Go ahead, be wowed by the crowd

By | August 19th, 2013

shutterstock_108856991This is the online version of Elliott’s E-Mail. You can sign up here to receive this newsletter by email.


Go on, follow everyone to the beach this week. Turns out that avoiding the crowds — which the world’s so-called travel “experts” recommend this time of year — isn’t just a yawner of a cliche. It can be flat-out wrong, too. Read the details in my USA Today column.


Admit it, you love TripAdvisor and Yelp!
If you’re like me, you used to be a skeptic about user-generated reviews on sites like Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor. But you also consult them from time to time — and you’ve found a good recommendation for a hotel or restaurant. Haven’t you? I’d like to hear your story about good recommendations from one of these sites. Please send me an email. As always, don’t forget include your full name, city and occupation.

Greetings from Mendocino, Calif.
We’re here a few more days before heading north — look for full coverage soon on our family travel blog. In the meantime, we have a full report on our misadventures in San Diego, the video you missed from our Hoover Dam encounter — you won’t want to miss this one — and here’s why I met up with my friends from Hertz while I was in Southern California. I also have a wrap-up of our San Diego trip right here.

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.

Let’s talk!
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. Here’s my email address.

Related story:   Elliott's E-Mail/January 20, 2009


Should You Hire a Consumer Advocate?
Here’s a familiar come-on: If you have an intractable problem with a business, you can “utilize our years of experience fighting fraud” to get a fast refund. But there’s a catch. Find out what it is in my Mint.com column.

VIDEO: Should you buy travel insurance?
Here’s the latest in my latest USA Today video series. By the way, the Christopher Elliott show is taking a break until I can find a fast broadband connect to live-stream. Stay tuned.

Tipping lies cruise lines like to tell
If you thought tipping was out of control in the United States, try heading out to sea. That’s where Jane Greene discovered the tipping economy isn’t just alive and well, it apparently sustains the crew of major cruise ships. That’s a particularly interesting revelation in light of the U.S. government’s plans to regulate the cruise industry. Read the details.

Blocking this airline mega-merger is good for travelers
The Justice Department’s surprise lawsuit to block the proposed $11 billion consolidation of American Airlines and US Airways appears to doom the latest airline mega-merger, at least in its current form. But for airline passengers, the prospect of two stand-alone airlines is mostly good news. Read the details in the Washington Post.

Do I deserve a refund for this LivingSocial deal?
Teri Rustmann’s Living Social voucher for a Caribbean vacation isn’t worth the money it’s printed on — or so he thinks. Why won’t the company refund it? Find out.

A Territory Ahead gift certificate left behind
When Ed Probst tries to redeem an 11-year-old gift certificate, the company stonewalls him. How do you get a business to honor a debt from 2001? Here’s the answer.

Related story:   New on Elliott: The customer isn't always right, the American way to handle a mechanical delay, price guarantee trouble - Sponsored by Floridavacationauction.com


The next leg of our trip takes us up to Oregon, Washington and possibly as far north as Canada. And I have to tell you, each stop is more fascinating than the next. (As a bonus, I’m also collecting a lot of great information for my columns!) See you on the road, my friends.

We want your feedback. Your opinion is important to us. Here's how you can share your thoughts:
  • Send us a letter to the editor. We'll publish your most thoughtful missives in our daily newsletter or in an upcoming post.
  • Leave a message on one of our social networks. We have an active Facebook page, a LinkedIn presence and a Twitter account. Every story on this site is posted on those channels. The conversation ranges from completely unmoderated (Twitter) to moderated (Facebook and LinkedIn).
  • Post a question to our help forums or ask our advocates for a hand through our assistance intake form. Please note that our help forum is not a place for debate. It's there primarily to assist readers with a consumer problem.
  • If you have a news tip or want to report an error or omission, you can email the site publisher directly. You may also contact the post's author directly. Contact information is in the author tagline.