Buying a PC? Here’s what you need to know now

If you’re in the market for a new computer, there are things you need to know. Things your PC manufacturer or retailer won’t necessarily share with you.

And with the frenzied days of buying just ahead, now is the time to inform yourself. Otherwise you could end up overpaying — I mean really overpaying — for your next laptop or desktop.

What do hotel guests really want? The answer may surprise you

What do you really want when you check into a hotel?

The lodging industry thinks it knows. The pollsters do, but too often they ask the wrong questions. One recent survey suggested guests crave more technology. (It was sponsored by Oracle.) Another claimed guests desire free Wi-Fi, breakfast and parking. Well, duh.

Got a complaint about the travel industry? It’s got one about you, too

“I’m weary of those entitled passengers who are continuously whining and complaining,” says Lisa Thomas, a veteran flight attendant based in Denver. “I feel like telling them, ‘Take some responsibility for your choices.’ ”

Thomas’s comments, made to me after a recent column about the rise of fees in the travel industry, triggered a fascinating debate. Many travelers say that they think fees are out of control, particularly in the airline business. The top 10 airlines collected more than $28 billion in revenue from extra fees and services last year, up from about $2 billion a decade ago, according to a recent study by the consulting firm IdeaWorks.

At the same time, many in the industry say that they think people are getting exactly what they paid for: a quality product at a ridiculously low price. Industry employees like Thomas suggest that travelers have become spoiled.

Will a new bill hold the travel industry accountable?

Imagine a world where your cruise line or airline pays you if it fails to keep its schedule, you aren’t penalized for a canceled reservation if your hotel is able to resell the room and ticket change fees are related to the actual cost of changing your flight schedule.

Impossible, right?

Insider tips on how to file a travel insurance claim

If you’re reading this, chances are something horrible has happened while you’re on vacation — a health scare, a disruption, even an unexpected death.

Maybe you’ve phoned your travel insurance company and the wheels are now in motion for a claim. And you’re wondering: What now?

Backpacks are making a comeback with travelers — here are some of the best

Backpacks are back.

In a world of shrinking personal space, overstuffed overhead bins and exorbitant airline baggage fees, travelers are rediscovering the convenience and savings of wearing their luggage. For many, the “aha” moment came this summer as they watched a crowd of in-the-know travelers breeze through the terminal unencumbered by extendible handles and the bulk of things they didn’t really need.

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