Subject: Re: Traveler's Aid: Helping Others Plan Trips
Hi Debbie,

I suspect that your experience is not unusual. Though those of us who do more in-depth research on our travels may think that many other travelers do the same, the truth is probably quite the contrary. I find that even the most sophisticated of my friends are naive in the extreme when it comes to travel planning. At best, those who can afford it use more knowledgeable travel agents and hope that these pros will steer them in the right direction. Rarely are these efforts completely successful, especially when the plans include less well traveled areas.

When I travel with friends, they almost always leave the planning to me, to the point where they are almost oblivious until we get to where we are going. Once we've reached our destinations, they seem very pleased and appreciative, perhaps in the mistaken belief that all travelers are having the same experiences. Some, however, do indeed figure out that their situations are unique.

In cases where I make suggestions, but don't go along, few of the suggestions are followed, usually because the people don't really have a clue about the quality of information provided them.

To a large extent, these kinds of occurrences are analogous to you had to be there. Truly well-informed travelers are rare. So much the better for those who are. Let the others do the If it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium routine.

Regards, Russell from Connecticut