Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Taxi wiz

I don’t know if this is old news to New Yorkers, but I found a nifty website that estimates the cab fare from point A to point B.

Check out Taxi wiz. After taking several cab rides in NYC, I find the estimates are pretty accurate (as long as there aren’t gridlocks).

Taxi wiz also provides estimates for six other cities: Las Vegas, Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago.

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I’ve been busy trying to get ready for my trip…. so my apologies for the nonexistent posting over the last week. Do I still have readers left?

One of the things I’m looking forward to is New York’s Restaurant Week, when over 200 restaurants across the city are offering 3-course prix-fixe dining for lunch ($24.07) and dinner ($35.00). It is my chance to eat at places that normally would be way, WAY out of my budget.

I am so excited. Anyone from NYC have advice on what restaurants I MUST try? I need to book my reservations soon. 🙂

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I am going to see my friend, H, today. She recently got a new job and moved to a cute new apartment about 100 miles away, so I’m visiting her before she starts work in a couple days.

Can you say EXCITED!? 🙂

I’ve decided to take the train. Round-trip tickets cost $45. Driving will cost around $35 in fuel, but I don’t want to risk traffic. And I don’t want to bring my 10-year-old, 200,000-miles car on a 200-mile round-trip. Besides, a nice, relaxing train ride is a good way to begin my mini-vacation, no?

I’ll be visiting for 2.5 days, so I shouldn’t be spending THAT much money.

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Manhattan, here I come!

I am going to the City that Never Sleeps, the Big Apple, the tiny slice of island that has captivated the imagination of Americans everywhere since its founding (do I sound like a PBS documentary?).

Pardon my excitement… but I just found out that I’ll be going to NYC for a couple of weeks later this summer, with corporate housing.

The schedule will be busy, but I am hopeful that I can carve out a couple hours here and there for museums, the Broadway, and good restaurants.
So… New York bloggers (English Major, Debt and the City, Downtown Chic, and anyone else who’ve lived/visited the area), please let me know your favorite places to eat, play, and browse in the city.

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…because fulfilling your wanderlust doesn’t come cheap.

Here are some great programs that offer free or paid travel, cultural, study, or work opportunities for students. In addition to the travel, you have the chance to make contacts, meet new people, and experience another culture and country as something other than just a tourist.

For high-schoolers:

1. Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange: American high-schoolers attend high school in Germany for a year and live with a German family. To be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident, have a GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale, and be between 15 and 18 years of age at the start of the program. Application deadline is in December.

2. Korea Society Project Bridge: Students in this cultural outreach program will participate in a yearlong series of bi-weekly meetings and a 10-day study tour to Korea in April. The tour includes visits to historical sites, the Demilitarized Zone and a home stay. High school juniors and seniors from New York City and Los Angeles are eligible.

For college students:

1. Humanity in Action: Program for students from U.S. and European countries to meet with human rights activists and authors, participate in seminars, and research minority issues in their host countries. Sophomores, juniors, or seniors at accredited 4-year colleges in the U.S. are eligible to apply. The program usually takes place in New York and the deadline is in February.

2. Freeman-ASIA: Awards of $3,000 to $7,000 (depending on length of program) are given to students for study abroad in East and Southeast Asia. Applicants must have little or no previous experience in the country in which he or she plans to study.

3. International Agricultural Internship Program: Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this internship (offered in Spring, Summer, and Fall) provides college seniors and graduate students the opportunity to work in trade offices around the world. Students earn an hourly salary at the GS-5 through GS-7 grade level. The salary level is based on education and work experience.

For twentysomethings and/or college graduates:

1. Delay the Real World: Not ready to put on a tie and do the 9-to-5? Just email your proposal and you can win $3,500 to go on your “gutsy and worthwhile” adventure. But if you want to apply for 2007, do so quickly. The deadline is April 27, 2007.

2. Watson Fellowship: A $25,000 stipend for one full year of independent travel and study outside the United States ($35,000 if you are accompanied by a spouse or a child). You take the money, then create, execute, and evaluate your own program. If you want to shoot a documentary about native plants of Latin America, this is the fellowship for you. Graduating seniors of these institutions may apply.

In addition, many universities offer fellowships to give financial assistance to students who do a project or take an internship abroad. Ask around. Make friends with the study abroad office. Some of the college-sponsored grants can be quite generous, and best of all, there is a smaller pool of competition than is found at these national scholarships.

For more opportunities, check out the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program, the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships, the Fulbright Program, the Marshall Scholarships, the Gates Cambridge Scholarships, and of course, the Rhodes Scholarships.

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Have credit, will travel

USA Today’s Young and In Debt serie presents Tolu Adeleye, a MIT Sloan graduate who charged $35,000 in credit card debt due to travels during business school (he also has $25,000 in business school loans). Out of all the stories, his is probably the one I can most relate to. I LOVE to travel, and I can understand how it’d be easy to swipe the card for plane tickets, hotels, and dinners when you’re at a top business school with prospects for a high-paying job. Now I know it’s not smart to rack up credit card debt, but I can see Tolu’s side of the story. He’s been to 22 countries! I guess you can say the experience was priceless. 😉

His $25,000 student loans was a good investment – Tolu has a $100,000+ post-MBA salary, with more opportunities for advancement. He lives in Minneapolis, so those six figures will go much farther than in New York or San Francisco. If he buckles down, I think he can pay off his debt relatively quickly.

I’ve heard that many MBA students take out more school loans than they need for tuition and room/board (which has a lower interest rate than credit cards), and just use the rest to travel. I know it’s not prudent, but when the travel bug bites, it bites hard! Most MBA students have worked for 4 to 6 years before school, and will be jumping back into the working pool after two years. B-school would probably be their only chance to be a globe-trotter for a long while, unless they become consultants or something.

Let’s see: I’ve been to Argentina, Bulgaria, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Uruguay. But some of these countries were only day trips, so they didn’t quite count. I’ve also had the pleasure of visiting England and Switzerland, but only if you count time spent in airport. Every time I get a new stamp in my passport I can’t help but smile. I want to visit Spain, Italy, and Morrocco within the next five years. Hopefully I’ll have saved something for a travel fund by the time I go to B-school.

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There are probably better rates out there, but I’ve decided to put $1,000 into Emigrant Direct’s “My Way” CD. For a minimum deposit of $1,000 and a maturity of at least 6 months, you will earn 5.20%. ING Direct has lowered their 1-year CD rate to 5.10%, so I figured this might be a good time to lock in some rates.

Speaking of money, I am thinking to just say fudge it! and take my bonus on a trip to Europe. I won’t have any time to travel in the next two years, so shouldn’t I go while I have the chance?

But… that money’s probably better served in a 529 plan (which I will do a post on once I’ve researched it some more). Damn you, rational mind!

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