About Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott
Christopher Elliott at the American Society of Travel Advisors convention, which gave him its Journalist of the Year award.

Christopher Elliott is an author, consumer advocate, and journalist.

His books are practical guides that help people make smarter purchases. He founded two nonprofit organizations for consumers. Elliott also writes weekly columns that have a combined reach of 10 million readers.


Elliott Advocacy is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers people to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. It assists consumers through direct advocacyjournalism and maintaining a database of executive contact information.

He also co-founded Travelers United, a nonprofit organization that works in Washington to help travelers.


Elliott writes columns about customer service, with a special emphasis on travel and technology.

He writes The Travel Troubleshooter, which is syndicated by King Features Syndicate. You can find the feature in newspapers across the country, from the San Francisco Chronicle to the Miami Herald.

He also writes the weekly Problem Solved column, which is distributed to more than 2,500 newspapers and websites. The feature has been published in the Hartford Courant, San Jose Mercury News and Seattle Times.

He writes On Travel, a nationally syndicated column about travel and destinations, which helps travelers understand the inner workings of the travel industry and how to make the most of their next trip. The feature appears in MSN, USA Today, the Dallas Morning News and the Seattle Times, among others.

He’s a senior contributor to Forbes. Elliott writes about customer service issues, with a specialty in technology and travel.

Elliott also writes Elliott Confidential, a subscription newsletter that publishes exclusive news and commentary about travel and customer service. And he publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers.

Elliott contributes to a variety of media organizations, including National Geographic, NPR, Smithsonian and Travel & Leisure. He’s a regular guest on a variety of national news programs, including ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, and the Today Show.

Travel writing

Elliott’s travel columns and commentaries have been a mainstay of American journalism.

He was a travel columnist for ABCNews.com from 1996 to 1999 and at CNN.com from 1999 to 2000. He was an editor-at-large and columnist at National Geographic from 2000 to 2016. He wrote a travel column for the New York Times from 2004 to 2007. From 2007 to 2009, he wrote a travel column for MSNBC.com. And he served as the Washington Post’s travel columnist from 2009 to 2023.

Elliott is on the road 365 days a year. From 2017 to 2021, he was on assignment in the United States. From 2021 to 2023, he was on an around-the-world project to cover post-pandemic travel. He’s currently on a one-year project to report from the Americas through 2024.

Christopher Elliott on assignment at Paphos Castle in Cyprus.
Christopher Elliott on assignment at Paphos Castle in Cyprus.


How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler (And Save Time, Money and Hassle) (National Geographic) is the book you’ll want to take on your next trip. It’s full of actionable advice you won’t find anywhere else. It also answers the most common and most perplexing travel questions. How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler shows you how to save time and money and prevent hassles. Elliott shares his favorite shortcuts and bargain tips. He reveals which ones are too good to be true. Plus, he explains how to avoid travel irritants such as onerous contracts or aggressive timeshare salespeople.

Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals (Wiley) is the ultimate guide for consumers. Once upon a time, store prices were simple and fair, businesses stood behind their products with guarantees free of fine print and loopholes. Companies genuinely cared about their valued customers. But those days are long gone. In this exposé of corporate America, Elliott pulls the curtains back on the broken relationship between American consumers and businesses. He explains how companies came to believe that fooling their customers was a viable, and profitable, business plan.

Christopher Elliott’s biography

Elliott was born in Charlotte, N.C., and grew up in Vienna, Austria.

He studied humanities at the University of California at Irvine and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1990. He received a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley in 1992 and was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to Germany in 1996.

Elliott completed six editorial internships, including stints at the Claremont (Calif.) Courier, the Daily Bulletin in Ontario, Calif., the Birmingham (Ala.) NewsThe Dallas Morning News, the Los Angeles Times, and Reuters.

Early career

Elliott began working for Dow Jones & Co. in 1992, shortly after graduating from Berkeley. He covered initial public stock offerings from Dow Jones News Service and wrote for the Wall Street Journal. He became the business travel editor for Travel Weekly, a travel trade publication, in 1994.

Elliott returned to Europe after receiving a Fulbright scholarship in 1996. In 1997, Elliott came back to the United States and started writing a weekly travel column for ABCNews.com. Three years later, the feature moved to CNN.com and eventually went into syndication.

Transition to advocacy

In 1996, Elliott registered the domain Elliott.org and began posting stories from readers. Many articles involved seemingly intractable problems with a company. Rather than just complaining, Elliott began contacting companies on behalf of the consumer and helped negotiate settlements. The stories formed the basis for a weekly feature called the Travel Troubleshooter. Then, in the late 1990s, the Miami Herald picked up the Travel Troubleshooter as a regular column.

In 2006, Tribune Media Services added the Troubleshooter to its lineup for national syndication. In 2009, Elliott started to develop a companion column, Problem Solved, which handled non-travel complaints. Both features are now nationally syndicated. In 2001, Elliott became National Geographic Traveler’s reader advocate. He remained in that role until National Geographic sold the magazine in 2016.

In 2018, after 22 years of self-publishing Elliott.org, Elliott incorporated Elliott Advocacy as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to help empower customers to solve their problems and help those who can’t.

Radio and television reporting

Elliott has hosted radio and TV shows on travel and advocacy. In the late 90s, he began reporting for National Public Radio as an independent producer. In the early 2000s, he hosted What You Get For The Money: Vacations on the Fine Living Network (now the Food Channel). Elliott also co-hosted the weekly syndicated show Rudy Maxa’s World with Christopher Elliott from 2009 to 2011. Elliott has appeared on virtually every major TV network as a subject matter expert, including ABC, BBC, CW, CBS, CNN and NBC.

How to contact Christopher Elliott for help

If you have a consumer problem, please send details to this form. You can reach Elliott at [email protected] or call him at (202) 370-7934. You can also join a community of consumers on social media:

Want to know more about Christopher Elliott?

Check out his consumer advocacy organization, Elliott Advocacy. If you’re a publicist, please also review his FAQs about media queries.