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Christopher Elliott

Sarah Evans was in Canada for just 18 hours in May but incurred a $700 phone bill in her limited time there.

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Shorter, cheaper vacations the new normalupdated: Mon Aug 09 2010 12:12:00

When Roger Bell takes a vacation, he normally flies to a national park or visits friends up north for two weeks. But like many Americans, Bell, a Woodstock, Georgia-based technical writer, lost his job in 2009. And that changed the way he vacations -- maybe permanently.

Opt-out charges aggravate travelersupdated: Thu Jul 29 2010 13:47:00

Terri Widder hesitated seconds before she booked a recent flight from Chicago to Tulsa. Something felt wrong.

Big families bend hotel occupancy rulesupdated: Mon Jul 19 2010 07:49:00

Although he sometimes feels "a little dishonest" about it, Jeremy Reed says he doesn't have much choice: With seven children, from an infant to a teenager, and on a limited budget, he often reserves only one hotel room when he's on vacation.

But I asked them to hold my ticketupdated: Tue Jun 22 2010 08:27:00

Lizelle Figueroa calls Expedia to hold her ticket to California. But shortly after that, she's rushed to the hospital, where she spends five weeks.

Latest airline fee? Early boardingupdated: Thu Jun 17 2010 12:21:00

Do you like to be one of the first people to board a plane, avoiding crowded aisles and getting your pick of overhead bin space? There's a fee for that.

Travelers vulnerable to 'phishing' scamsupdated: Mon Jun 14 2010 13:04:00

A stolen bag. Lost cash. A missing passport.

Hotels connecting dots to online reviewersupdated: Mon Jun 07 2010 07:54:00

Hotels want to know who you are, especially if you're reviewing them anonymously.

I've fallen and I can't get a cruise refundupdated: Tue Jun 01 2010 17:06:00

When Jeff Allen falls and breaks his tibial plateau just before a Carnival cruise, the company offers him a 50 percent cruise credit. But he thinks the company should let him redo the cruise after his surgery. Who's right? And is there anything he could have done to avoid losing his vacation?

Advanced vacation rentals: 9 tipsupdated: Mon May 31 2010 10:19:00

Renting a reliable vacation home isn't easy.

Cell phones on planes: Time to rethink?updated: Thu May 27 2010 12:51:00

How do you know that the rules restricting electronics on planes are impractical? When you see a crewmember openly texting at 36,000 feet.

Smuggling Fido into your carry-onupdated: Thu May 13 2010 10:35:00

There's an unwritten rule in travel journalism that any story about pets on planes must contain at least one Chihuahua anecdote. I know, because I've written many of them. So let's get right to Charlotte Coan and her travel companion, Cricket.

Saying 'no' to body scans may come at a priceupdated: Mon May 10 2010 08:10:00

Having second thoughts about those new full-body scanners being used at airports by the Transportation Security Administration?

Four times to skip a travel agentupdated: Mon May 03 2010 14:53:00

Want to go somewhere? Book the trip yourself.

What's next for airlines, paying by the pound?updated: Thu Apr 29 2010 07:58:00

Now that Spirit Airlines has done the unthinkable, announcing plans to begin charging for carry-on bags this summer -- that's right, carry-on bags -- the question everyone seems to be asking is: What's next?

The vikings are real on this riverboatupdated: Tue Apr 06 2010 12:09:00

When Michelle Rothstein tries to arrange a special side-trip for her husband before a Seine river cruise, their company nixes the idea. It insists the family arrive when everyone else does -- no exceptions. What's more, it won't communicate with their travel agent. Can't it bend a little rule?

Hotels try to kick the smoking habitupdated: Tue Apr 06 2010 09:12:00

After President Obama's negative comments about Sin City and his subsequent mea culpa ("I love Vegas -- always have!"), I realize that this might not be the most prudent way to start a column. But how do you fire up a discussion about smoking in hotels without mentioning America's capital of secondhand smoke?

Where's my tour deposit?updated: Mon Apr 05 2010 08:34:00

Debra Hitti's tour operator promises it will refund her deposit if she cancels with more than 45 days' notice. But when she does, the company balks, insisting it never made any such assurances. Who's right, and how could a situation like this have been avoided?

No one told me about the resort feeupdated: Thu Mar 18 2010 15:10:00

What's this on Sonja Johnson's hotel bill? A mandatory $25 per day "resort" fee for the use of the spa. But didn't the rate she booked through Hotwire include everything? No, it didn't. But that doesn't mean she's out of luck.

What hotels will do for a good reviewupdated: Mon Mar 15 2010 09:33:00

Oh, the things hotels will do for a good review.

Payment stopped on my compensationupdated: Tue Mar 09 2010 14:05:00

Alaska Airlines pays Ashley Cates $239 when she's bumped from her flight. Then it stops payment on the check. Why? And is there anything she can do to get the money back?

An Australia tour that wasn't meant to beupdated: Mon Mar 01 2010 08:46:00

First her flight is canceled. Then she misses another flight after her bus breaks down. Finally, Rebecca Canter decides to cancel her Australia tour. But her tour operator refuses her request for a refund. Can it do that?

My hotel lost a star -- what now?updated: Thu Feb 25 2010 14:36:00

When Stephanie Farrow books a nonrefundable hotel room through Priceline, she's promised a four-star property. She ends up with a three-star and when she complains, she's given the runaround. Is her lost star a lost cause?

Some prices can be too good to be trueupdated: Wed Feb 10 2010 16:05:00

Royce Smith planned to visit Sydney, Australia, during spring break to attend an arts festival and work on a book, when he found an unbelievably good fare on American Airlines' Web site: A round-trip ticket from Wichita, Kansas, to Sydney for just $1,198.

Will passengers pay for pillows?updated: Wed Feb 10 2010 16:05:00

Starting in May, American Airlines will charge passengers $8 for a blanket and pillow pack. Would you pay?

Find a cheaper car rental away from the airportupdated: Mon Feb 01 2010 13:03:00

The best rate Darren Popik could find on a weekend car rental at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport recently was $114. So he decided to look elsewhere.

Coping with winter-weather delaysupdated: Mon Jan 04 2010 12:48:00

The holiday blizzard was a warning to air travelers: Winter is only starting, and when bad weather moves in, your flight schedule isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

TSA withdraws subpoenas of travel bloggersupdated: Fri Jan 01 2010 16:17:00

Just days after serving subpoenas to two travel bloggers, the Transportation Security Administration withdrew the subpoenas late Thursday, saying its investigation into how the bloggers received a sensitive security directive "is nearing a successful conclusion."

With air security, travelers are flying blindupdated: Thu Dec 24 2009 09:35:00

The Transportation Security Administration likes to keep terrorists guessing. Apparently, it likes to keep travelers guessing, too.

Be nice, you might get seat next to Santaupdated: Mon Dec 21 2009 15:47:00

Go on. Ask your airline for a favor -- maybe an upgrade to business class or a waiver on a ticket change fee. While you're at it, see whether your hotel will offer you a suite for the price of a standard room.

No credit for card tricksupdated: Tue Nov 17 2009 14:50:00

On second thought, maybe you should leave home without it.

Hot wheels: New luggage designsupdated: Fri Mar 20 2009 12:52:00

It's been almost a year since American Airlines started charging passengers for their first checked bag, a move that every other legacy airline quickly followed. It's taken almost that long for the luggage industry to catch up to that unfortunate new reality.

5 reasons to travel during the holidaysupdated: Wed Oct 08 2008 14:41:00

Here's a holiday travel forecast you probably won't read anywhere else: look for lower prices on everything from airfares to hotel room rates, smaller crowds and a more pleasant overall experience.

4 secrets for coping with airline cutbacksupdated: Tue Aug 19 2008 12:12:00

Is your flight about to be canceled?

5 ways to avoid a sad vacation finaleupdated: Tue Jul 29 2008 10:00:00

Oh, the terrible things we come home to from vacation.

4 ways the travel industry discriminates against singlesupdated: Tue Jul 15 2008 09:41:00

Flying solo? Prepare to pay up.

5 tips for getting on the plane prontoupdated: Thu Jun 19 2008 12:33:00

What's the fastest way to board a plane?

What to expect during the year of the feeupdated: Thu Mar 27 2008 11:31:00

Let's assume, for a moment, that you can't stop 2008 from becoming the Year of the Fee.

5 travel traps lurking in the fine printupdated: Fri Mar 21 2008 12:13:00

Your cruise ship may not be seaworthy. Your airline isn't responsible for your checked luggage and if something's stolen from your room, good luck getting the hotel to cover your losses.

4 secrets for a perfectly timed vacationupdated: Wed Feb 20 2008 09:49:00

If you've seen one tourism brochure that refers to itself as a "year-round" destination, you've probably seen them all.

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