Tag: travel (page 1 of 4)

Hyperbolic discounting applied to habit-formation

We live near the middle of town, a five minute walk to the leisure centre — and less than that to get to the shops. As a result, we don’t use our cars at all for three days of the week, and I go to the gym at the leisure centre every day.

My grandmother, who wasn’t well-off and who rented all her life, used to ensure that she lived right next to a bus stop. Although she wouldn’t have used the phrase from this article, she knew that she was more likely to travel and get places that way!

You may have heard of hyperbolic discounting from behavioral economics: people will generally disproportionally, i.e. hyperbolically, discount the value of something the farther off it is. The average person judges $15 now as equivalent to $30 in 3-months (an annual rate of return of 277%!).


But what about when something is farther off in space rather than time?

Say a 1-hour activity is 10 minutes away, compared to 5 minutes away. The total time usage would be 80 vs 70 minutes, about 15% longer. A linear model would predict that it would feel 15% more costly, and then proportionally affect your likelihood of going. In practice though, an extra 10 or 20 minutes of travel time will somehow frequently nudge you into non-participation.

Source: Hyperbolic Distance Discounting | Atoms vs Bits

Travelling light

There’s some good tips about travelling light and the kind of gear to buy, which trade-offs, to make, etc. in this guide. Interestingly, it’s from one of the founders of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin. I’m not sure what I think of him, to be honest, but this guide is useful, nevertheless.

I have lived as a nomad for the last nine years, taking 360 flights travelling over 1.5 million kilometers (assuming flight paths are straight, ignoring layovers) during that time. During this time, I’ve considerably optimized the luggage I carry along with me: from a 60-liter shoulder bag with a separate laptop bag, to a 60-liter shoulder bag that can contain the laptop bag, and now to a 40-liter packpage that can contain the laptop bag along with all the supplies I need to live my life.


As a point of high-level organization, notice the bag-inside-a-bag structure. I have a T-shirt bag, an underwear bag, a sock bag, a toiletries bag, a dirty-laundry bag, a medicine bag, a laptop bag, and various small bags inside the inner compartment of my backpack, which all fit into a 40-liter Hynes Eagle backpack. This structure makes it easy to keep things organized.


As you might have noticed, a key ingredient in making this work is to be a USBC maximalist. You should strive to ensure that every single thing you buy is USBC-friendly. Your laptop, your phone, your toothbrush, everything. This ensures that you don’t need to carry any extra equipment beyond one charger and 1-2 charging cables. In the last ~3 years, it has become much easier to live the USBC maximalist life; enjoy it!

Source: My 40-liter backpack travel guide

Somebody please tell the travel industry there’s a climate emergency

Utter madness.

German giant Lufthansa said it would have to fly an additional 18,000 “unnecessary” flights through the winter to hold on to landing slots. Even if the holidays brought a big increase in passengers — marked by thousands of flight cancellations that left travelers stranded — the rest of the winter period could be slow as omicron surges worldwide.

Landing and departure slots for popular routes in the biggest airports are an extremely precious commodity in the industry, and to keep them, airlines have to guarantee a high percentage of flights. It is why loss-making flights have to be maintained to ensure companies keep their slots.

It was an accepted practice despite the pollution concerns, but the pandemic slump in flying put that in question. Normally, airlines had to use 80% of their given slots to preserve their rights, but the EU has cut that to 50% to ensure as few empty or near-empty planes crisscross the sky as possible.

Source: Near-empty flights crisscross Europe to secure landing slots | AP News