This is the online edition of Elliott’s E-Mail, my free weekly newsletter.
□ ARE HOTELS LYING ABOUT BEING “FAMILY FRIENDLY”?
Somewhere between a booster stool at the check-in desk and a DJ spouting profanities at the kids’ pool lies the definition of a “family-friendly” resort. No one seems to agree. Maybe it’s time we did. Read more in my latest USA Today column.
□ CATCH THE ELLIOTT SHOW
Please join me at 1 p.m. today for The Christopher Elliott Show, an irreverent half-hour conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Then, catch the live YouTube broadcast on my channel. Today’s guest is Charlie Leocha. We’ll answer some of your questions and ask the question no one dares. Don’t miss it!
□ WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Has “outsourcing” gone too far?
I’m working on a story about the travel industry’s love of outsourcing. Have you ever visited a hotel, flown on an airline or cruised on a ship, where you felt they took outsourcing too far? Were you ever surprised at how something was outsourced that normally wouldn’t be, like a gate agent or even a flight attendant? As always, don’t forget include your full name, city and occupation.
Wanna become the world’s smartest traveler?
I know you do. Then do this now: Pre-order my new book, How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money, and Hassle). It’ll help you navigate the ins and outs of the travel industry and save lots of time and money. Details are right here. By the way, if you’re heading out somewhere on a trip and need help with something, I’d be happy to email you a draft of a chapter, whether you order the book or not.
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.
□ POSTS YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
Hey travelers, how do you trick out your car?
What’s the one accessory you can’t live without in your car? And do you ever customize your rental? Join the discussion at Away is Home right now.
How to spot fake electronics
Ever had a “duh!” moment that you regretted for years to come? Here’s one that might seem familiar. I hope it doesn’t. Read more in my Mint.com column.
Here are a few insider tips for finding what you lost this summer
Don’t lose it this summer. At least not the way Jennifer and Pat Mangold did when they stayed in the Florida Keys last August. In their hurry to avoid holiday traffic, Mangold left her $680 in cash in their room at the Hampton Inn & Suites Islamorada. Find out what happened next.
Yes, your online travel agency sees E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G
How much does your online travel agency know about your reservation? If you said “too much” then you must still be upset about that whole NSA affair. I can’t blame you. Or, maybe you’re thinking of the legendary screenshots a company like Priceline produces when they’re challenged on a nonrefundable reservation. You’ll definitely want to read this, then.
Hey NCL, you call that a kids’ cruise?
I’ve been on the fence about this case for weeks, following the back and forth between this unhappy customer and a cruise line. The reason for my indecision? Two years ago, I took virtually the same Norwegian cruise as Joseph Cilento, and my family and I had a dramatically different experience than he did. But things change.
□ MY PARTING SHOT
I’m headed to DC this week to continue fighting the good fight for consumers. But I’m also working on project that will help even more customers, and I can’t wait to tell you about it. Shhh! It’s a secret.