The Travel Detective: How to Get the Best Service -- and the Best Deals -- from Airlines, Hotels, Cruise Ships, and Car Rental Agencies

The Travel Detective: How to Get the Best Service -- and the Best Deals -- from Airlines, Hotels, Cruise Ships, and Car Rental Agencies

by Peter Greenberg
     
 

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Americans now travel more than ever before. Yet as our traveling has increased, the service we receive from airlines, hotels, and other agencies has deteriorated dramatically. Industry surveys reveal growing dissatisfaction among travelers of every age, income, and education level. We've been abused by the travel experience.

Peter Greenberg is here to help

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Overview

Americans now travel more than ever before. Yet as our traveling has increased, the service we receive from airlines, hotels, and other agencies has deteriorated dramatically. Industry surveys reveal growing dissatisfaction among travelers of every age, income, and education level. We've been abused by the travel experience.

Peter Greenberg is here to help.

The Travel Detective tells you the things your travel agent can't-or won't. In his characteristic friendly and conversational tone, Greenberg gives us tips on how to find the secret walkup fares that can save air travelers hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on last-minute flights; which coach seats on which planes are better than first class; how to evoke "rule 240" when bumped from a flight (and never be bumped again); which cruise-ship brochures are misleading; which credit card companies are fastest-and slowest-to come to your aid in a foreign land; which hotels have the best-and the worst-safety records, and how you can protect yourself; how to negotiate the best hotel-room deal; which hotels have the worst water pressure (and how you can get great water pressure, even there); and much, much more. Accessible and entertaining, The Travel Detective gives you the information and tools you need to make every trip an affordable pleasure.

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Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
Peter Greenberg is my hero. Not only is he an experienced world traveler, able to uncover hard-to-find deals on flights, rental cars, and hotel rooms, but he is also a dedicated consumer advocate who shares all of his secrets. The major airlines hate him because of his commitment to revealing their dirty secrets to travelers everywhere, but instead of giving in, Greenberg -- travel editor for NBC's Today show -- went a step further and wrote The Travel Detective. An invaluable book for travelers, The Travel Detective is a straightforward, entertaining book that explains exactly how to save money and avoid being mistreated by airlines. Instead of a guidebook to a destination, Greenberg has written a guidebook on the very act -- or art -- of travel itself.

The ultimate traveler's resource, The Travel Detective takes readers through every single step involved in booking a trip -- from researching air fares to getting your luggage on the plane. Greenberg meticulously lists information such as misleading travel terms ("all-inclusive" and "direct flight" are among the most often misunderstood), secret seats that allow you unlimited legroom in coach class, common ploys used by thieves in airports, and statistically disastrous flights that are always delayed. Drawing on years of travel experience and a vast amount of research, Greenberg takes readers inside the travel industry, revealing the truth behind chronic airport delays, awful in-flight meals, and sneaky strategies used by airlines to increase their profits.

So arm yourself with The Travel Detective before you even start looking for your next plane ticket. It could save you hundreds of dollars and, perhaps more important, give you the knowledge you need to avoid the frustrations of modern travel. (Julie Carr)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375756665
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/24/2001
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
5.22(w) x 8.06(h) x 0.88(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from

The Travel Detective: How to Get the Best Service -- and the Best Deals -- from Airlines, Hotels, Cruise Ships, and Car Rental Agencies

Most of us love to travel. That's the good news.

The bad news: We hate the process of travel.

We've been abused. And after each trip, we tell ourselves we'll never do it again.

And yet, we can't wait to do it all over again. And we do.

To many people, travel remains a voyage-or a flight or an Interstate trip-of discovery. But to most of us, travel remains a ritual of reassurance. Where there's a whim ... there's a way. And even though we hate the process, we continue to travel.

In 1999, more than 1.3 billion people traveled by air. The average American traveler is 44 years old. Of all American adult travelers, 49 percent are men, 64 percent are married, and 48 percent have children.

We travel to escape, or to explore, or to rest. Travel is, for many of us, an exercise in renewal, or a test of our limits. And some of us travel, simply, because we CAN.

And we DO. In a recent American Express study of 200 developing and developed countries, travel and tourism were found to be the biggest industry. In fact, if travel and tourism were a country instead of an industry, its gross national product (GNP) would rank among the top five in the world.

As an industry, it is one of the world's largest employers-one of every eleven jobs worldwide is held by someone in the travel business.

I've been traveling since I was six months old, when my parents took me on a very long DC-6 flight from New York to Los Angeles.

Since then, I've flown on virtually every commercial aircraft ever made, from DC-3s to Comets, Fokkers, Ilyushins, Fairchilds, and Boeings.

Over the years, my passports have bulged with the entry and departure stamps of more than 120 of the world's 187 countries.

And many readers of this book have passports that are fatter than mine.

There has been an exponential jump in the number of travelers and in the frequency of their trips.

In 1978, at the beginning of airline deregulation in the United States, only about 17 percent of all adults had ever taken an airplane flight.

With deregulation came dozens of new airlines. Airfares started matching bus fares, and the numbers of passengers soared.

Today, more than 84 percent of adults have flown. An impressive number, but also a scary one because a majority of that 84 percent feel abused by the process.

But the key question remains: Are we tourists or travelers?

To me, the definition of tourist is victim waiting to happen. I know very few people who define themselves as tourists. Instead, they call themselves travelers. But that doesn't mean they're good travelers.

I always get a laugh on Mondays. That's when my incoming-call volume soars.

Nearly everyone who calls is angry. They've just returned from a trip and there were problems.

And the calls seem to share the same structure, language, and intonation.

"It was a HORRIBLE flight," one will say. "The service was TERRIBLE." And, they add, they will NEVER do it again.

"Really?" I respond. "A horrible flight?"

"Absolutely," they answer. "Horrible."

"Let me ask you something," I continue. "At any time during your flight, did the airplane hit a mountain and disintegrate?"

"No..."

"And when you landed, did the wing hit the runway and did you cartwheel and explode?"

Again, "No."

"And," I conclude the questioning, "are you calling me from your. . . destination?"

"Yes..."

"Well, hang up the phone. It was a GREAT flight. You arrived!"

A funny thing then happens between the time my phone rings on Monday and the time it rings again-the same person is calling-on Thursday.

The person who had insisted that his or her experience was horrible on Monday, that he or she would NEVER do it again, is now in a mild panic.

Why? Because it's THURSDAY and he or she is desperate for the information necessary to get to the airport, get out of town, and try it all over again!

We have become a nation of travel junkies. And our addiction seems to be incurable.

And yet, for many of us, the decisions involving the PROCESS of travel are flawed. We have a serious entitlement problem. Half of us don't think we're entitled to anything when we travel. And the rest of us think we deserve EVERYTHING.

Result: A nation of unhappy, but addicted travelers.

So, what do we REALLY want when we travel?

Chances are, if you've traveled lately, you now have a list. You may not have written it down or committed it to memory, but you've got it-your list of all the ways a trip can be ruined. ...

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Meet the Author

Peter Greenberg is the travel editor for NBC's Today show. He is also the chief correspondent for the Discovery Network's Travel Channel and editor at large for National Geographic Traveler magazine. He lives in Los Angeles, but he's never home. Go figure.

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