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Chris Elliott's New Book is a Smart Guide to Travel Smarts


I think of myself as a pretty experienced traveler, and my friends often come to me with questions. And, for several years I’ve been sharing advice and experience on online forums, and now TravelGumbo. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need someone to answer my questions, and when it comes to travel tips and techniques, problems and pitfalls and the like, my guy is Chris Elliott.


Chris Elliott, National Geographic’s reader advocate and columnist for Tribune Media and the Washington Post, is widely known for taking on travel consumers’ problems and getting resolutions; in addition to his writing gigs, he runs a consumer advocacy website ( and is a co-founder of the Consumer Travel Alliance. So you know that his

new book is one that every serious traveler will probably want to buy: How To Be the World’s Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money and Hassle).


Let’s be clear: this is not a classic guidebook; he makes no recommendations on where to travel or what to see there. Instead, it is a guidebook to the mechanics of travel: how things work, how to choose travel insurance plans, what airline policies mean, how to resolve compaints, how to measure the value of a “bargain,” and more. Much more, and illustrated by examples of cases he’s worked on and solved…the kind you see in his columns and on his website. As with all his work, the book is a lively read.


It’s divided into three main sections: Before You Go (covering finding reliable advice, insurance, getting your papers in order, luggage, loyalty programs, etc.); Getting There (car rentals, air travel, cruises, dealing with airports and with TSA) and On The Ground (which covers complaints, hotel strategies and choices, vacation rentals and timeshare issues, “road food” and troubleshooting).


No matter how you travel, whether with a tour group or as an independent traveler, this is a comprehensive and useful book. Published in paperback by National Geographic, it’s a 286-page paperback for $19.95. If I may mention…if you buy it through the Amazon link on TravelGumbo you not only get a little lower price…you also help support TravelGumbo.




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The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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Thanks Paul, Chris does seem to solve a lot of problems and shares how he does it and who to talk to. I've found his contact he lists at companies very helpful when people get the runaround.


The book sounds like another useful resource

If you want a thing done, ask a busy man.

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