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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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"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
Top Customer Reviews
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".
Indeed, the table of contents was promising, seeming to cover all the bases. So, the book looked comprehensive. And from a veteran travel writer for Nat Geo, too. It had to be good.
But it wasn't. The advice in all sections is very basic. Even newbies who know how to read the fine print on their documents, and then exercise old-fashioned American common sense, won't need this book.
And I do mean "American". The book is entirely and solely for US residents. You want to know about rail travel? There's a comment or two about Europe, but the section on rail is really about Amtrak. If you're not traveling in the US, the book loses much of its limited utility.
It also reflects on Mr. Elliott's role as a travel ombudsman, so the best advice in the book is how to recover from abuse by airlines, hotels and other travel industry suppliers. If you've been treated badly or lost money, you might learn something about how to seek restitution.
The book had promise and could still be helpful to a US-based tourist who's timid about booking a domestic vacation. International? Forget it. Anyone with more gumption and farther horizons can get better travel advice in books by Rob Sanger or Edward Hasbrouck or even off the net.
1. Always compare prices for everything (flights, hotels, rental cars, ...) from different sources before you book.
2. Always read the fine print of any contract you sign - it's important to need to know the details.
3. There is no solution that works for everyone (e.g. not one way to book hotels).
I don't travel a lot, so I was hoping to get some good advice, but I feel like I already knew ~90%. Also, there was little concrete advice. Most chapters give an somewhat broad overview over different options and end with "you have to figure out what works for you". I liked the chapter about Loyalty Programs (bottom line: they are probably not worth it), but that's not worth buying the book for.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I first heard about Christopher Elliott on an interview he did with "The Travelers" podcast. I am a newbie to traveling so I decided to order his book. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
If you have traveled alot, you already probably know most of what is in this book. You have learned it by experience. If you are a newbee at traveling then I would recommend it.Published 10 months ago by Too many books, never enuf time!
I suppose if you live in a little corner of Iowa and your last big trip was a drive down to Omaha, this might, after reading, make you feel like the "World's Smartest... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Tammy Richards
I get the feeling that 50% of the stuff in the book don't add any value. It is better to keep the book short than to add a lot of stuff that people will never get help from.Published 13 months ago by Erik Zackrisson
Excellent info to navigate the intricacies of today's travel.Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
I love Chris Elliott's work...his eletters, his FB page. He is well-informed and a concerned advocate.Published 13 months ago by K. Hannigan