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The Strange Math of Traveling Without a Plan

Vancouver Chinatown

I meant to go here

Is it possible to get nothing for something and still think you’ve gotten a good deal? Apparently, the answer to that question is yes. Or at least that’s my conclusion after reading an unintentionally hilarious report about how one last minute traveler “scored a good-value award on Cathay Pacific” Airlines.

The short version of this story is that a traveler hadn’t researched or booked parts of his itinerary and, as a result, was having difficulty piecing together some needed flights. Unfortunately, the only flight that fit his needs “was pricing out at a whopping $678, even for economy! That was way too much money for me to shell out,” he writes.

After working some travel hacking magic, the hero of this story manages to book that same flight for $111 plus 2,500 Avios points. Triumphantly he exclaims that the $567 he saved in airfare got him a redemption value on his frequent flyer miles of “a whopping 22.7 cents per point!”

And it’s true. After putting himself in a bind by not booking his flight ahead, he was able to partially avoid a steep penalty by using frequent flyer points.

But here’s the thing: he could have booked an identical flight in advance for $113. So instead of saving $567 he really spent 2,500 Avios points to purchase a ticket for $111 that he otherwise could have bought for $113. That $2 in savings works out to an abysmal .08 cents per point!

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Girona, City of Gardens (and Stairs)

Girona Collegiate Church of Sant Feliu Spire

It’s easy to see why the Catalonian city of Girona has endured 25 sieges and fallen to enemy forces on seven different occasions. It’s a place you really do want all for yourself. And on our first night in town, we had exactly that.

The day-trippers had all gone for the day. Girona is just an hour’s train ride from Barcelona, making it a quick-hit destination for many. They were mostly leaving just as we arrived. 

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Aspirational Travel Photo

Moonshot

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, 
Or what’s a heaven for?” 

- Robert Browning

Unusual Parishioners

Geese at Barcelona Cathedral

For the past five centuries, the Barcelona Cathedral has housed an unusual guest within its cloisters. As a matter of tradition, the church maintains a gaggle of 13 geese in honor of Barcelona’s patron saint Eulalia, who according to legend died at the age of 13 after enduring 13 different tortures at the hands of roman soldiers. 

Gaudí’s Barcelona: Gaudy or Gorgeous?

Guadi Barcelona La Sagrada Familia

The facade of Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia

Barcelona wouldn’t be as colorful without Antoni Gaudí. Hailed as a visionary by some and a madman by others, the innovative architect left his mark across the city, from lampposts in the Plaza Real–one of his earliest commissions–to his last, still-unfinished work, the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia.

Gaudí threw classic architectural rules out the window. At the forefront of the 19th-century Modernisme style, he drew inspiration from nature and organic forms. He combined vibrant colors, curved lines, and Moorish and Gothic elements with a healthy dose of creativity. Trees, flowers, fruit, and seashells fired his imagination and so did more dramatic images like dragons and skulls.

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