Travel Rules

Snippets from the RoadThings You Should Know

FILL OUT THOSE SURVEYS!

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For the recent trip to the Pacific Northwest (see post), I rented a car with Avis.  Once we had our suitcase, we headed to the rental car shuttle.  Wow.  The line was just endless.  Not wanting to wait, I hailed an Uber and headed up to the pick-up point for ride-sharing vehicles.  Another wait in line, not to mention $16 — probably some sort of minimum charge as a detraction (obviously the drivers want longer fares).  We needn’t have bothered, for the line at Avis was stunning.  About 30 people waiting to get cars, with three Avis people doing the check-out.  Anyone who prepaid in full (with avis.com) went to an expedited line and got priority — and that line was mostly empty until someone showed up and was immediately served.

A manager (in charge of both Avis and Budget) told us this problem is symptomatic of summer travel, where it is simply not possible to gauge how many cars are needed.  Every car was booked. This location is ghost-like in the winter, so gearing up for summer is challenging.  Of course, that didn’t satisfy me so I started tweeting (including this photo):

“Wow, @Avis, your service sucks.  Never again.”  Which didn’t do any good, but made me a bit calmer.  Some 90 minutes later, we got our car and headed off.    A few days later, I received their survey to rate my experience.  “On a scale of 1 to 10 …” That got a 1.  “How likely are you to recommend Avis to a friend?”  Not.  Survey completed and submitted.

The upshot?  I got a very nice email from an Avis manager apologizing for the delays and asking that I let him know prior to any future rentals so we would get priority treatment, etc.  The bigger surprise was, even though the rental shuttles are managed by SeaTac Airport and the car rental companies have no control, he took $30 off my bill to cover the Uber.   1) Fill out those surveys.  They do get read.  2) Share positive reviews as well.  Always nice to provide feedback to those that are doing a great job.

Snippets from the RoadThings You Should Know

CONFIRM ALL YOUR DETAILS .. THEN CONFIRM AGAIN!

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A fellow traveler shared his travel nightmare upon arriving in Barcelona.  He had checked with the hotel beforehand and determined that a private car wasn’t necessary given the options of cabs/subway/buses/trains.  Except said hotel concierge neglected to alert him when the cabs went on strike.

He’s traveling with a couple of suitcases and a backpack.  The train might seem the way to go until you realize how antiquated the stations can be: things like escalators, porters (save for some questionable locals trying to earn a few euros), and adequate signs are frequently missing.

Been there; done that. Never again.

To add insult to injury, he used an ATM to get much-needed local currency, only to find that his wallet was missing afterward.  Not theft but more likely fumbling around with all that luggage produced an “ooopsie.”  (The hotel was later extremely helpful with the challenges faced with the missing wallet).

So what’s the takeaway?  Check in with the hotel the day prior to your arrival just to make sure everything’s “good.”  Email the concierge or manager or local reservations desk for any last-minute updates.  They should be doing this on your behalf, but just in case they don’t …

Your wish is their command. Use them.
Snippets from the Road

WHAT AIRLINES FREEBIES DO YOU TAKE?

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A recent Wall Street Journal column identified how airlines continue to up their game in order to entice premium passengers, many of whom still pay full fare, with freebies (i.e., swag).   Items might include duvet covers, branded shot glasses, playing cards and pajamas.  Suffice to say, they dislike the increased cost to do so.

 

 

While amenity kits continue to be provided — with things like socks, eyeshades and toothpaste — and are easy for passengers to take, apparently some fliers are walking off with bedrolls as well.

On a recent flight from London-LAX, I had the pleasure of flying First Class and cannot personally imagine walking off with something akin to a sleeping bag (shown below).  Wowza.  A small throw blanket possibly.

 

Pillows & Blankets from AA First Class

 

Maybe the pajamas (typically not in “my” color).

 

I would keep these!

 

The question is:  What would you take with you??

Snippets from the RoadThings You Should Know

GREAT INFO FROM AFRICAN SAFARI EXPERTS

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If you’ve been you know this stuff.  If you’re planning on going, you need to know this stuff.  I’m sharing a link to some great advice from experts on the stuff.  This info is primarily about packing but provides a lot of insight into a safari.  May I add, safaris are the one type of travel that need long-range planning.  I’m doing just that for a family safari in … 2020.

Here you go — click HERE for the link.  My photos from Kruger National Park, 2016.

International TravelSnippets from the RoadThings You Should Know

TO VISA OR NOT TO VISA??

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When checking Visa requirements for your destination, be sure to read the fine print!  Recently found out the hard way that, in some cases, the destination of your onward travel might impact whether or not a Visa is granted for your destination.  Granted this is a remote case, but who knew?  Not available in this instance was an “on-the-spot” Visa (online or at an airport desk) which many travelers revert to if they neglect obtaining Visas prior to airport arrival.  Governments have “interesting” ways of garnering fees.  We nearly didn’t make it out of New Zealand when the hubby objected to being charged $25 per person to leave the country.   Can’t say I blame him …

 

International TravelSnippets from the RoadThings You Should Know

GLOBAL ENTRY

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Remember to update your Global Entry if you get a new Passport.  The new passport does not automatically connect to your GE information.  I found this out recently upon attempting to re-enter at LAX.  The reason was due to my new passport which had not been updated to GE.  Save yourself time and effort PRIOR to customs arrival.