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What’s so wrong about travel “hacking”?

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What you need to know this week

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What’s so wrong about travel “hacking”? I’ll tell you in my USA Today column. Please don’t forget to leave a comment and share this important column with your friends.

Away is Home is back! We’ve relaunched our travel-talk site, Away is Home. Check out our first new post on the ethics of “borrowing” from the hotel lost-and-found.

Who are the best nomadic bloggers? Here are the finalists. Don’t forget, you can still vote for the best photography bloggers, as well as the top outdoor bloggers, business travel bloggers and food bloggers.

And the best budget travel bloggers are … Here are the winners. Thanks for voting!

Become the world’s smartest traveler. Buy my new book, How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler, and you’ll never have another bad trip. (And if you do, you know where to find me, right?)

Welcome, ShamaTravel.com! ShamaTravel.com has been helping people make their vacation dreams come true for over 30 years. Plane tickets to river cruises, all-inclusive resorts to customized European tours, Mexican getaways to Caribbean cruises. No matter where you’re going, Shama will help you get there! Finding the lowest airfares is my specialty. Email your request to [email protected]. I’m very grateful to ShamaTravel for its support of the consumer advocacy on this site.

This week’s burning questions

Phrases that make travel worse. I’m working on a story about phrases that are accepted as conventional wisdom in the travel business, but actually make the travel experience worse. Among them: “Want first class? Buy first class!” “You get what you pay for” and “No waivers, no favors.” Have you ever heard these phrases used to justify receiving reduced service or no service when you’re on the road? Have you heard any other phrases like it? And is there a better phrase to describe the same concept that people should use instead? Here’s my email address.

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The latest news from Elliott

New videos! I have a series of new clips from my YouTube channel. I answer questions like: Should I book my trip directly? Also, when should you apply for a passport? Find out everything you ever wanted to know about agency commissions, but were afraid to ask. Check them out!

Do I deserve a refund for this Sicilian vacation rental?
What makes Sylvia Guarino’s case interesting isn’t that she had a disappointing stay at a vacation rental.

The travel industry cracks down on smokers
Landra Osmus doesn’t smoke. So when she checked out of the Comfort Suites at Sabino Canyon in Tucson, Ariz., recently, she was surprised to find a charge on her bill.

Warning! These “free” travel offers can really cost you
The travel industry is infatuated with the word “free,” and face it, so are travelers. Don’t believe me?

Can I get a refund for my river cruise to Ukraine?
Shortly after Jack and Pat Davies book a river cruise to Ukraine, the country begins to fall apart.

Let’s talk

I’m listening. 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.

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