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How to Be the World's Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money, and Hassle) Paperback – March 4, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426212739
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426212734
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The USA Today columnist draws on his 20 years as a travel advocate to give the inside scoop on how to navigate the world of travel, with detailed advice." --Publishers Weekly

"An indispensable road map....even seasoned travelers can learn something from this wide-ranging guide that hits on everything from finding the ideal suitcase to snagging a great airfare." --USA Today

"For less than $20 you can save yourself a thousand travel tears." --Detroit Free Press

"Whether you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime vacation or you travel regularly for business, this is a book you can use." --Library Journal

"Even the most seasoned travelers can use a helping hand, especially as traveling has become increasingly complicated....Elliott offers tips and advice — and plenty of them." --Chicago Tribune

"Christopher Elliott, the trusted consumer travel advocate...has compiled his tips and strategies into a book, whose spot-on subtitle promises to “Save Time, Money and Hassles” for travelers." --The Sacramento Bee

About the Author

CHRISTOPHER ELLIOTT is a nationally acclaimed consumer advocate who is National Geographic Traveler's Editor-at-Large and resident ombudsman. He writes their "Problem Solved" column, a nationally syndicated weekly travel column, a regular USA Today column, and a daily blog focused on solving consumer travel problems. Elliott writes a weekly column for The Washington Post and is a personal finance blogger at Mint.com. He's hosted a cable TV show and a nationally syndicated radio show, and was an independent producer for NPR and a commentator for both NPR andMarketplace. As a pioneer in digital journalism, he founded the Internet's first business travel website in 1994 and began blogging in 1996, before it was called blogging. He became ABCNews.com's first travel columnist in 1997, and his work has since appeared in a variety of major news outlets, including CBS Interactive, CNN.com, MSNBC.com and USAToday.com. As an early adopter, he was one of the first journalists with a presence on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Currently, his family is on an open-ended journey around the world, covering the adventure for nationalgeographic.com and the Huffington Post.

More About the Author

Christopher Elliott is a journalist and consumer advocate.

His articles, columns and essays offer advice for people who want to become more informed customers.

Elliott is National Geographic Traveler's reader advocate and a nationally syndicated columnist through Tribune Media Services, which distributes his columns to publications from the San Francisco Chronicle to the Chicago Tribune.

He writes a column for The Washington Post's travel section and is a personal finance columnist for Mint.com.

He's the author of the 2011 book Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals (Wiley).

Customer Reviews

Book Your Next Trip 3.
Dale Dellinger
Lots of great tips and ideas for travel, the book is an easy fun read with plenty of info for even the most inexperienced traveler to the travel pro.
Patrizia
This book will save you time, money and stress before and during your trip.
Bruce Murray On Travel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Corey Scott VINE VOICE on March 10, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a pretty well-seasoned traveler (I travel by air about 20 times per year), I was hoping that this book would have more "insider" tips and tricks to make traveling easier. While it's a good guide guide to get someone started, I found that it lacks any real information that couldn't be discovered on your own after traveling a few times. The author also has a bias against loyalty programs for some reason, suggesting that you stay away from them. Sure, on average you might (read: MIGHT) pay more by remaining loyal to only 1 company, but the advantages for many people will outweigh that by a long shot. For example, free access to airport lounges (otherwise up to $50 per visit), free checked bags (sometimes saving up to $300 each direction), free first class upgrades, drinks... the list goes on. The same goes for hotels, rental cars, etc.

Many other valuable tricks I've found over the years were not mentioned. Such as the fact that you can buy 1-day lounge passes on eBay for a fraction of what you'd pay at the desk. Or the ability to have your airline book you a backup flight if it looks like your existing flight might get cancelled, before it actually does. I think these facts are far more useful than knowing that you can ask for a pat-down instead of going through a body scanner - a fact which is clearly posted on signs when you stand in line.

3 stars for being a good guide for a beginner, but it falls far short of making you "the world's smartest traveler".
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Dale Dellinger on January 26, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a good book to pick up if you are planning a big trip or just want to save some money on a shorter weekend get-away-- or anything in between. It is full of up-to-date tips on traveling which are useful to a wide range of travelers, from budget do-it-yourselfers, to cruises, to package tours, and even gives you tips for surviving a timeshare sales event.

Christopher Elliot includes many useful Do's and Don'ts sidebars that he calls "SMART" and "NOT SMART" and many examples of what to do if your plans change or something goes wrong. In his "PROBLEM SOLVED" sections, he gives real examples of people who have written to him with problems with their travel and he has helped them with a solution.

How you read this book will depend if you're a glass half full or half empty person. There are so many problems (and solutions) detailed that I felt a little overwhelmed but in the end I think it's good to know what might go wrong so you can anticipate and be flexible when things happen.

The book is broken into three main sections and 22 chapters.

I - Before You Go
---------------------------
1. Find the Most Reliable Travel Advice
2. Book Your Next Trip
3. Make Sure Your Papers are in Order
4. Stay Healthy and Safe
5. Find the Best Travel Insurance Policy
6. Buy the Right Luggage
7. Manage your Travel Loyalty Program

II - Getting There
---------------------------
8. Rent a Car
9. Take a Road Trip
10. Make Sense of the World of Air Travel
11. Make the Most of a Terminal Visit
12. Plan a Cruise
13. Handle TSA and Travel Security

III - On the Ground
---------------------------
14.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Christine Zibas VINE VOICE on February 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Being the world’s smartest traveler means, well, reading the fine print. In this unusual travel guide, Christopher Elliott (Ombudsmen for “National Geographic Traveler” magazine) helps readers navigate the tricky business of traveling. While people love to travel, it’s not always an easy business, and travel companies seem to design the rules to capitalize on every traveler’s mistakes, crafting “rights” for the travelers they serve that don’t really seem to serve anyone but the companies providing the travel service.

Divided into helpful sections on topics such as air travel, rental cars, cruises, and more, Elliott shares not only the wisdom he has learned over years of helping people solve their travel dilemmas, but pointing out how to make the most of your travel experiences. He even helps readers write the perfect complaint letter (hint: it’s not a laundry list of all the things a hotel or cruise line has done wrong).

He’s ruthlessly honest about topics like frequent flier programs and what you can really expect as compensation from a company that has done a traveler wrong. If you happen to read the book straight through (and I recommend it), you come away shaking your head at just how much can go wrong and the extensive lengths sometimes needed to correct a bad situation (yes, take photos or videos of that rental car before you drive it off the lot).

His advice is relevant and modern (with plenty of outstanding references to helpful websites and contact information for major travel companies listed at the back). You can dip in at any point and get some sage advice about whatever aspect of travel most concerns you: from avoiding time share hassles to realizing you do need a passport for that Caribbean cruise, despite what you’re often told.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ramm TOP 50 REVIEWER on March 1, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While most of my reviews here on Amazon are of entertainment items (CDs, DVDs and books), I periodically share my reviews of things I enjoy in my regular life, such as travelling. That’s the case here/ This book was sent to me by Amazon as part of their Vine Reviewer program, where they send selected items to certain reviewers. The copy I originally received from Amazon was the “Uncorrected Advance Reading Copy”, which did not include the “index” in the back and so I requested copy of the final published book and had to wait for the publisher to get final edition. Hence, my review is being posted after those of the other Vine reviewers.

The final version basically the same as the advance, with the addition of an “Index” in the back (note that the font size for the index listings is tiny – at about half the size of the rest of the text in the book), and many of graphics and “bold headers” are in red.

Since the other reviewers before me – most notably Dale Dellnger – have listed the chapter headings and general format, I won’t repeat that info, but rather comment on what I feel makes this a book that any person who travels (even a few times a year) will want to read through and keep on their reference shelf. I travel by air, cruise line and car and, while I know some of this info, here it is in one place. I know the author from his weekly syndicated column in our local newspaper where he helps people caught in a “Catch-22” situation. Though not published as part of his column, he helped guide me in the past.

By the time you finish reading the book you’ll have the feeling that the travel industry is not unlike the cable and internet companies; they are out to make money, damn the customer.
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