Subject: Re: Travelers' Aid

Altho I call myself #The Travel Dictator,# I actually try to keep my mouth shut when I hear a travel disaster in the making unless I am asked to give my opinion.

Many of the disasters-in-the-making revolve around deals that seem too good to be true, &lo & behold, they generally are.

An acquaintance booked herself &2 teenage boys into an isolated island resort off the coast of Belize, one that caters to divers. Ooops. Resort was deserted all day because everyone was off on dive boats, the ocean at the resort is full of turtle grass &the non-diver youngsters were bored out of their minds (read, no teenage girls in skimpy bikinis were there) &everything was buttoned up at 8pm anyway. But it was such a good buy!

There are many cruise lines &tour companies that routinely select obscure routings or wait until too close to departure to divulge schedules. This may be because such routings are less expensive, but careful planning will often yield a better schedule &similar fare if done on your own. The caveat for independent air in conjunction with a tour is that if you experience any delays or diversions enroute to meeting your tour group, the tour company may or may not be helpful in catching you up with the group or with refunds of unused tour components. Some of the least flexible folks in the tour/cruise business staff the air departments of their companies. They make me nuts, but it's that Travel Dictator thing again. Some cruise lines are offering an #air deviation# program for an additional fee, supposedly to give travelers more flexibility in air schedules. Hrmph. Same old stuff, by my reckoning.

Gail In Eugene but never for long