Wanna take a cruise? It’s safe to go in the water – almost

By | August 26th, 2013


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If you’re one of the 303 million Americans who won’t take a cruise this year, you might want to reconsider your vacation plans. This may be the time to head out to sea. Read the details in my USA Today column.


Do you “share” when you travel?
Have you used one of the new “sharing” companies like AirBnb or Uber to save money on a trip? I’m working on a story about “sharing” ventures that help you skip a traditional car rental, hotel or taxi — and I’m exploring the industry’s reaction to it. What do you think? Please send me an email. As always, don’t forget include your full name, city and occupation.

Greetings from Neskawin, Ore.
We’re heading north again after a week in Mendocino, Calif. It’s a lovely time of the year to be up here. Here’s our full report on Mendocino, and why we tried hard to not love it — and almost failed. You can follow along on our family travel blog or follow me on my personal Facebook page. Here’s my own recap of the Mendocino experience.

Wanna become the world’s smartest traveler?
I know you do. Then do this now: Pre-order my new book, How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money, and Hassle). It’ll help you navigate the ins and outs of the travel industry and save lots of time and money. Details are right here. By the way, if you’re heading out somewhere on a trip and need help with something, I’d be happy to email you a draft of a chapter, whether you order the book or not.

Let’s talk!
The stories you see in this newsletter are just a starting point. I hope you’ll take a minute to leave a comment, whether you agree or disagree with something I’ve written. Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google. I’m listening. And of course, I’m also here if you need me. Here’s my email address.

Related story:   New on Elliott: Unconventional rate cuts, too many people on my tour, playing the media card - Sponsored by Internationalflights.com


Why social media matters more than you think
It’s true, social media fatigue is starting to set in across the Internet. Consumers say they’re tired of receiving useless information through the latest and greatest social network and wary of giving up their personal data. But here’s one good reason you shouldn’t delete your social media accounts just yet: Companies are paying close attention to what you say. Find out what it is in my Mint.com column.

Can technology help you turn the tables on your car rental company?
If you’re tired of technology being used against you — and how can you not be after the the latest NSA spying allegations — then you’ll probably appreciate this man-bites-dog story. Here are the details.

How travelers can challenge the industry’s “act of God” excuses
It’s the time of year when the travel industry likes to play the weather card. Couldn’t check into your hotel? Blame it on that distant tornado. Flight canceled? It’s the hurricane’s fault, even though it’s hundreds of miles away. A big repair bill for your rental car? Thank last week’s hailstorm. But is it just an excuse?

Charged for insurance I never wanted — or needed
Jenny Tran discovers a mysterious $260 charge on her credit card and discovers she’s been charged for optional car rental insurance she never wanted, or needed. Can she get a refund?

They canceled my favorite cable networks — do they owe me?
When Rogers Cable removes two of Ed Kurys’s favorite channels from his cable package, he believes the company is violating his contract. But is it? Here’s the answer.

Related story:   Fee-happy airlines raise the bar again

What does a hotel owe me for construction noise?
All Robin Rosner wanted was a little peace and quiet when she checked into the Sheraton Centre in Toronto recently.
All she got was chaos and noise — lots of noise. Here’s what happened next.


As I sit here looking at the rain-soaked balcony of my vacation rental, I’m reminded that summer is almost over. It was far too short, and it’s likely to feel even shorter as we head north. I will miss the complaints from the summer tourists, who often just needed a little encouragement or a link to the right address or phone number. Often, their problems are so much easier to resolve than the ones I get during the rest of the year.

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