Friday, December 28, 2007

Travel Jargon

These are some of the terms that seem to confuse people the most:


Direct Flight: This is not that same as nonstop. You may have 1 or more stops BUT no change of planes.

Flight Crew: As a Flight Attendant friend of mine puts it "They are here to save your butt, NOT kiss it". US Law states that you MUST OBEY ANY ORDERS GIVEN BY FLIGHT CREW! These professionals work hard and deserve your respect.

Ticket Agent: This is the person you meet at the ticket counter and the boarding gate. These are the people to treat like kings and queens. While they can not give you everything you ask for they do control where you sit on plane, where your luggage gets routed, can help you find other connections when you miss your flight or it gets delayed or canceled. They can also DENY YOU BOARDING for being drunk or just being an aggressive, rude, obnoxious, foul mouthed person. Remember: You catch more flys with honey than you do vinegar. (And yes, I have intentionally sat people on 9 hour flights in a center seat, the non reclining seat in front of the exit row and requested bland, low salt, vegetarian meals for people that have really annoyed me...oops! my bad. I have a friend who regularly routes rude customers luggage to Peoria, IL no matter where the passenger is going. Just remember....It takes you 2 minutes to tick us off, it only takes us 36 key strokes to get even)


Connecting Rooms: These rooms HAVE a door connecting them.

ADJOINING ROOM: These room DO NOT HAVE a door connecting them. They are typically next to each other but can be up 2 rooms away or across the hall.

A Request: These are just that, a request not a guarantee. These may include: a view, high floor, low floor, non smoking rooms, King bed, double beds, not near an elevator, etc... (and a side note to all of you that freak out when a nonsmoking room isn't available...get over it. The front desk agent did not put you in that room to annoy you [most of the time]. Ask for some industrial air freshener and ask if there is one you can switch to coming available tomorrow that you can move to.You ARE NOT so allergic that you will die over night!)

Bellmen: Tipping in not a city in China! Most of these guys make about $3 an hour and work hard for your tips carrying your 3000lbs bags. Give them at least $2 per bag or schlep your own luggage.

Valet: This is the person who RUNS to get your car in the snow, rain, 110 degree heat. He also makes about $3 an hour. So give him/her a $5 bill each day! After all they are doing what you didn't want to do your self!

Car Rentals

Pre-Paid Gas: DON'T DO IT! Are you really going to return the car on empty???? If you don't you still pay for a full tank!

Where have all of the Travel Agencies gone?!?!?

Remember the days when every city and town had several Travel Agencies to choose from? You used to make an appointment or stop by an agency, pick up brochures, learn more about the destinations you were thinking of going to? Well, in the USA Travel Agents (leisure ones at least) are a dying breed. Many of the "brick and mortar" agencies have closed up shop.

It all started in 1997 when Delta airlines cut and capped commissions to travel agents. Then all the others did it too. Then they eliminated commissions all together. YOU the consumer was used to not paying for the services of a Travel Agent, it was ALWAYS built into the cost in the form of commissions. Some people thought if they went direct to the airline they would save this cost.....not true, it just increased the profit margin to the paid the same price. SO, when Travel Agents began to charge fees to clients they rejected it.

Now honestly...think about it. You pay an Attorney, and Accountant, A Doctor and many more for their professional knowledge why not a Travel Agent?? You could get a book to tell you how to remove your friends Appendix but would you actually want to do it yourself and make a mistake???

I can remember when I worked for Mrs. Patricia Persson (The most incredible boss EVER) at AVENUES OF TRAVEL in Winter Park Florida. We had 5 Travel Agencies within a 4 block radius. Now, there are none. As commissions were cut out and lowered the cost of operating an Agency grew to be too much and many have closed their doors.

I have people tell me, "well, I just research hotels on the net and pick one." And who do you think rights the information you are receiving?? Answer: The Hotel. Do you honestly think they are going to tell you that they are a dump, the pool water is green, their restaurant was closed by the health department, and they have the rudest most under trained staff in town?!?!?

Travel agents used to visit popular locals and check out hotels on "FAM Trips". While was in Madrid, Barcelona, and Lisbon on one of these trips I toured 36 hotels personally in 1 week. They also had knowledge from clients who had been somewhere they didn't.

There used to be an old Ad that said "Without a Travel Agent, Your on your own." and this is so true.

Points for researching Travel:

1.Check for sites that give unbiased reviews (Like this one,,, etc...)

2. When looking at photos pay attention to the people in the photos (Clothing styles and hairdos will tell you how old the photo is)

3. ALWAYS,ALWAYS,ALWAYS PAY WITH A CREDIT CARD!!!! If something goes too badly you can always dispute it.

4. NEVER EVER Use a travel site that makes you PRE-PAY (unless it is a package). There are some that will make you pre-pay for just a car rental or just a hotel. DON'T DO IT!!!!

5. KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GETTING! If you are going to Puerta Vallarta and want to spend a lot of time at the beach ASK how close they are to the beach.

6.Know the travel jargon!! (See my next post)

7. Don't be afraid to demand what you were promised or you are entitled too. It is not rude.

8. When a Supplier TELLS you something that is not in print..ASK FOR IT IN WRITING!! Even an email saying it. At least then when you say "But they told me...." you have back up.


Welcome to the first installment of THE WORLDWIDE TRAVEL GUIDE!

The gist of my blog is provide information to people who are traveling for the 1st time or the 1,000,000th time. I will make this promise to you, I will tell it like it is! If a hotel sucks, you will know it! If it is incredible, you will know it! Same goes for cities, museums, theme parks, airlines, tour companies, travel services, restaurants, etc....

My goal is to give you information that you can use to make informed choices in your travels.

My background is that I have spent over 17 years as a professional Travel agent (leisure & corporate). I have also been a meetings & event planner for over 10 years and planned small to large. I am also an AVID traveler both domestic and internationally.

I welcome any questions or comments.

(FYI....The Photo at the top is of me in the lobby of the Raddisson SAS in Frankfurt Germany.)