Archive for the 'Economy' Category

How to Efficiently Pack a Suitcase

The widespread implementation of checked bag fees has made all of us want to travel lighter and bring more with less bags. It turns out though that many of us don’t know how to get the most out of a suitcase. Packing efficiently will save you lots of time, money and space wherever you go and Gizmodo has a great article on how to do just that. Here’s their main points:

Don’t bring what you don’t need:
Here’s how much of each article of clothing you should pack and it’s not as many as you think:

Socks and underwear: One pair of each per day traveled.
Shirts and dresses: Two less than the total trip length. Wear the same outfit on the flight there and back.
Pants: A pair of jeans for every other day. These can be replaced with slacks if the occasion calls for them.
Shoes: A pair of sneakers or sandals. Bring boots or formal shoes if needed. If you need to bring boots, wear them on the flight.
Coats and Jackets: Wear these on your flight. If you’re going to a warm weather destination don’t even bother with them.
Toiletries: Pack the essentials in a small bag. Make sure any liquids are in a TSA compliant container.

Know the Weather: Take a look at the extended forecast for your destination and pack accordingly.

Roll or Fold:
Roll anything that you don’t mind getting wrinkled. It is far more space efficient. Folding should only be reserved for nicer clothing that you don’t want to iron later.

The Order of Packing:

1. Stuff your shoes full with socks and underwear and put the shoes in first.
2. Put in your heaver rolled items like jeans and sweatshirts squeezed in as tightly as possible.
3 (optional). Put in any fragile items you have. Putting them in the middle will make sure they’re cushioned at all times.
4. Put in the lighter tightly rolled items like t-shirts and underwear
5. On top of all of that place your nicer, folded clothing.
6. Stuff any other lightweight items into the sides.
7. Put your toiletries bag on top.

Coming Home
You can be less precise in your packing on the return trip. I recommend investing in a compressor bag like this one for all of your dirty clothes. At this point you probably don’t really care about wrinkling your dirty clothes so just use a compressor bag to drastically reduce the space taken up by your clothing. This will allow you ample space to fit souvenirs from your trip.


This doesn’t have to be you.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

New York City in the 1990s

New York City or really any major city in the world is in a constant state of change. Old buildings are being torn down while new ones rise up to take their place. Even more buildings are finding themselves remodeled to meet the needs of their current occupants. New business are starting up while others are shutting down. New bike sharing programs are being added to the streets while old rail lines are becoming public parks. I received a reminder about this fact of life when I saw this wonderful collection of photographs of New York City in the 1990s. I always find it somewhat remarkable seeing pictures of old businesses that no longer exist even going back to the not-too-distant past of the 1990s. Pictures like these are a good way to tell what has changed and what has stayed the same over time.


That was back when MTV actually broadcasted music.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

The Lottery Explained By Math

The Mega Millions jackpot is approaching record levels. At the time of this posting the jackpot is currently $636 million. I am currently involved in two lottery pools here at Churchill and would absolutely love to be instantly wealthy from sheer dumb luck. But even though I currently have a stake in about 100 sets of numbers, I’m well aware of the odds. Gizmodo has a good list of things that are more likely to happen than winning the grand prize tonight. Among the highlights are:

Houston Astros Winning the 2014 World Series: 200-to-1
Bowling a Perfect 300: 11,500-to-1
Dating a Supermodel: 88,000-to-1
Getting Struck by Lightning: 576,000-to-1
Being Canonized: 20,000,000-to-1

Business Insider also has a great article concerning the math behind the lottery. I won’t bore you with the various regression analyses but I’ll share some of their conclusions.

1. The takes are incredibly high if you take the lump-sum jackpot. All of it is taxed as earned income so just in federal income tax you’ll be paying 39.5 percent of your winnings straight to the federal government. Taking the money as a 30 year annuity will significantly reduce your tax burden if you win, as will moving to a state without an income tax.

2. According to their math it only makes sense to buy in when the jackpot exceeds $380 million.

3. Try to play in smaller state lotteries that don’t get much press. The odds of winning those are much higher (though still ridiculously low.)

Don’t spend too much money on lottery tickets though. For the most part you’re only buying a daydream and you can do that for free. Just remember putting $20 into a retirement vehicle like a 401(k) or IRA will yield you far more money in the future than hoping for the best with the Mega Millions.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

There’s About $1 Billion Worth of Unredeemed Gift Cards in America

I never liked getting store gift cards as a present. The intent is certainly nice. The person giving it to you usually has no idea what you actually want and they’re giving you some money towards something you can get for yourself. This is what annoys me though. Many gift cards have expiration dates and restrict you to buying from a certain store. If that store has what you really want then that’s fine but what if it doesn’t? What do you do then? Gift cards are incredibly easy to re-gift and you could always sell it off on a site like Cardpool for some actual cash.

There are some people who absolutely love gift cards and those are the stores that sell them. Why is that? There is a good chance that a customer with a gift card will either spend more than the entire value of the gift card on their trip or they’ll spend less than the card’s value. Either way the store makes more money than if the customer was paying the total sticker price of their purchases. Also every year about one percent of the total balances on gift cards go unredeemed. Considering that about over $100 billion worth of gift cards are sold each year, that comes out to about $1 billion in pure profit retailers get every year. I’m not against businesses making money but I hate seeing stories of consumers wasting money. If you’re considering buying someone a gift card for Christmas this year, just give them some cold hard cash instead. It may seem a bit more impersonal but the recipient has way more options on what they can do with it and it will be more appreciated.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

The First Skyscraper to Generate Its Own Energy is Now Under Construction

We’ve been building skyscrapers for more than a century now and for past few decades cities all over the world were engaged in an arms race to try and be home to the world’s tallest building. Ever since the current record holder, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, was completed in 2009, that race seems to have died down. That is one of the many consequences of a global recession caused by a crash in the real estate market. However, it was recently announced that there will be a new skyscraper completed by 2020 that will be the first of it’s kind. Instead of trying build the world’s tallest building, Indonesia’s state-owned energy company Pertamina will be building a skyscraper that is designed to generate it’s own electricity. The tower is designed to open up at the top which will create a wind tunnel. Those winds will power turbines and generators and it is estimated that those generators will satisfy about 25 percent of the building’s energy demand. It’s not entirely self-sufficient but it will significantly reduce the demand it places on the city’s power grid which is far more than any other skyscraper can claim. I think that this skyscraper is going to be the first of its kind and future buildings are only going to emulate and improve upon this model.


Jakarta’s future skyline.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

A Map of Air Travel in 1929

Flying across the country is a whole lot easier than it used to be. Today you can spend a few hundred bucks to get a non-stop flight from New York to San Francisco and you can get there in about 6 hours. Back in the twenties though that whole long-distance air travel thing was a lot more complicated. Even though great advances in aviation were made during that decade like Charles Lindburgh’s first non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean and the advent of in-flight entertainment, flying was still quite new, dangerous, and lacked much of the infrastructure that airlines heavily rely on today.

The David Rumsey map collection has an incredible flight map of America from 1929 and it shows you how difficult it would be to cross our country as quickly as possible back then. A trip from New York to San Francisco back then would require several train rides over hundreds of miles and layovers at fourteen different airports. Even though back then there were planes like The Spirit of St. Louis that were able to fly over 3000 non-stop miles, those planes were only designed to hold one or two people. The earliest passenger planes of that era had to carry far more people and weight and therefore had a much shorter range. It really is amazing how quickly commercial aviation has advanced to the point where almost anyone can hop on a plane and cross a continent or an ocean in the course of a few hours. It is something that our ancestors would be quite envious of.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

Things You Should Pack to Survive the Worst Parts of Flying

Today many people will be flying all over the country to be with their families tomorrow on Thanksgiving and the skies will be packed with many infrequent flyers. Add to that some miserable weather in one of the busiest areas of the country and you have a flyer’s nightmare on your hands. However, many of these common flying woes are entirely predictable and with some strategic packing you can make a bad experience more tolerable. Lifehacker has a great article up listing some of the best things you should pack in your carry-on to help you combat some of the most common problems encountered during a flight.

Problem: Your flight is delayed.
Solution: Always bring something to entertain yourself like a book, magazine, e-reader, computer, or tablet.

Problem: The plane runs out of food or drinks.
Solution: Always pack an empty water bottle that you can refill after you pass through security and have a few small snacks ready. I always make sure to pack a few granola bars.

Problem: Your electronics are running out of battery life and you have no place to charge them.
Solution: A USB backup battery is a great thing to have handy for these situations. These batteries can give a much needed charge to anything chargeable with a USB cable which includes most of today’s smartphones and tablets.

Problem: Parts of your body are starting to hurt from sitting in the plane’s torture devices economy class seats for too long.
Solution: Pillows and pills. You can get some great portable pillows to support your neck in the terminal and any spare clothing you bring can make an improvised lumbar pillow. It may be wise to bring some over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen to help dull some of the pain you’re feeling on the flight.


If your airport looks like this, chances are no one is going anywhere for a while.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.