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The Diary of Anne Ku
10 May 2000 Wednesday
This has to be the best time of the year to go on holiday. The weather is unpredictable, so why stay in England? Bargains galore! Flights from London on Ryan Air go as low as STG 19 one way. It's the expectation of getting a good deal that drives the desire to go away.
I used to depend on http://www.Lastminute.Com for the best prices. Then I discovered, they don't have the best prices and their database query engine doesn't always work. Their recent IPO has gotten a lot of people in this country quite irrate: miniscule share offering after a last-minute increase in offer price.... thereafter share prices plummeted. No wonder someone did a spoof site: http://www.lostminute.com Anyhow, I use Lastminute.Com and their email newsletter to get an indicator... then set about finding a better deal elsewhere. I suppose this is bad news for the websites that have really good databases and search engines.
Surfing the internet is time-consuming if you don't know where to go. Forget about asking a travel agent - the minimum requirement is to know your destination.
So the way to do it, I figure, is to take a poll. One evening in a densely packed steam room, amidst half-naked bodies, I asked the question: where would you go for a week? Iceland. Malta. Greece. Spain. Well, that still didn't narrow it down to one destination.
I tried another method. I visited bookstores. This made it even more difficult - because every place has its pros and cons. I have also been religiously following the TRAVEL REVIEWS sections of local newspapers. Again, so many possibilities.
Finally, I decided to treat this dilemma as an optimisation problem. I want to leave on a particular day (mid-week), from a particular airport (not Gatwick), for a duration of less than 7 days, fly direct, somewhere with a nice beach, away from tourists, and preferably under STG 200, including 3-star accommodation.
Guess what? I got nothing.
All is not lost, however. When in decision dilemma, abdicate. Give it to someone else. And sure enough, I got an incredible deal: direct flight to a Greek island, including 7 nights accommodation in a 3-star hotel for STG 150, all inclusive. Not bad, eh? Given that I had nothing to do with the results.