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This Week In Travel And Health




While much of the U.S.-based media took their nose off the grindstone this week, there was some very interesting news from abroad, particularly for expatriates.

One of the big factors most people consider (or should consider) when contemplating a move overseas is the cost of healthcare. And, according to a new study from Towers Watson, the cost of healthcare around the world continues to rise virtually unabated.  The survey focused on the cost of healthcare provided by employers – which is predicted to rise by 9.6 percent globally in 2012. Towers Watson says costs are expected to rise by double digit percentages in four out of five global regions; only Europe will have a single digit increase.

Meanwhile in India, the world’s second most populous country is considering a policy switch that should be attractive to expatriates – providing essential drugs for free in state-run hospitals. The New York Times reports that the $5 billion proposal would be a significant step towards providing more comprehensive healthcare in India. Currently, India spends just 1.4 percent of its Gross Domestic Product on healthcare. Compare that to the United States, where we spend approximately 17 percent of G.D.P. on healthcare.

The Economist reports on a new survey that deems Hong Kong as the world’s most livable city. The study is a “spatially adjusted livability index,” which combined the Economist’s livability rankings with factors such as green space, sprawl, natural assets, cultural assets, connectivity, isolation and pollution. 

Travel-sharing has become big business. There are plenty of sites that cater to travelers looking for more affordable accommodations by connecting them to residents in far-flung locales who are willing to rent out a room for the weekend or a few days. USA Today’s Laura Bly reports that travel-sharing leader Airbnb’s business is booming. And at the New York Times, David Page reports on some off-beat adventures you can have all around the globe.

We’ve written plenty about the role that food plays in our travels – the fact that food is often times a gateway into a new culture. And nowhere does food and culture get mashed together more delightfully that in a robust marketplace that offers the freshest local cuisine. CNNGO’s Lina Goldberg offers her opinion of the ten best “fresh markets” in the world.

Wherever you travel, you’re often hoping to make memories to last a lifetime. But it’s hard to capture those memories visually because the photographic process tends to interrupt the moment. But not anymore – at least at some resorts, which are offering professional photographic packages for guests. Just think – you can hire your very own paparazzi!


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Linda Barbara

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