the perks of the gig is that her family members can fly for free, so long as they fly in space available seats — those never purchased or that belong to people who, for one reason or another, never show up. Since most flights are oversold versus ever having empty seats, I’m usually in the morally compromising position of betting on other people’s bad luck; hoping, but trying not to hope, that somebody will miss their connection or get stuck in security, so I can take their spot.

Vacations I’ve Taken And What They’ve Cost Me

The week before we left for Hawaii, someone stole my debit card and spent what little I had in my checking account at a Target somewhere in the middle of the country. I spent hours on the phone to the bank, trying to figure out if I would have money before getting on a plane and zipping off to an island where I presumed I’d need to spend money.

Earning 315,000 Credit Card Points in Less Than a Year

You’ve seen the stories about people who earn all kinds of free travel rewards with credit cards. But perhaps you think it’s too complicated or too much of a hassle. Or maybe you are worried about how applying for all those cards will affect your credit.

Neighborhoods in U.S. Cities the French Government Warns Its Traveling Citizens to Avoid

The Washington Post has a list of 16 cities in the U.S. that France warns their citizens about, with reasons or advice to stay vigilant. The advice is generally to keep an eye out on your pocketbooks when in high-tourist areas like Times Square in New York, but it's also about avoiding areas like Harlem in NYC, Anacostia in Washington D.C., the West Side of Chicago, and Inglewood in Los Angeles (see a trend here?).

Pay to Play in Business School

Business School is not just about the degree but about the experience, which means students shell out tens of thousands of dollars above and beyond tuition, whether they have the money or not. Are the extracurricular activities worth going (further) into debt for?

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, says Jeremy Shinewald, founder of mbaMission, an M.B.A. admissions consulting firm based in New York. “My father went to business school a generation ago as a married 25-year-old, and I can assure you he has no stories of jetting off to Vegas for the weekend,” says Mr. Shinewald, who is 38.

The trips usually aren’t free, often adding a shadow budget to an already expensive M.B.A. “I would say that $5,000 total for two years is a low to moderate budget, but is one that would still allow a student to experience significant social and academic travel opportunities,” says Mr. Shinewald, whose firm works with M.B.A. applicants. At the high end, $20,000 to $30,000 for two years is not uncommon, he says.

Some of the trips are vacations, excuses sponsored by Rolex for the rich, or proto-rich, to have fun. Still, even those are bonding-experiences; those trips, and the others that are more straightforwardly career-oriented, alike help students network with each other and with future employers. So plenty of students suck up the costs, thinking of them as an “investment.”

In 2003, Mr. Caballero, then a second-year student at the Sloan School of Management at M.I.T., received internship offers from Intel and Cisco Systems after leading a career trek to Silicon Valley. “I got interviews at firms, and I certainly feel more comfortable reaching out to the people I went on the career trek with for favors than the average classmate,” says Mr. Caballero, 36, now vice president for programming at the nonprofit Venture for America, based in New York.

Did you try B-school? Was this your experience? Or is it emblematic of why you’d rather get Rubella than an MBA?

A Respite From Winter

Mike: Meaghan you went on vacation for a little bit—when was this planned and how did you decide where to go?

The Best Thing I Bought for My Trip Around the World Was Travel Insurance

I dithered a little about buying travel insurance for my solo trip around the world. I’m young and healthy, and what’s an adventure if some bean counter has insured me against all the risks of taking the world by storm? I’d probably never need to make a claim, and then I’d have wasted that money, when I could have spent it on a mountain trek in Laos instead. Then again, I’m remarkably accident prone, and if I fell off a mountain in Laos and needed emergency evacuation, I’d be screwed without an insurance policy.

I planned to be on the road for a year, the realization of a dream a decade old. I bought a policy through World Nomads, a company that specializes in insurance for longer-term travelers. I could get the Standard plan or, for $30 more a month, the Explorer plan. I like to see new places, but I’m no adrenaline junkie, and I figured I’d just need the Standard, until I saw that snorkeling was under the same coverage as extreme activities like base jumping and parachuting. Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef was on my agenda, so I became an Explorer. For $100 a month, I was covered for injury and illness, emergency evacuation, loss of luggage, canceled flights, and some liability on car rentals.

Was it worth it?

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