Are You in a Vacation Rut?

A few days before Irene hit the east coast, I got a call from a reporter at the Boston Herald who was shadowing President Obama and his family on Martha’s Vineyard. She wanted to know if I thought the president was in a “vacation rut.” I argued that being president means it’s tough to take advantage of a last-minute getaway, and then our conversation turned into both of us complaining about how few days people really have for vacation every year. One of the reasons people do the same thing every year is that they can’t afford to experiment out of a fear that they’ll blow the few days they’ve got on a destination they don’t like. If we had more time off, maybe we’d be a little more adventurous.

Duty Free (and Shark Troubles)

The team collaborated with USA Today last week on a story about whether duty free will really save you money. The version of the story was written by Lisa Cheng and edited by Amy Chen, who did all the heavy lifting. The takeaway from the story is pretty basic: There are so many loop holes and product inconsistencies that the only people who really save by buying at these shops are cigarette smokers who live in U.S. states that tax their purchases heavily.

I could explain all the ins and outs, but luckily Amy appeared on Rudy Maxa’s travel show on Saturday and did it better than I could.

If you read of my death in a tragic shark incident, know that it was pre-meditated. In a moment of misplaced bravado, I told’s John Giuffo that “Sharks are chumps.” I attempted to retract the quote out of fear that sharks would be offended, but John pointed out that I had bigger things to worry about if sharks ever learned how to read.