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Winter Travel Special: Location, Location, Location

The classic HBS student struggle continues: Lots of time, no money – versus – lots of money, no time.

After careful consideration, my wife and I decided that Citiassist is there to take advantage of, and so we should exploit the “lots of time” while we have it this coming winter break.

The next big step is debating what kind of trip to do and where to go. It has become akin to choosing the right cold medicine: tons of choices, all will get the job done, and all cost a fortune. So how to decide? Do you join a HBS mass journey and descend on some exotic country like a tour group of retired Floridians? Do you select a few “choice” friends and test your burgeoning friendship with some travel alone together? Do you go away with your parents because it is free? Or do you go away with your sweetheart to re-kindle the flame that HBS has thrown cold water on?

As an older and wiser EC student, I have already experienced the first three options and as such, I know that I must venture into “rekindling the flame-land.” All we need now is to decide where. Europe, South or Central America, Asia, Africa, New Jersey? All exotic choices, all with people speaking strange dialects, all have a level of danger to which we are not accustomed here in Boston.

A couple other considerations for us are that we are frighteningly pale from living up here, so a tan would be nice, and we’re also avid outdoors people. So do we pick a place conducive to an active trip?

After significant debate, we decided that Costa Rica has the perfect balance of what we are looking for. It is far enough away from home that we feel like we are doing something we wouldn’t normally do. It is relatively safe (knock on wood). It is cheap with three and four star hotels costing $80-$100 per night and food is practically free.

The weather is tropical. It has an element of romance with abundant hot springs, pacific views and Latin music. There are tons of activities to keep us busy including white water rafting, canopying through a rain forest, scuba diving, surfing, hiking volcanoes, and mountain biking.

Best of all, it is only 35,000 frequent flyer miles to get there!

Whatever decision you personally make, my recommendations would be the following:

 Go with people that have similar travel habits as you (i.e. same sleeping, nightlife or activity intentions).
 Go some place that you won’t be able to enjoy after school because the jobs we will all be forced to accept will only allow one-week vacation.
 There is tons of time to travel over the two years, so don’t try to cram it all into one trip
 Most importantly, just go! I promise you, this is the best chance in our lives to see the world so whatever you can do, surely will be memorable.
Or as the great e e cummings put it, “I’m living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart.”

October 28, 2002
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