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trippin' out

My partner and I are thinking of taking a quick trip somewhere warm to make this brutal, tail end of winter a little bit more bearable. Cash is pretty tight, but we can swing a few days in the Caribbean somewhere, as long as it’s not too pricey. So I’ve been looking at package deals for a number of destinations, and the cheapest thing I’ve found is in Haiti. I think we all know why the discount. Should I feel guilty about that? Because I do.

I also found a pretty good deal on an all-inclusive resort on Barbados, but its history as a hub of the slave trade also make me feel a little bit queasy about the prospect of frolicking on its beaches. And then there’s Jamaica, which is so impoverished...

—Tourist Blues

Strictly Classified says: Maybe you should go to Haiti. Assuage your guilt with a little time volunteering for some cause while you are there. I am sure more than a few of the NGOs operating in Haiti would love two extra pairs of hands.

The Practical Cogitator says: Vacation planning can be difficult. You seem to be looking for a warm resort trip, but you don’t want to actually “see” any of the indigenous people, and it should be cheap, too? I think you should go for an all inclusive Priceline trip to anywhere in the Caribbean—Breezes, Sandals, Club Med something along those lines. The only thing you will see is the airport and the resort. A shuttle will pick you up and drive you directly to your resort where you will be fed American-style meals. You can relax on beaches and you will see little or no poverty, and you won’t have to try any strange food that you aren’t used to eating.

On second thought, perhaps someone such as yourself, who doesn’t want to see any poverty or visit a place that is under duress, should consider a short trip to Fort Lauderdale. Better you stay on the continental US where everything is perfect and comfortable, and you won’t have to look at or see anything different than you aren’t used to already.

The Sales Guy says: Going through this prolonged cold snap as well, I can truly say I feel your pain. My reaction to your problem is this: There really isn’t a problem.

The number one industry in the Caribbean is tourism. It’s what keeps the islands from even greater poverty and is the primary employer for its citizens. As far as which destination is best from the three you mentioned, I’d say Barbados. It’s beautiful, and the people are proud of the fact that they have been ranked number one routinely as having the highest percentage of literacy on the planet by the UN. Great beaches and shops, too!

They seem to be over the whole slave thing. Coming from the country with the most embarrassing slave-owning record in the Western hemisphere, you should git over it, too.


My boyfriend is terrible with money. Never knows what his bank balance is, spends it like water, uses ATMs that charge a fee, pays $10 for something he can get for $5 across the street. He forgets to pay bills, pays them late, ignores notices that must be killing his credit rating. He’s not broke—he’s got a good job, and so it’s tricky giving him a hard time about it. He always has money, much more than I do, and he pays for everything, so who am I to complain?

But things are getting serious, and we’re talking about buying a house together. Both names on the mortgage. I want to do it, and I can’t afford to do it alone. I’m terrified that his careless ways will corrupt my own meticulously managed finances. He doesn’t want me or anyone else managing his money. So what do I do?

The Economist

Strictly Classified says: I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but run far and run fast! Monetary issues are a leading cause of strife, marital and otherwise. Get out while you can!

The Pirate says: Baby, ain’t you heard the news? There ain’t no poor house anymore. No debtor’s prison. If you love the guy, why not lighten up and enjoy yourself a little more? Life is short. What do you want them to say about you at your funeral? “Although she lived alone her entire life, she had an immaculate credit score.”

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