Mathematics for Travelers

These days, education is all about real-life application. And it’s important to understand common situations when traveling. So I’ve prepared a little quiz of problems any traveler will likely encounter when venturing abroad. Let’s all take a moment and learn:

1. Little Bobby leaves Sydney on flight 415 at 9:00pm and arrives in London at 11:00am. Then he has a two-hour layover and a 45-minute delay, plus 3 body searches and 5 security checks which require him to remove his shoes, belt, and laptop computer. Then he flies from London to New York on flight 9312 and arrives at 8:00pm on a Tuesday.

a) What day did Bobby leave Australia (if he can even remember, that is)?
b) For extra credit, how many days of jetlag will little Bobby suffer?

2. Janice has two suitcases. One weighs 27.4 kilos, and the other weighs 32.1 kilos. She also two carry-on bags, even though the airline only allows one, because just one bag for any traveling woman is just ridiculous. The airline only allows 40 kilos max in two suitcases and 7 kilos of carry-on luggage. The airline charges $50 per kilo of excess baggage.

a) How many sweaters will Janice have to put on under her coat in order not to have to pay excess baggage costs?
b) What is the likelihood (in percent) that after all that hullaballoo, the airline will still lose one of her bags and then send her a measly $25 travel voucher to make up for the fact that she lost her favorite pair of jeans AND her bottle of perfume that she couldn’t carry on because it contains more than 100ml of liquid?

3. A street vendor in a foreign town offers Tammy a fancy handbag for $150, or 2 for $250. What is the probability (in percent) that Tammy is getting ripped off and that they’re not even real Prada bags but actually cheap replicas that will fall apart during the rush to the airport and embarrassingly spill all of Tammy’s personal items on the tile floor?

4. Robert is returning from a long trip around the world. He has $40 in US currency. In his wallet, he also has 5700 Indonesian Rupiah, 30 Thai Baht, 17.27 Euros, and 2.5 pounds sterling he got in change at Heathrow Airport when buying some gum. Then, Robert also finds in his pocket 31.8 Bahraini dinars and 5 Saudi riyals, plus 54.3 Brazilian reals and a few coins from countries he can’t identify.

a) When converted to US dollars, how much will all this spare change amount to in lost money?
b) How many exchanges in the US will be willing to convert all of Robert’s useless coins?

5. Within a 5-kilometer radius in any Asian town, as the number of curry houses increases, how much does the availability of public bathrooms decrease?

b) Add to the previous answer the probability of the following nearby:
-toilet paper
-Pepto Bismol
-your hotel
-a stuffy, crowded, smelly bus that will toss and turn its way to your hotel

Whoever said you don’t use math in daily life has obviously never been stuck in front of a public restroom in a train station in Germany with a handful of coins, trying to figure out how to pay the 1.25 euro fee before peeing all over themselves!