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The Titanic Awards: Celebrating the Worst of Travel Paperback – May 4, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Mr. Lansky's new book, The Titanic Awards: Celebrating the Worst of Travel (Perigee Trade) is dedicated 'to all the travelers who overcame annoyances and obstacles to make it to their destinations, and then willingly decided to set out traveling again.' Hey, that's us! And as business travel begins to rebound after a long slump, it's perhaps useful to be reminded that on the road, 'something invariably goes wrong,' as Mr. Lansky says. 'At times, very wrong.'."
-The New York Times

"...Doug Lansky has an innate knack for zeroing in on the strangely humorous... When you think your trip isn't going, just remember: You could be checking into the Resist Bacteria Hotel in Singapore."

"...Details some of the misadventures that make your recent misadventure (and you know you have one) seem like a walk inn the park."

"So out of respect for all those who wouldn't guess from the title, here's a spoiler alert about Doug Lansky's new book, The Titanic Awards: Things go wrong. More precisely, the book is all about things going wrong or things being wrong. That's the point: It's always more interesting that way."

"A lively compendium of ineptitude, turpitude, and just bizarre behavior that would be even funnier if it weren't so depressingly familiar."

About the Author

Doug Lansky, a writer and a traveler, has chronicled his travels around the world in his hilarious and vividly descriptive column, "The Vagabond." His travels have included cruising up the Amazon on a cargo ship, living and blowgun hunting with Jaguar Indians in Peru, buying a horse and riding it to Colombia, hitchhiking through Syria and Jordan, where he befriended sergeants in the Iraqi military, riding a camel across the desert in India, and sailing down the Nile. Doug's articles have appeared in "Spy" and "Might" magazines as well as in numerous major U.S. daily newspapers. He is also the co-author of "How to Survive High School with Minimal Brain Damage," published when Doug was just sixteen years old.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 203 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee; 1 edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399535845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399535840
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,010,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
Doug Lansky has traveled enough to realize that no one wants to hear about your marvelous trip - the scenic vistas, the romantic lodgings, the fabulous food. What people really want to hear about is what went wrong and the more disastrous the better. Tell them about your moonlit night on a gondola in Venice and eyes glaze over. Until you get to the part where you fell out of the gondola into the canal.

The bad travel experiences in The Titanic Awards don't often result in either hilarity or tragedy. They sometimes are no more than complaints or mild rants, such as that internet access at five-star hotels costs too much. The book is laid out like a long magazine article with lots of lists, charts, and quotations. You can easily read a few pages at a time while you're watching TV, or do as Lansky suggests and keep it in the bathroom.

Many Titanic Awards will inspire you to nominate your own candidates for worst beach, for example. It would have to be pretty bad to beat the one in the United Arab Emirates, which collects so much oil from passing tankers that, according to the book, it has beach showers equipped with industrial cleaners and pot scrubbers to get the tar balls off your feet.

Many of the "Titanic Awards" were given to Ryanair for their numerous innovations. Their proposal to reconfigure aircraft for passengers to stand for the entire flight, for instance, or the plan to charge passengers to use the on board toilets. If you follow travel and aviation news at all, you may already be familiar with many of the trinkets in the book.

Some of the lists are a bit mysterious. The one that most perplexed me was "Lamest Natural Wonders of the World" which had the Grand Canyon as the 4th lamest natural wonder. The Grand Canyon? Lame?
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Format: Paperback
Travel is expensive, complicated, and difficult -- so it's supposed to be sublime and wonderful. But of course things are very rarely what they're "supposed" to be in this world.

And so, in honor of the gap between what is and what should be, travel writer Doug Lansky put together THE TITANIC AWARDS to dishonor the worst people, places, and things in travel -- the worst hotels, cities, airports, cruise lines, passenger behavior, tourists, and just about anything else you can think of. The Awards were given in three ways -- first, some categories were crowd-sourced through a survey taken by over 2000 people from 80 countries; others were from official statistics compiled by industry groups and associations; still others were Lansky's personal choices from years of bad travel experiences; and the last group were other personal reminiscences by other travel writers of the horrible experiences they've had.

So TITANIC AWARDS aims to give a holistic, in-the-round view of bad travel and tourism: airplanes, ground transportation, hotels, food and drinks, destinations, and those pesky fellow tourists. And it succeeds quite well: no one will want to read this book straight through, but it's a lovely schadenfreude-filled voyage of discovery, in which only other people have horrible things happen to them. If you want to know who the worst drivers in the world are, or which major airline has the smallest seats, or which country's tourists are the most rude, or where the world's most crowded swimming pool is, THE TITANIC AWARDS is the book for you.
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Format: Paperback
If you need incentive to stay at home and save your money, there's no better way to get that incentive than to get out and travel long distance, or attempt to travel long distance and watch your connecting flights disappear, and then sit huddled in a cold airport that has no amenities besides overpriced machines filled with superannuated snacks. And when you do get to wherever you were going, you may discover that your luggage is vacationing someplace else. A hefty volume could be written just about air travel. I'm completely on board with Doug Lansky's concept. Unfortunately, his finished product misses the bus, train, ship, etc.

What makes a book like this illuminating, and funny (and why else would you want to relive aggravation if it weren't to see someone else stewing and fuming?) is examples: pictures, stories, collected anecdotes. And there is some of that to be found in this slender book, just not enough of it. Roughly half of the book hands things off to lists and bar charts, and reading lists and bar charts is what too many of us do at our jobs. The airport and airline photos are pure gold, as is the precious cargo of "personal worsts" in flights, drives, toilets, etc. from around the world.

The good news, for future editions, is that Lansky is soliciting horror stories from readers for future editions. So like the "Darwin Awards," which this book is patterned after, the "Titanic Awards" may well evolve into a more useful and gleeful book. The 2010 edition, however, is little more than a leaky boat.
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Format: Paperback
Travel and humor blend in this entertaining, funny survey of the travel industry and its spectacular snafus. From plane rides from hell to boat and auto disasters, this covers 'facts' such as which countries have the worst roads, where to find the world's ugliest hotel, most unfortunate city and restaurant names, and more. A hilarious presentation!
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