Karen Roach/Shutterstock

Karen Roach/Shutterstock

Note: This is the online version of Elliott’s E-Mail, my free weekly newsletter. To subscribe by email and receive the full version, please sign up here.

Welcome to my all-new, redesigned version of Elliott’s E-Mail. Remember, if you’re signed up for this newsletter, you’ll also be getting the Away is Home adventure newsletter soon.

□ WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Tell me your favorite lost and found story, please!
Have you ever lost something when you were traveling? Was it returned to you, or did it disappear into a black hole? This week, I’d love to hear your stories of losing something when you travel — a favorite book, an iPad, a much-loved shirt — and either having it returned. Or not.  As always, don’t forget to include your full name, city and daytime occupation. Your response could be used in my story.

A real family adventure
What’s that, you’re not tracking our family travel blog yet? You should! You can follow Away is Home on Twitter or Facebook, but let me also point you to a few of this week’s favorite stories, including a tour down Orlando’s I-Drive, our impressions of the first-ever family travel conference, and our favorite memories of Santa Fe.

I’m listening
The stories you see in this newsletter are just a starting point. I hope you’ll take a minute to leave a comment, whether you agree or disagree with something I’ve written. Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google. I’m listening. And of course, I’m also here if you need me.

□ THIS WEEK’S FEATURES

Do You Play These Money Tricks With Your Customers?
Hold on to your wallet. Businesses don’t just want to get their hands on your cash when you’re on the road — they also want more of your money, and on their terms. Read the whole story on LinkedIn.

3 Signs You’re About to Be Ripped Off By the “Government”
If you’re a business owner in Indiana, maybe you received a recent invoice from the Secretary of State’s office. It’s a bill for a $125 annual fee for “record keeping and processing of a company’s annual minutes.” And it’s bogus, according to the Secretary of State. Read the rest in my weekly Mint.com column.

□ JOIN THE DEBATE NOW

New luggage blocks ID theft on the road
At some point between the time she disembarked from a recent cruise in Miami and returned to Carmel, Ind., someone decided to go shopping with Jody Tzucker’s credit card. “They bought cigars and other odd things in Miami,” says Tzucker, a retired manager for a nonprofit association. Find out what happened next.

Kicked off my cruise for getting sick
Shortly before her cruise to Mexico sets sail, Regina Hatfield and her family are ushered off the ship. The reason? She’s experiencing sharp pains in her kidney. Now her cruise line wants to keep her money. Is it allowed to do that? Get the answer.

Downgraded on Air France, but where’s their refund?
Lisa and Wayne Roccaforte felt lucky to have premium economy class seats on their recent Air France flight from Paris to Houston. With good reason: The seats have 38 inches of “pitch” and are 19 inches wide, a sharp contrast to the medieval 32 inches of legroom and 17 inches of seat space in economy class. (Seriously, folks, that should be illegal.) But that’s not where they ended up. Learn the details.

“I feel like Starbucks is stealing money from me”
Peter Volpe’s Starbucks account is frozen, and he doesn’t understand why. Is the company allowed to just confiscate his credits? Yes, it is — and here’s why.

Who’s afraid of the TSA?
Today’s tale of TSA inefficiency comes from the Atlantic Avenue subway station in Brooklyn, NY. “This station has at least six entrances,” says Jeff, one of my readers who witnessed the spectacle. Read the whole story.

Can I fix this Avis “fantasy” rental charge?
Harry Good recently prepaid for his rental car through a Swiss company called HolidayCars, which makes sense, since Good is an American expatriate who lives in Switzerland. But what happened next doesn’t make any sense. Get the details.

□ MY PARTING SHOT

As we head into the the busy travel season, I find myself wondering whether the summer of 2013 will be good for travelers or not. It’s been a long road for some of us, and we may be about to take our first real vacation. I wonder if any of the lessons learned from the Great Recession will stick, or whether the travel industry will interpret this rebound in business as a license to take advantage of us. I hope it is the former. But like you, I’m not holding my breath.