Friday, June 03, 2005

It’s Vacation Time Again

Planning the family vacation used to be simple. You could buy one of those map books that look like a diagram of the human circulatory system and wander around in your car. You could go for the LCD holiday plan: pick the lowest common denominator destination in an attempt to make everyone happy (and actually make everybody miserable). You could decide that your family is not worthy of a vacation and visit the in-laws instead. Or you could go to a travel agent for professional help and to look at pictures of the hotel that is 11 miles up the beach from the refugee centre you will be booked into. After the vacation it was simple too. You could go to a therapist for professional help. You could go to a divorce lawyer for professional help. You could find a nice boarding school for the kiddies in Kazakhstan.

The Internet has made things much more complicated now. The world is at your fingertips and the factors to be considered in designing that dream holiday are overwhelming. Unfortunately, high-jackings, bombings, and kidnappings have edged their way higher on the list than the recommended sun-block factor or whether little Johnny and Susie’s Activity Director will be sober after the previous night’s staff party. Thankfully, Aon Insurance has come to the rescue. Their crack team of actuaries has applied its skills to risk levels around the world. They have announced their annual list of the world’s most terror free countries just in time for the holiday season. Aon has brought simplicity back to planning the family vacation.

Forget most of Europe. London has the same terror risk as Kabul. (The fact that most of the male natives of Kabul are driving mini-cabs in London may have had an effect on this risk analysis.) Forget most of Africa. You don’t have to go through the websites for Chad or Djibouti. Scratch North America and most of South America from your list. A lot of Southeast Asia, Australia and the Middle East are unsafe as well. From the almost 200 countries that all have paid adverts on Orbitz and, the fun loving guys at Aon have whittled the list down to six: Uruguay, Vietnam, Botswana, Mongolia, North Korea and Greenland. Conde Nast Traveller raves about Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital. It is ‘contemplative, dusty, and with an air of decay’. Vietnam is fun and will be even more attractive after vaccines for avian flu and swine flu have been developed. Botswana could be the place. Being eaten by a lion or trampled by an elephant makes for some really exciting holiday snapshots. Mongolia is one of those ‘undiscovered destinations’ the holiday planners love to bang on about. Among the undiscovered features are running water, medicine, and any convenience foods other than yakburgers. North Korea is a paradise for the weight conscious traveler but security factors could change if the Beloved Leader decides to drop a nuclear bomb on Tokyo or Dubuque, Iowa. Greenland has real potential for Americans and Europeans. There’s time for three drinks from the trolley before it’s time to buckle up for landing. There’s no time to force feed you the rubber chicken. There’s also very little chance of little Johnny or Susie getting lost in a crowd. On the maps of most countries, the dots represent villages, towns and cities. On the map of Greenland, the dots represent individual people.

Could this list of exciting vacation destinations be based on more than rigidly researched statistical science? Is it possible that actuaries actually have a sense of humor?


Blogger planetmoron said...

My own research suggests that the only safe place for me to vacation is my back yard. Actually the left half since I have neighbors. And that assumes my wife has taken the dogs out, otherwise it's back to the basement where I hide the Van Gogh. (The gin, not the painting.)

(Welcome back!)

11:37 AM  
Blogger Abby Taylor said...

I guess it all depends on your definition of "terror."

Yes, welcome back. What did you bring us?

12:20 AM  
Blogger Whymrhymer said...

With those choices, I might vacation on the Mexican Border with the Vigillantes -- whoops I mean the Minutemen.

Greatly entertaining post and, nah! actuaries have no sense of humor.

9:53 PM  

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