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How to Make (and Keep) a Traveler’s Hippocratic Oath

Tours you can take, although we'll pass

Tours you can take, although we’ll pass

First, do no harm.

It’s an oath sworn by physicians and a pledge that every traveler should make as well. As guests in the places we visit the very least we can do is respect our hosts by not hurting their country or their people.

Unfortunately such pledges are easier made than kept. That’s especially true in areas of the world that lack strong regulations protecting vulnerable populations. It’s not uncommon to see plenty of exploitive activities marketed to tourists. And sometimes those activities are even cleverly disguised to prey on our very desire to do good.

Visiting and volunteering in a children’s orphanage in Cambodia, for example, sounds like a good way of directing your travel dollars to a worthwhile cause. That is until you learn about the fake orphanages that separate children from their parents for the sole purpose of separating tourists from their money.

So how do you travel ethically when unscrupulous tour operators do every thing they can to hide the truth of their operations? Here are some suggestions.

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How to Save a Bundle on Travel

If you’ve ever had the sneaking suspicion that online booking sites are messing with you, that’s because they are. They know where you’ve been. They may very well know your buying history and your preferences. And they’re increasingly using all of that information against you.

One thing we’ve found particularly egregious is something we’ll call “locational pricing.” That’s when different people in different locations are charged different prices for the same exact thing. Mostly we’ve found that locals get better rates than travelers even when buying stuff online. It’s an extension of the Vagabond Tax we’ve commented on previously. But at least this one you can beat.

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How to Eat Noodles With Chopsticks

How to Eat Noodles With Chopsticks

The Taste of Sour Grapes

courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik

courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik

Resentment bubbles up in the strangest of places. This morning’s bit of bile comes, oddly enough, in the form of an attack on the practice of enjoying a late morning meal with friends.

“Brunch” I learned today “is for jerks.” At least that is what I thought I’d learn by reading a New York Times Sunday Review article by David Shaftel published under that exact title. What I learned instead is not what makes people who brunch jerks, because that is never really explained, but rather how obligations can sometimes make people petty and sour. 

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