It’s been a wild year for travel. What’s ahead for 2018?

Travel bans. Shootings. Viral passenger videos.

No one will forget the past year in travel. How could they? But what does it all mean for your 2018 trips? Read more “It’s been a wild year for travel. What’s ahead for 2018?”

How to tell if you have a qualified travel agent

Yarisa Smith knows she has a good travel agent.

“He’s made cruises and European trips special,” says Smith, a manufacturer’s representative from Dallas. “His itineraries and attention to detail have made every trip flawless. He’s even managed to successfully intervene when acts of God have waylaid my plans.”

Yet you might not know by looking at Clark Mitchell, who works for Dallas-based Strong Travel, whether he’s the real deal. Yes, his agency is cited as a source for its travel expertise by mainstream news outlets. It also prominently lists its membership in Virtuoso, an exclusive travel agency consortium.

But until now, there’s been no instantly recognized certification that says an agent is legit. That may be about to change. Read more “How to tell if you have a qualified travel agent”

Here are the worst holiday travel mistakes you’ve ever made

Travelers make mistakes every day of the year. Believe me, I know. I’m one of them. Read more “Here are the worst holiday travel mistakes you’ve ever made”

‘Tis the season for minimalist travel

It’s that time of year when an already tight space on a plane, train or automobile seems even tighter, thanks to those extra holiday presents or layers of bulky winter clothing you’re wearing. Maybe it just feels worse because of the airspace intrusion of an oversized seatmate or a yapping emotional-support poodle. Read more “‘Tis the season for minimalist travel”

Holiday airfare strategies: Does waiting longer ever work?

When it comes to planning your holiday travel, sooner is better. Or is it? Read more “Holiday airfare strategies: Does waiting longer ever work?”

When should you call your travel insurance company?

Pamela Mazerski didn’t wait to call her travel insurance company until she had to file a claim. Read more “When should you call your travel insurance company?”

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. Read more “Got a complaint about the travel industry? It’s got one about you, too”

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? Read more “Insider tips on how to file a travel insurance claim”

Aspire to travel the world? Read this before you go

Nothing changes you like travel does.

I know, because after 26 years of suburban stability, I recently sold my house, pulled up my stakes and hit the road. I’m a different person because of it. Read more “Aspire to travel the world? Read this before you go”