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Ask the Harbuster

Life at HBS, like Joaquin Phoenix, can be difficult, volatile and totally uninsurable. But, unlike Joaquin Phoenix, life at HBS is something we at The Harbus can help you with.

Are you anxious about academics, confused about campus, skeptical about socializing, or adamant about alliteration? Our resident Harbuster, Daniel Selikowitz (NC), knows absolutely nothing about any of these things – but that won’t stop him from answering your questions.

Not-So-Bon Voyage

Dear Harbuster,

I feel like everyone at HBS is constantly traveling, but every weekend I find myself stuck here in Boston. How am I supposed to keep up with all these jetsetters?

Homebody (NG)

Dear Homebody,

St. Augustine famously wrote that “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” Yes, I know what you’re thinking: That’s all well and good for St. Augustine, but he didn’t have to refinance his student loans for a 36-hour trip to Iceland and make it back in time to read BIGE. But, if you can restrain your cynicism for two minutes, I’ll do my best to help you out.

Travel is one of the most exciting, eye-opening and NPV-negative parts of the HBS experience. By taking us out of our comfort zone, and transporting us to an even more lavish comfort zone just south of Cancun, travel gives us the opportunity to see new sights, explore exotic cultures, and drink enough caipirinhas to kill a small horse.

But, despite these many advantages, HBS travel can put you into sleep debt (not to mention actual debt) faster than you can say “Oktoberfest.” Is it possible to manage your travel in a way that’s economically, academically and biologically sustainable? Maybe. Here are my three tried, tested and occasionally successful techniques:

  1. Get to the Points: Any ex-consultant can (and will) tell you that paying for flights and hotel rooms is for chumps. Thanks to SPG, HH, AA, UA, BA and thousands of other loyalty-related acronyms, 20% of the student body has enough miles and points to live the rest of their lives in a Hilton Garden Inn near Alewife. If you are part of this 20%, stop reading this article immediately and go back to eating your welcome amenity. If, however, you are not part of the PowerPoint=savvy 20%, take it upon yourself to cash in on their lingering fringe benefits. Befriend them. Adopt their name and mannerisms. Hide in their suitcase. Dress up as their suitcase. Eat their suitcase. As they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. But don’t actually skin a cat, because you’ll go to jail for animal cruelty.
  2. Pull some shoestrings: At this point in the semester, it may be hard to remember a time when you didn’t live in an opulent country club with fireplaces, a mahogany-paneled gymnasium, and a vending machine that dispenses Tylenol. But, believe it or not, there are “other” kinds of places out there – and, from time to time, it can be fun to “slum it” (I believe that’s what the young people call it these days). Swap hotels for hostels; beachfront for swampfront; Michelin stars for Michelin tires; and New York New York for Circus Circus. There’s nothing like getting a bargain! And remember: a penny saved is a penny earned, and a penny earned is pretty useless because no one uses pennies anymore.
  3. Take a staycation: If all else fails, enjoy the experience of being a tourist in your own city. Boston may not be a bustling metropolis like New York, a culinary hotspot like Tokyo, or a remote Danish fishing village like Dragør. Nevertheless, it offers many great attractions to keep you entertained. Whether you feel like walking the Freedom Trail in the morning and taking a Duck Tour in the afternoon, or you’d prefer to take the Duck Tour in the morning and walk the Freedom Trail in the afternoon, there’s something for everyone in Massachusetts’ historic capital.

Happy travels!

Harbuster

Got a question for the Harbuster? Send it to eic@harbus.org, and you just might get an answer. Probably not, though.

 

July 5, 2013
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