Thursday, February 27, 2014

Is your holiday destination safe enough?

Thailand? Ukraine?
No! Lausanne, Switzerland, September 2007
You had been looking forward to your great vacation until headlines started popping up in the news about trouble in your expected destination. What to do now? Should you change your plans or brush off the bad news as media hype? This is an increasingly frequent dilemma with the growing popularity of holiday destinations in emerging countries which tend to be less stable and mature, politically or socially, than the “old” world, which is, in part, why they are called “emerging”! The Arab Spring affected the entire Mediterranean southern coast, shutting down the most popular holiday destinations from Algeria to Egypt. Now it is Ukraine, Venezuela and Thailand, all at once.

Thailand is the most visible example being the most frequently affected destination by the popular protests and demonstrations that we currently see on the news, and yet remains one of the most popular destinations in the world. A chronic political crisis going back a very long time erupts in the streets of Bangkok every couple years which, as would be expected, makes for news headlines that have nothing to do with its famous beaches and delightful people. But Thailand is also the best example of a destination where the effects of unrest are magnified and generalized by both traditional and social media causing tourists to cancel or change their destination to another country even if their intended holiday spot is nowhere near any disturbance.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

How to pack a suitcase: the missing bit!

No! This is not about the fold, the roll, the stuffing … if you need help with that, Google will give you 13 millions results to show you how. Many of them even have how-to video with all the tricks. But what about the weight? Oddly enough, very few pages bring up it up even though that could become your vacation shock expense.

Adding a 20kg piece of luggage to your low cost flight is reasonable enough, I booked an EasyJet flight and the 20kg luggage was only 26 Euro, 1.30 Euro per kilo. You can even add two more bags of 20kg each for another 26 Euro each. Fair price. But what happen if your bag is 23kg or 26kg? That's going to cost you, respectively, 50 or 74 Euro per bag. Meaning that every kilo over 20kg will cost you 6 Euro each! Instead, book a second 20kg suitcase, pay 52 Euro and now you can pack up to 40kg!