Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cost-cutting Tips from the Gray Lady

Commentators have been breathlessly covering America's "new thriftiness," so what better way to start the year off than with some money saving travel tips from the NY Times? (You can also access the article on the NY Times site at or via the "zum artikel" button on the site I linked above.)

My favorite is probably the recommendation to buy tickets on Tuesdays and to start looking for deals three to four months in advance. One of my travel concerns has always been that by buying my tickets on the "wrong" day I'm needlessly wasting money that could have been wasted on other things, so now at least I can act on the right day. But it will probably be the wrong week. Cue Dr. John. But according to tip #4 in the article, will help me get a refund if my ticket price drops after I buy it. I'm definitely going to look into it, and if it works, the drinks are on me!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Tourist By Any Other Name…

The slow boat down the Mekong certainly lived up to its name. The two-day journey through Laos from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang seemed even longer, the creeping of time accentuated by less than comfortable conditions. Our narrow wooden craft was crammed with people who, like my buddy Wyatt and me, were making the Thailand-Laos loop, armed with dog-eared Lonely Planet guidebooks. In addition to the thirty or forty foreigners, the boat housed an increasing number of locals who literally jumped on board after being ferried to our floating canopied prison.

Wyatt enjoying the ride.

Slow Boats Awaiting Prisoners

Our discomfort and growing safety concerns were quickly thrust out of mind when the woman from New Jersey loudly declared to her unfortunate seatmate, “I’m not a tourist; I’m a traveler.” There was no avoiding her monologue, “I’m here to experience life. When my second husband left me…” We looked longingly out at the “fast boats” speeding past us. Sure, those helmet-wearing passengers were clearly risking life and limb, but at that point we just wanted out. It didn’t matter whether Ms. New Jersey was a traveler or a tourist; she was inescapably annoying.
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Gotta Gettaway by Josh Lewis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.