How to find your adoring travel blogging audience (and keep it)

Editor’s note: This is part five of my series on becoming a successful travel blogger. Here’s the first one, the second one, the third one and the fourth one. I’ll have the final installment tomorrow.

You’re missing a key ingredient to your super-successful travel blog: your audience.

Notice that I said “your” audience. Not “an” audience or “the” audience. When you become a travel blogger, you will make a deep connection with your users that goes beyond anything you had in old media. These aren’t simply readers, viewers or listeners; they are members of your extended family.
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New on On Your Side: more appliance contacts!

We can’t leave well enough alone. Our researches have been hard at work adding to the appliance category. I’m happy to share the results today.

Everyone knows that appliances break down from time to time. When they do, you face a maddening game of “find the warranty” and “retailer vs. manufacturer.” It should be that way.

These contacts should help you get the right person right away.

Today we’ve added to the appliance category a number of important companies with elusive customer-service departments. They include Japan Tiger, Panasonic, Siemens, Sub-Zero, Sony, Staber Industries, Sunbeam, Swizz Style, Viking, Whirlpool and Zojirushi.

I hope you find these new wiki categories helpful.

(Photo: coo kbook man17/Flickr)


The Travel Troubleshooter: Airline won’t refund my ticket after my husband dies

Question: I bought a pair of tickets through Expedia for my husband and myself. We planned to visit Germany this fall for as part of a retirement trip. Shortly after that, my husband passed away very suddenly.

I contacted Expedia about a refund, but was advised to get in touch with our airline, Lufthansa, directly. Lufthansa told me my husband’s ticket was nonrefundable. I asked if they would resell his seat, since he couldn’t make the flight, and they admitted they would.

When I said that it appeared that Lufthansa would profit from the death of my husband, they admitted that that was the case. This really offended me. I tried to send an email to Lufthansa’s president, but they have turned me down. What would you advise?
Ursula Maul, Wynnewood, Pa.

Answer: My condolences on your loss. Most airlines refund tickets – even nonrefundable ones – when a passenger dies. What’s more, it’s highly unusual for a representative to “admit” that the airline will profit from the death of a passenger. Maybe the representative you reached was having a bad day. I certainly hope so.
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New on Elliott: The three levels of scam, more problems solved and your chance to support this site – Sponsored by TripInsurance.com


Before I get into the terrific content I have lined up for this issue, a few words about money. Consumer advocacy doesn’t come cheap. Your support is critical to making this site run, and now more than ever, I need your help.

And as a way of saying “thank you” I’m offering my new ebook, 0-60 Travel Insurance to anyone who signs up as an individual underwriter. It’s the definitive guide to buying and using travel insurance, and if you’re taking a trip anywhere, you’ll want to read it first.

I hope you’ll consider becoming an underwriter. Without you, none of this would be possible.

This week I examine the three levels of scam over on Mint.com. I solve real-world problems, including a lost camera and a missing ticket refund. We have debates — oh, do we ever have debates! — on everything from stealing vouchers to hotel fees. And our On Your Side researchers have added new wiki categories so you can help yourself when you run into trouble. Plus, if you’ve ever wanted to be a travel blogger, you absolutely must catch my series on the subject.
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How to be a travel blogger: And now, a few words about money

Editor’s note: This is part four of my series on becoming a successful travel blogger. Here’s the first one, the second one and the third one.

Let’s talk about money.

If you’re going to be a successful travel blogger, you’ll need some to pay your Internet service provider and web designer. You’ll have to pony up cold, hard cash for the equipment I recommended in the second part of this series.

It would be nice to have a little left over to pay the rent, too.

People think you have to take the vow of poverty when you become a travel blogger, or that your “payment” is press trips. Not necessarily.
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Here are the reporting resources you’ll need to become a successful travel blogger

Editor’s note: This is part three of my series on becoming a successful travel blogger. Here’s the first one and the second one.

OK, you have your topic and some of the basic tools.

Now it’s time to find the content for your soon-to-be incredibly successful travel blog.

But before that, let’s get one thing out of the way: This is not journalism. I think it helps, in some ways, to have no formal training as a journalist.
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