Monthly Archives: April 2016

The wonderful place to life

Known for its strong economy, excellent healthcare and high levels of reported happiness, Denmark seems to offer the promise of a better life. But satisfaction with life is not evenly spread out around the country, The Local reported.

While Denmark ranks as the happiest country in the world overall, according to numerous surveys, the happiest Danes live outside of its major cities, according to new statistics.

Residents of the capital city of Copenhagen ranked as some of the least happy in the happiest country, with an average reported satisfaction score of 7.4 out of 10 reported satisfaction, according to the Danish national bureau of statistics.

Meanwhile, the coastal municipality of Ringkøbing-Skjern ranked their happiness as the highest in the survey, reporting an average level of life satisfaction of 7.9.

With less than 60,000 residents, this Danish haven attracts tourists with its small-town beauty and natural charm. Sitting on the Ringkøbing fjord, the landscape features picturesque 19th century farmhouses and quaint harbors.

On TripAdvisor, travelers have raved about the Flymuseum, which features some of the aircraft models used by the Danish military since 1911. Ringkøbing-Skjern also boasts a unique “eco-museum” that incorporates 14 different landmarks along the fjord coastline including a ropewalk, a lighthouse and a protected farm.

“They are, in other words our heritage—a coat rack that we in Ringkøbing-Skjern municipality can hang our identity up,” reads a translated description on the eco-museum’s website. “We are not just fringe in relation to something else. We have our own cultural history.”

The municipality, located in West Jutland, is around 75 miles from the UNESCO World heritage site the Wadden Sea National Park.

Within a two-hour drive from the happiest place on Earth, visitors can discover stunning mudflats, wind-whipped coastline and grazing sheep.

Find the best place for camp

Thos. Moser, the furniture-making firm, many of whose handmade pieces have achieved American icon status, runs a Customer-in-Residence program that could make the perfect Father’s Day gift for the would-be woodworker in your family.   Never mind bringing home an ashtray or lanyard from camp—graduates of this weeklong program come home with a piece of furniture that they’ve built under the tutelage of a master woodworker.

The lucky five carpenters accepted into each session (applications are considered and previous Moser customers are given preference on the waiting list) are put up at theHarraseeket Inn in Freeport, Maine, land of the outdoorsy outlet shop.

Participants in the program begin by selecting a Thos. Moser design for their camp project.  Then, working with a professional cabinetmaker, they learn, step by step, how each signature piece is made, all the way from selecting the raw materials to rubbing the last coat of oil into their finished project. Over the course of the week, the apprentices log about 30 hours of shop-time alongside their mentor on the piece, learning the tools and techniques of artisanal woodworking. The Customers-in-Residence also get to meet and discuss their hobby with Moser family members, many of whom work as designers and artisans in the business.

The cost of the Customer-in-Residence program starts at $3,500, plus the retail price of the item you select to make.  The rate includes nightly accommodations at the Inn, daily breakfast and lunch, plus two group dinners, transportation between the Inn and the woodshop in Auburn, additional excursions, and the instruction.  And, of course, you get to bring home the piece you create, signed in a special ceremony at the end of your stay.

Only the November 7 session still has openings, but the company has scheduled eight sessions in 2011, from April through November.   For more information or to put a name on the waiting list for the program, please visit Thos. Moser’s website.

How to get honeymoon enjoyable and free

Andy Rosenbloom made up his mind a few years ago that he was going to marry his girlfriend, Cassie, and they would honeymoon across Asia, flying first class all the way. All he had to do was figure out how to pay for the extravagant journey. First class round-trip airfare for two from Boston to Thailand was roughly $40,000. The trouble was, Rosenbloom’s annual salary as director of marketing at Dining Alliance, a group purchasing organization for local and chain restaurants, was $65,000.

The future groom was fixated on first class not merely for its extra leg room. He wanted the trip to be a kind of gift to Cassie. “For instance, there are these gorgeous lounges where you wait for your plane. You can take a shower. You can get a bed and your concierge will wake you up,” says the 32-year-old. “We got pajamas and slippers on our flights that I still wear today.” A self-described foodie, Rosenbloom was especially looking forward to the onboard five-star meals with wine pairings. “They have 60 bottles of scotch, 100 different waters. You can eat dinner at a table facing each other and your coffee comes in actual china cups. If you’re in coach, God forbid you want to scratch your butt. You have to ask your neighbor to hold your orange juice to do it.”

So firm was Rosenbloom’s determination, he began to plot before he even proposed marriage. Working backwards—choosing what he desired most rather than who offered the lowest fares, he found that Cathay Pacific had the “fanciest amenities” and most attractive city layovers. Rosenbloom began a campaign to collect as many air miles as he could by signing up for multiple credit cards and taking advantage of the colossal sign-up bonus points they award.

“My father was a big proponent of credit cards, of using someone else’s money,” Rosenbloom explains. “So I’ve always used them, too.” But instead of the one or two he normally carried, he opened 11 cards in 30 months. His strategy was choosing those with the most generous offers— “40,000 points when you sign up and spend $2,000 in 90 days”—and those with the most advantageous alliances. “I loaded up on American Airline and British Airways points so I could eventually transfer them all to Cathay.”

He also took advantage of sign-up-a-second-person rewards. By getting one card for himself and another for future wife, he was able to earn thousands of extra points. “I spreadsheeted the whole thing,” Rosenbloom explains. First priority was to pay every card on time, so he kept meticulous track of billing deadlines. He monitored annual fees, getting rid of those that grew too high. He was careful about which cards he closed—and when, knowing that a lot of activity can trigger a double-digit point ding on your FICO scores. As a rule, Rosenbloom knew it was best to keep the oldest cards longest. Closing long-held cards could set off bigger alarms than the more recently acquired cards. Plus, holding on to the oldest cards lengthened his history of good credit.

The couple spent an incredible, eye-popping month traveling through Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. They hiked and swam, explored tiny villages and city back alleys. And they ate. And ate. Rosenbloom chronicled their pretty perfect honeymoon in a blog he called “Pho Better or Pho Worse.”

The couple is back in Boston now, where their 770 credit score was good enough to snare a low-interest mortgage. In October, the couple had their first baby. Rosenbloom figures he won’t be traveling quite so far over the next few years but he continues to earn points on domestic flights. “Today I have four or five cards and over 350,000 airline points. Sometimes I fly first class for free.” But nothing, he guesses, will ever equal his honeymoon. “I wanted to go full-tilt and we did. I wanted a cool experience that we’d always remember.”

How to make your traveling more easy

The world traveler has no shortage of gadgets to choose from when hitting the road. But how many of these products would improve your trip? Whether you’re touring or on a business trip, which gear would prove most handy?Fortune looks a new crop of travel items—ones that are changing and easing how we navigate and experience the world.

1. Bring Your Own Wi-Fi

For travelers, this is kind of a big deal: The Venture Backpack (thisisground.com, $925) comes with its own Wi-Fi. The made-to-order leather bag is available in two sizes that are TSA-approved for leaving a laptop inside when going through security. The wireless Internet is supplied via a palm-size device by Karma Go (yourkarma.com), which has several plans: a contract-free auto-refreshing plan ($40 to $150 a month) and a pay-as-you-go option ($15 per gigabyte).

Caveat: Constructed of vegetable-tanned Italian leather, the bag isn’t ideal for all weather, but it’s sleek and attractive as a business tote.

2. The Robot Suitcase

The future is now—or rather, in November, with the debut of the Cowarobot (cowarobot.com, $699), a robotic suitcase that follows its owner. Launched on Indiegogo, the Cowarobot avoids obstacles while following at arm’s length at up to 4½ miles per hour. It has other smart features like embedded GPS, an electronic lock that opens via app, and a “find me” option so the suit- case never gets lost. Even better: It has 96.5 watt-hours’ charging capacity, allowing the suitcase to go 12½ continuous miles.

Related: What Ivanka Trump Thinks of Her Father’s Plans for Working Women

Caveat: Your robot friend may have trouble keeping up with you on Old World cobblestone streets. Fortunately, though, this suitcase can be rolled the old-fashioned way—pulled by a human.

3. Wrap it Up

Wrangling device chargers is a necessary part of travel that can mean unsightly Velcro straps, rubber bands, and tangled messes. So Saddleback Leather, which stakes its reputation on built-to-last leather goods and trades in heritage-style bags, recently introduced this Cord Wrap Set (saddlebackleather.com, $35 for four sizes). Covered by a 100-year warranty, the adjustable leather and metal tabs look like something Grandpa might have used in the old days if he had any portable wires to deal with other than transistor radio earphones. Saddleback also offers a Square Cord Wrap Set (also $35 for four) that can store cords in cigarlike rolls, and a small cable bag ($53) to stash one or more neatly bundled cords.

4. Smartphone Photos

LG’s Cam Plus (lg.com, $69.99) attaches through the G5 smartphone’s battery port to transform the phone, when held horizontally, into an approximation of a traditional camera while also supplying its battery backup. The phone then has an external grip pad, a zoom wheel, and shutter and record buttons. It’s part of LG’s suite of photo-graphic and video modular add-ons, including a 360-degree camera and virtual-reality viewer.