Chad Haber and Annette Bosworth continue to drop inscrutable hints about their upcoming overseas travel. A pathetic online fundraiser earlier this month went nowhere, earning only $50 of the $2,000 goal. Yet Dr. Bosworth has tweeted that she has medications, volunteers, and divine intervention, as well as three solar panels, for the Philippines trip. And last Friday, Haber tweeted this photo of his wife booking tickets for the trip:
"We leave flying through Newark and return from Hawaii," tweets Haber. "Around the world in 10 days."
PHS has finally gotten around to scrubbing its bogus raffle rules from its website, but the non-profit has issued no formal press release on its Philippines medical mission. That the publicity- and donation-hungry Haber and Bosworth have not mounted any organized marketing campaign to publicize their trip and reach more potential donors seems illogical unless (1) they are too broke to perform basic marketing activities (and Bosworth's financial disclosure statement seems to say just that) or (2) this sneaky-tweet campaign is a striptease strategy.
Whatever the case, let's look at Haber's tweet and the actual costs of flying to the Philippines:
- Travelocity tells me that the cheapest fare for a ten-day, Sioux Falls-to-Manila itinerary a month from now is $1,382.89 per person, on United and All Nippon, with hops either to Chicago or Denver before the big ocean jump to Tokyo and then Manila.
- Trying to fly sooner, like next week, bumps the price for the same flight up over $3,700 per person.
- Flying a month later, like late February, knocks maybe $100-$130 off the late-January price.
- Trying to piece together the itinerary Haber describes, flying to the Philippines via Newark but returning via Hawaii, makes the Travelocity ticket price explode to $7,878 per person. I am able to punch that itinerary into Kayak.com and get tickets for $1,456... though that combo has United fliers bouncing from Sioux Falls to Denver, Newark, Los Angeles, then Honolulu and Guam before arriving in the Philippines.
The Bosworth-Habers' travel agent probably has more ticket-searching resources than I do, but it appears that our medical missionaries are choosing an itinerary slightly more expensive and significantly more complicated than necessary. If we're dropping off some medical supplies for underprivileged folks in Waikiki, that's great! But if we're simply underwriting a vacation stopover in Hawaii for a couple who claims only $17,500 in income in the last two years, that's not so great. If I were a PHS donor, I'd want a little assurance from Chad and Annette that they were using my dollars as efficiently as possible.