World Happiness Report 2017


World Happiness Report 2017 Cover PhotoOn 20 March 2017, the United Nations declared their “International Day of Happiness” and released a related “World Happiness Report 2017” rating countries from happiest to saddest.

The World Happiness Report 2017, put out just today, subjectively measures happiness and well-being. This “World Happiness Report” is the fifth in an annual series, from the project beginnings in 2012. This year, the report ranked 155 countries by their happiness levels.

Let’s get to the good stuff: this first table is the “World Happiness Report 2017” rating countries from happiest to saddest:

World Happiness Report 2017 - Scores

Norway took the top spot, and all of Scandinavia were in the Top 10, as they always seem to be.

This next table shows each country as to how far they improved or worsened compared to the last Happiness Report:

World Happiness Report 2017 - Changes

World Happiness Report 2017: Summary

The first World Happiness Report was published in April, 2012, in support of the UN High Level Meeting on happiness and well-being. Since then the world has come a long way. Increasingly, happiness is considered to be the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy. In June 2016 the OECD committed itself “to redefine the growth narrative to put people’s well-being at the center of governments’ efforts”.

In February 2017, the United Arab Emirates held a full-day World Happiness meeting, as part of the World Government Summit. Now on World Happiness Day, March 20th, we launch the World Happiness Report 2017, once again back at the United Nations, again published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and now supported by a generous three-year grant from the Ernesto Illy Foundation.

World Happiness Report 2017 Source:

Helliwell, J., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (2017). World Happiness Report 2017, New York: Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

∗ Permission to republish material from this publication was granted as long as the above reference was posted.

Around the World in 20 Street Foods Infographic


Around the World in 20 Street Foods

“One of our favourite things about travelling the world is trying out the street foods each country has to offer. It’s fascinating (and tasty!) to see what cultures from across the globe grab for a bite to eat when they’re on the move, so we’ve taken a look at 20 of the best. Some might be instantly recognisable and some you may never have heard of, but trust us, they’re all worth trying if you get the chance!”

20 Street Foods Infographic #1: Jerk Chicken, Jamaica

Jerk Chicken

Where: Kingston, Jamaica

Cost: 400 Jamaican dollars / £2.35 for a quarter chicken

Calories: 271

Ingredients: Chicken on the bone and secret recipe marinade (usually consists of allspice, thyme, scotch bonnet chilies, ginger and spring onions

20 Street Foods Infographic #2:


Where: Rome, Italy

Cost: €2.00 / £1.65 for two small scoops

Calories: 90

Ingredients: Cream, milk and sugar

20 Street Foods Infographic #3:


Where: Bogotá, Colombia

Cost: 2000 Colombian Pesos / £0.50 each

Calories: 150

Ingredients: Corn flour

20 Street Foods Infographic #4:

Falafel / Taʿamiya

Where: Cairo, Egypt

Cost: 3 Egyptian pounds / £0.25 each

Calories: 488

Ingredients: Falafel (made from fava beans) in pita bread with pickled vegetables, salad and tahini sauce

20 Street Foods Infographic #5:


Where: Jakarta, Indonesia

Cost: 17,500 Indonesian rupiah / £0.99 for a bowl

Calories: 303

Ingredients: Beef meatballs, tapioca, noodles, rice vermicelli, beef broth and salted vegetables

20 Street Foods Infographic #6:


Where: Barcelona, Spain

Cost: €1.50 / £1.25 each

Calories: 234

Ingredients: Flour, usually rolled in cinnamon sugar or dipped in hot chocolate

20 Street Foods Infographic #7:

Chilli Crab

Where: Singapore

Cost:  25 Singaporean dollars / £14 for 1 kg

Calories: 565

Ingredients: Crab in sweet and sour tomato, egg and chilli sauce

20 Street Foods Infographic #8:


Where: Seoul, South Korea

Cost: ₩2,300 / £1.50 each

Calories: 295

Ingredients: White rice and seaweed with additional fillings such as fish, meat and eggs

20 Street Foods Infographic #9:


Where: Mexico City, Mexico

Cost: 55 Mexican pesos / £2.20 each

Calories: 173

Ingredients: Toasted tortilla, common toppings include refried beans, guacamole, salsa and cheese or seafood options

20 Street Foods Infographic #10:


Where: Shanghai, China

Cost: ¥37 / £4.20 for ten

Calories: 309

Ingredients: Dough, minced pork and aspic

20 Street Foods Infographic #11:


Where: Québec, Canada

Cost: 7 Canadian dollars / £4

Calories: 740

Ingredients: Chips, cheese curds and gravy

20 Street Foods Infographic #12:

Pulled Pork

Where: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Cost: $6 / £4.5

Calories: 283

Ingredients: Pork, bun and BBQ sauce

20 Street Foods Infographic #13:

Bubble Tea

Where: Taipei, Taiwan

Cost: 35 New Taiwanese dollars / £0.60

Calories: 160

Ingredients: Tapioca, milk, brewed tea, sugar and water

20 Street Foods Infographic #14:


Where: Kraków, Poland

Cost: 12 Polish złoty / £2.30 per dish

Calories: 170

Ingredients: Flour, egg, water and salt dough dumpling, filled with meat, potato or cheese

20 Street Foods Infographic #15:


Where: Manila, Philippines

Cost: 47 Philippine pesos / £0.75 for a cup

Calories: 153

Ingredients: Shaved ice, milk and various fruits

20 Street Foods Infographic #16:

Bánh Mì

Where: Hanoi, Vietnam

Cost: 15,000 Vietnamese dong / £0.50

Calories: 579

Ingredients: Crispy baguette filled with a mix of coriander, pickled carrot, daikon and meats

20 Street Foods Infographic #17:

Bunny Chow

Where: Durban, South Africa

Cost: 10 South African rand / £0.50 for a quarter-loaf

Calories: 178

Ingredients: Loaf of bread filled with a variety of thick curries

20 Street Foods Infographic #18:

Simit Bread

Where: Istanbul, Turkey

Cost: 75 Kuruş / £0.20

Calories: 325

Ingredients: Bread with sesame seeds and molasses

20 Street Foods Infographic #19:


Where: Mumbai, India

Cost: 5 rupees / £0.05 for a cone

Calories: 322

Ingredients: Puffed rice, vegetables and tangy tamarind sauce

20 Street Foods Infographic #20:


Where: Lima, Peru

Cost: 25 Peruvian Nuevo Sol / £5

Calories: 226

Ingredients: Raw fish marinated in lime juice, salt and chilli

This infographic was created for It was edited down here into separate slides to reduce the page load time of the entire, large graphic, but you can find the full infographic here »

And, our own article about the benefits of eating street food here »

4 Amazing October Festivals & Traditions from Around the World


4 Amazing October Festivals & TraditionsWhat do you think of when you hear October? Oktoberfest? Probably (even though most of it takes place in September). Halloween? For sure! Everybody thinks about pumpkin lanterns and scary costumes in October. But there are other, less popular (yet not less fascinating) October traditions from around the world that deserve to be mentioned.

If you happen to travel to any of the countries below in October, make sure you participate (in one way or another) in their local October traditions and festivals:

Amazing October Festivals: White Night

Paris, France, During 1st Week

The White Night (or Nuit Blanche in French) is an annual event that takes place on the night before 2nd October to the delight of all tourists and local Parisians. During the White Night, you can become part of this amazing festival of Parisian culture and entertainment. All tourists’ attractions, libraries, museums, etc. are open till morning and the public transportation works all night! If you want to soak in the atmosphere of Paris at night and enjoy an unforgettable night full of street shows and cultural events, this is when you should visit the capital of love. What a great way to experience the cultural mixture of one of the oldest capitals of Europe!

Amazing October Festivals: Círio De Nazaré

Belém, Brazil, 2nd Sunday

Celebrated annually on the second Sunday of October, 2nd, Círio De Nazaré features the largest river festival procession that is famous not only in Brazil but all over the world. A must-see sight, the procession consists of thousands of people following an effigy of the Virgin of Nazaré (she is put on a platform heavily decorated with flowers). If you happen to witness this amazing procession, don’t be surprised at the barefoot men and women holding onto a rope (a symbol of the strong link between them and the saint) and children dressed like little angels. The traditional celebration of Círio De Nazaré ends late at night with live music and entertainment and a lot of dancing and having fun.

Amazing October Festivals: Festival of Dashain

Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan, Nepal, 1st Two Weeks

Dashain, the longest (and most favorite) festival of Nepal, is an annual 2-week festival that is something like Christmas for the locals. This is a period in which offices and schools are closed and people spend some quality time with their families. If you are in Nepal during Dashain, you will see thousands of kites in the skies of Kathmandu! This festival is the time when people go to see their family elders, they wear their new clothes and exchange gifts (just like we do on Christmas). A rather controversial act that the developed world (and especially animal activists) does not agree with and cannot accept are the animal sacrifices – on the night of “Kal Ratri” tens of thousands of goats are slaughtered as a sacrifice to the goddess Durga.

Amazing October Festivals: Diwali

India, 5 Varying Days

The 5-day Indian festival Diwali (also known as the Festival of Lights) is one of the most famous Hindu festivals. Each of the 5 Diwali days has its own specific celebrations and a special meaning. This festival also marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year with people preparing days in advance for it by cleaning their houses as the goddess Lakshmi is believed to visit them during Diwali, bringing wealth and prosperity for the New Year with her. Fireworks, Lighting rows, lamps, lanterns, and all other kinds of lit objects are among the most often used symbols of light during the Festival of Light. * Note: Often, Diwali starts in November.

Updated: 2017-01-22
Reason: Migration of site from the old, long URL ( to this long-overdue shorter one 🙂 (we may have updated some typos or metadata while we were at it)

Seven Reasons to Visit New Zealand During Springtime


Ahead of the summer crowds, New Zealand’s springtime months set a unique tone for enticing outdoor experiences. Spring in New Zealand is a lively season inspired with colour, flavoured with early produce and new wine releases, and populated by new life and creative festivals celebrating everything from seafood to arts and culture. Days are getting longer and this is a season of many faces – from trim city gardens and farmers’ markets heaving with fresh produce to green pastures filled with lambs and the fresh powder snows of the late ski season.

Travel north to south and you will see the season as it unfolds. Renowned for its spectacular scenery and diverse landscapes, a New Zealand spring awakens the country region by region over several weeks as the warmer temperatures spread southwards across 1600 km (900 miles) and from 34 to 47 degrees latitude south.

Blooming spring

Spring is definitely the season to admire the beauty of New Zealand’s flora and forests, wild and landscaped, at their very best. From the yellow swathe of  kowhai trees with their nectar-heavy flowers that are a magnet for native songbirds, and the surreal green of unfurling fern fronds to massed spring bulbs, wild lupins and brilliant rhododendrons, new life pops up everywhere to be celebrated in a series of garden festivals throughout October and November.

Hobbiton – New Zealand’s most famous garden – is never more glorious than when the pretty as a picture hobbit gardens blossom while, from north to south right across the country, many gardens of international and national significance open their gates to the public. In the North Island, the Taranaki Garden Spectacular (28 October – 6 November, 2016) is a major festival with 50 gardens on show, but en route don’t miss Hamilton Gardens internationally-acclaimed themed gardens or Rotorua’s lovely thermal park. In the South Island, the massed daffodils of Hagley Park and Otahuna Lodge in Christchurch offer a truly spectacular moment in springtime.

Hobbiton Spring House Garden
Hobbiton – New Zealand’s most famous garden – is never more glorious than it is during spring. Taken by L. Hatton via New Zealand Tourism.

Put a spring in your step

Spring provides plenty of clear, settled days for exploring the great outdoors. Mild spring days and a lack of crowds mean this is a good time to discover some of New Zealand’s multitude of walking or cycling tracks. Hire a bike and cycle the spectacular Karangahake Gorge gold miners’ trail in the Coromandel, the thermal trails around Rotorua or through the southern vineyards of Queenstown’s Gibbston Valley.

Take a walk on the wild side with Foris Eco tours on one of New Zealand’s best day hikes through Whirinaki’s ‘dinosaur forest’ to meet the locals in their natural habitat; or dig your heels in the sand on the rugged southern coast of Westland where World Heritage protected temperate rainforests meet the ocean and local wildlife – penguins, New Zealand fur seals or elephant seals – can be found enjoying balmy spring days with their latest offspring.

Or visit Rainbow Springs’ Kiwi Encounter, in Rotorua, to meet the cute new kiwi chicks as they hatch out of their impossibly (for the mother) large eggs.  The first of the new season’s little kiwi will hatch in September and there are likely to be another 100 eggs come into the hatchery over the next few months. Claire Travers – Kiwi Encounter husbandry manager is expecting the 2016-17 season to be another bumper season.

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Vintner’s Bush: One of the Oldest European Traditions


Vintner’s Bush has many forms and can be found in almost all European countries. In France, it is seen as a bundle of straw; in Austria and Italy, it is a pine branch; in Spain and Slovenia, you’ll find it as an ivy bush; in Germany and Switzerland, it is famous as a birch broom.

What do all these symbols have in common? Regardless of the way the different European nations have incorporated them into their folklore and traditions, all these elements can be gathered together around the notion of Vintner’s Bush. This is perhaps the oldest advertising form found on the Old continent.

Vintner's Bush Osmizza Italy
Vintner’s Bush in Osmizza, Italy. Taken from Wikimedia Commons user Betta27.

Vintner’s Bushes can be seen in many European countries, signaling the opening of a temporary farmstead tavern. “Why do they need them?” you may ask… Well, they are a symbol of homemade wine and food, something the owners are proud of. Besides, the taverns that offer the homemade delicacies and wine are not open all-year-round, so they need something to mark the opening of the tavern. And Vintner’s Bushes perfectly do the trick!

Vintner's Bush Poem
“He that will an ale-house keep, Must three things have in store ;
A hogshead of ale his guests to regale, And a bush to hang at his door. – A hostess to fill the tankard at will, And what can a man wish more ?”
Reference to the Vintner’s Bush, from the Journal of American Folklore, 1902.

According to the tradition, German winemakers offered homemade wine and food directly in their homes! All the family would help in cleaning the house and removing any furniture that would make it difficult for guests to enjoy their drinks and food. Living rooms and bedrooms were turned to temporary taverns where guests were invited. Other popular areas used as temporary taverns (even today) are gardens, farms, barns, wine cellars (of course), and even chicken coops!

But how can we be sure that this is the oldest European tradition? Let’s take a look at some examples that make us think we’re on the right track to the oldest European tradition:

1. Shakespeare mentioned this tradition, namely, “good wine needs no bush” (from “As You Like It”.
2. There are some drawings of the Vintner’s Bush dating back to the 1400s.
3. There are several Latin sayings (dating back to 1st century B. C.) that have the same meaning Shakespeare implied, namely, “good wine needs no bush”.
4. The area of the former Roman Empire covers all the countries in which you can find “bush taverns”. It is believed that the Roman legate, Galienus, who was also the founder of the Viennese bush tavern, used to serve wine and nuts to Roman legionnaires in Vienna.
5. The name “vintner” (wine merchant or wine maker) comes from Middle English (vinter).

Another instance of the Vintner’s Bush reference, this time coming from Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, June 1889.

We cannot be sure if this is actually the oldest European tradition. It is, however, worth knowing that this centuries-old European homemade wine advertising method is still used today and you may come upon it under the following names on your next trip to Europe:

• Besenwirtschaft (Strausswirtschaft) – Germany
• Buschenschank (Heurige) – Austria
• Osmica – Slovenia
• Frasca – Italy
• Bouchon – France
• Furancho – Spain

Updated: 2017-01-22
Reason: Migration of site from the old, long URL ( to this long-overdue shorter one 🙂 (we may have updated some typos or metadata while we were at it)

Amazing Birthday Celebrations from Around the World


Amazing Birthday Celebrations from Around the WorldRegardless of how old you get (and we all are getting older), birthday celebrations are always a festivity that warms the heart. It is true that you don’t get a year younger, and with time, responsibilities seem to pile up on your to-do list, but this doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a party to remember. While in the past it was enough to get together with friends and have a drink or two to celebrate your birthday, nowadays people prefer to have birthday celebrations that are extraordinary and memorable. If you are planning your birthday and need some inspiration, check out these amazing birthday celebrations from around the world:

Amazing Birthday Celebrations: The Sweeping Bachelor (Germany)

If you are still a bachelor when you become 30, your friends might surprise you with a birthday party according to the German tradition. You will be officially handed a broom and taken to a place like the City Hall or some other public place where a lot of people can see you, and you will have to sweep. Although most men would prefer jumping over open fire to sweeping the streets of Germany, ladies appreciate this tradition and enjoy it whenever they can witness it. The sweeping will continue until there is a merciful woman who will kiss you and put an end to your torment. Let’s hope that more ladies get familiar with this tradition as you might end up sweeping with a broom until your next birthday!

Amazing Birthday Celebrations: The Ears’ Pulling (Hungary and Argentina)

If some of your friends want to have fun on your birthday, at your expense, of course, you might be woken up in the morning pulled by your ears. If you expected a bucket of water all over you while you are still asleep, this is not what they do in Hungary and Argentina. You will be wished a long and healthy life and for this purpose, your earlobes will be pulled as much (and as painfully) as possible. You probably will not find it that amusing, but at least your friends will enjoy it a lot!

Amazing Birthday Celebrations: Less Birthday Parties (China)

If you are not a party animal and don’t want to be reminded every year that you become older and pay for that “luxury” by organizing a party with food and drinks, you can always say that you turned to the Chinese tradition of birthday celebrations. In China, people celebrate only their 1st, 10th, 60th, 70th and 80th birthdays. The 60th birthday is the most important of them all because it completes the full cycle of the Zodiac (12×5). On your birthday (according to the Chinese tradition) you will be served a plate of long noodles that you have to slurp as much as possible. Apparently, this is supposed to bring you a long and healthy life. So assuming that you are between 20 and 50, you will have only three birthday parties to “suffer” in your life. More than acceptable, don’t you think?

Amazing Birthday Celebrations: Birthday Equals New Year (Vietnam)

If you want to combine multiple birthday celebrations into one for even more happiness and joy, you can stick to the Vietnamese tradition. In Vietnam, people celebrate their birthdays on New Year’s Eve. Thus, even if you don’t feel too festive (or in the mood) about your birthday, you can catch a bit of the celebration spirit for the coming New Year!

Amazing Birthday Celebrations: Rice Yoghurt (Nepal)

In case your friends want to add some color to your birthday celebration, they would try the Nepalese tradition, according to which some colored rice yogurt is put on your forehead for long life, health, and good luck.

Amazing Birthday Celebrations: Flag Waving (Denmark)

Let’s imagine that you are a person who wants the whole world to know your birthday is fast approaching. You can follow the Denmark tradition – a flag will be strapped outside your window, and you will wake up surrounded by gifts – a lot of them.

Amazing Birthday Celebrations: King-Like Chair Lifting (Lithuania)

If you want to have a royal touch added to your birthday celebration and to be treated like a king or queen, just follow the Lithuanian tradition. The front door of your house will be decorated with a garland, and you will have to sit in a chair and be lifted up (three times!) by your family members. Have mercy for your family and follow this tradition only if you are sure they will handle it!

Amazing Birthday Celebrations: Money-Making (Scotland)

Making money on your birthday celebration is a great idea. In Scotland, the party child is given a pound note for every year they turn plus one extra (for good luck). You can do the math about how much you would have made if you celebrated your birthday following this tradition. Why not even ask your friends for the money they didn’t give you for all your past birthdays? You might as well retire after successfully following this tradition…

Amazing Birthday Celebrations: Giving Presents to Guests (Peru)

Wouldn’t it be nice if guests at the birthday party also received some treats and presents? That’s exactly what they do in Peru! The birthday celebrations and traditions of Peru demand that all guests receive two types of gifts (recordatorio) – a goody box and a pin, made especially for the event.

Amazing Birthday Celebrations: Bumps Birthday Tradition (Ireland)

The Irish for sure know how to wake you up early in the morning and remind you that you have a birthday. You will be given bumps, and their number depends on how old you get plus one additional for good luck. For this purpose, you will have to be turned upside down. We hope that your friends have a strong grasp and will not let you fall.

Amazing Birthday Celebrations: Nose Greasing (Canada)

If you want to make sure that bad luck will not get a hold of you, just stick to the Canadian tradition. Your nose will be greased, and it is believed that if it becomes too slippery, bad luck won’t be able to catch you. Although this is a tradition that is mostly meant for children, older people can also stick to it, especially if they are afraid that bad luck would pack its suitcases and park at their door.

All these amazing birthday celebration traditions from around the world spring from old times and most of them follow certain superstitious trends. Usually, the old ways go hand in hand with the new ones, and it doesn’t matter which of the birthday celebrations ideas you will grasp. As long as you and your friends and family make this day memorable, you can mix and match as many birthday traditions from around the world as you wish! And remember that, according to numerology, every birthday is a start of a new cycle and has to be completed successfully, and that is worthy of being celebrated.

Updated: 2017-01-22
Reason: Migration of site from the old, long URL ( to this long-overdue shorter one 🙂 (we may have updated some typos or metadata while we were at it)

Economy Class Etiquette Infographic – 10 Rules


So, What’s the Problem?

“It seems economy class is becoming a bit of a pressure cooker. How can we help let off steam?”

Click “Next” on the right side to flip through 10 economy class etiquette rules.


For our own take on some of these etiquette rules, see this article: Don’t Be An Asshole: Proper Plane-Boarding & Exiting Etiquette

Updated: 2017-02-20
Reason: Migration of site from the old, long URL ( to this long-overdue shorter one 🙂 (we may have updated some typos or metadata while we were at it)

Economy Class Etiquette Video – 10 Rules


Economy Class Etiquette Rules Featured Image

Video Below ↓

“Flying ‘coach class’ can be a real bargain, but the no-frills service can lead to rising tempers and an uncomfortable journey. Here’s ten ways to make sure that nightmare fellow passenger isn’t you!”

This Economy Class Etiquette Rules Video was created for Expedia and was offered for publication here by NeoMam Studios, who also created the infographic for them.

Economy Class Etiquette Video

Also, Expedia put out an infographic version of this as well, so you can check that out on our site this way »

For our own take on some of these etiquette rules, see this article: Don’t Be An Asshole: Proper Plane-Boarding & Exiting Etiquette

Updated: 2017-02-20
Reason: Migration of site from the old, long URL ( to this long-overdue shorter one 🙂 (we may have updated some typos or metadata while we were at it)

What Pizza Looks Like Around the World (Infographic)


What Pizza Looks Like Around the World

“While food around the world can take all manner of shapes and sizes, there is one delicious common denominator that pretty much all of humanity enjoys: pizza!

When we think of pizza, the first thing that springs to mind is the Italian classic, the Neapolitan (or its official variant, the margherita); however, different countries always like to do things a little differently and pizza is no exception.”

Click through (with the “Next” button on the right) to see what pizza looks like around the world.


Updated: 2017-02-20
Reason: Migration of site from the old, long URL ( to this long-overdue shorter one 🙂 (we may have updated some typos or metadata while we were at it)

8 Packing Techniques to Help You Save Space in Your Suitcase (Infographic)


8 Packing Techniques to Help You Save Space in Your Suitcase

“From wrinkled clothing to fees for placing baggage in the hold, we’ve all experienced luggage nightmares that could easily have been avoided. Here’s how to make packing for your next getaway stress free.”


Updated: 2017-02-20
Reason: Migration of site from the old, long URL ( to this long-overdue shorter one 🙂 (we may have updated some typos or metadata while we were at it)

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