Vector Art/Shutterstock

Vector Art/Shutterstock

I have some really exciting news today. I’m joining USA Today as a travel columnist.

I’ll be writing the weekly “On Travel” feature, which will expose readers to thought-provoking insights into the world of airlines, car rentals, cruises and hotels. Since its redesign last fall, USA Today has cultivated lead “voices” for every section, and “On Travel” will be its travel voice.

Here’s my debut column.

I’ll continue to serve as the reader advocate for National Geographic Traveler and pen separate columns for Tribune Media Services, the Washington Post and Mint.com — and, of course, you can find me every day right here on this site.

But there’s more.

✓ A few days ago I announced my latest book, How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money, and Hassle). It contains all the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the last two decades of consumer advocacy. I’m so excited about this project because it has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of trips. It’s yet another cornerstone of the “next” chapter.

✓ During the last few weeks, I’ve also redesigned this site. The most significant change? I’ve moved the entire database of company contacts from On Your Side over here. You can find email addresses, phone numbers and other contact information for every major company on the “Company Contacts” section of Elliott. That’s the next piece of the puzzle.

✓ Finally — and this is perhaps the biggest news — I’ve realized that this site is bigger than me. It is, and it has always been, your site. Here’s a list of editors and supporters who have made this project possible. In coming days, you will also see new bylines and new features, as Elliott evolves into a full-fledged group-written news organization for consumers. And that’s the last piece of the jigsaw snapping into place. I’m handing the site over to you. (No worries, I’ll still be writing for this site.)

So here’s my question: Will you be part of this new site? We have an ongoing need for people with research skills, volunteers to help mediate cases, writers with a strong, pro-consumer voice, and contributors.

We need you. I need you.

If you’re interested in getting involved, please and I’ll add you to our list of contributors.

Here’s the full text of the announcement:

USA TODAY ANNOUNCES CHRISTOPHER ELLIOTT TO WRITE WEEKLY “ON TRAVEL” COLUMN

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2013

McLean, Va. – USA TODAY announced that beginning today, author and consumer advocate Christopher Elliott will write a weekly travel column. “On Travel” will offer thought-provoking insights into the world of airlines, car rentals, cruises and hotels. The column will run in print in the Money section of USA TODAY and online in the Travel section on USATODAY.com. In addition, Elliott will be featured in an online video series called “ASK USA TODAY TRAVEL,” for which he will answer travel questions from USA TODAY readers.

“Chris has distinguished himself with a long track record of selfless advocacy on behalf of travelers,” said David Callaway, editor-in-chief of USA TODAY. “As we add more industry-leading voices to USA TODAY, he’s a terrific addition to our team.”

Elliott is the reader advocate for National Geographic Traveler, a syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services, and writes the “Navigator” column for the Washington Post travel section. He’s the author of the upcoming book, “How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler”
(National Geographic Books, 2014).

Elliott is the co-founder of the Consumer Travel Alliance, a Washington-based advocacy group for travelers. His journalism credits include hosting a cable TV show about travel, co-hosting a nationally-syndicated radio talk show, and writing one of the first online travel columns. He currently blogs at his consumer advocacy website, Elliott (www.elliott.org), and is one of LinkedIn’s Thought Leaders for travel. Elliott is based in Orlando, but is on a round-the-world journey with his family for their family-travel blog, Away is Home (www.awayishome.com).

USA TODAY is a multi-platform news and information media company. Founded in 1982, USA TODAY’s mission is to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation. Through its unique visual storytelling, USA TODAY delivers high-quality and engaging content across print, digital, social and video platforms. An innovator of news and information, USA TODAY reflects the pulse of the nation and serves as the host of the American conversation – today, tomorrow and for decades to follow. USA TODAY and USATODAY.com reach a combined six million readers daily. USA TODAY is a leader in mobile applications with more than 17 million downloads on mobile devices. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI).