This is not a test; just a few quick shots through the arc.: Travel Weekly

Richard Touren

I have the feeling that our reading of the media might be more accurate and more digestible if columnists were allowed to simply state certain opinions or prejudices in advance, without lengthy explanations. What follows is a collection of some of the things I’ve put out in print for clients and friends in the industry, in books, and in front of live audiences. This is not a test; it’s just a few quick shots through the arc:

Planning trips abroad is easy. Skip the Michelin stars and decide you’re going to find the best sandwiches in the world. To start, head to Florence and All’Antico Vinaio. Then spend a few weeks looking for “second best”.

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For reasons that I won’t go into for the moment, I once flew back from Paris by coach, where the film shown was “Les Miserables”. Interestingly, the food served in the French penal system was very similar to what was on my tray table.

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When guests arrive at your home, do you greet them and immediately ask to see a credit card? Why don’t hotels understand how rude this is? Obtain the financial statements a few days before the client’s arrival.

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In the hotel industry, the term “MD” has nothing to do with the medical field. It means “the discretion of the maid” when it comes to whether or not your bed sheets will be changed or reused. Most lower to mid-range hotel chains let the housekeeper decide.

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If you meet a local Alaskan taxi driver named “Fuzzy” or something similar, and only if he has a white beard and has lived “in the state” for at least 10 years, ask him to show you Alaska tourists never see. You will have a wonderful visit or you will be kidnapped, but either way it will be an adventure.

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Most mainstream travel magazine “Best” awards are designed for everyone to win something and every cruise line, tour operator, etc., that advertises in the magazine can claim “Best” status.

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Let’s drop what we’re doing, hop on a bus and drive to the Mall of America. Let’s stop the first thousand buyers we see and ask them to name the highest rated cruise line in the world. If two knew the correct answer, I would be shocked. This is all part of the travel marketer’s efforts to make the travel consumer ignore the qualitative differences between different travel products.

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Do some creative writing: Give your travel consultant a bio that would entice any five-star hotel manager to ask you to stay the night.

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When traveling internationally, only connect to Newark or JFK if all other international airports in the United States are closed for the holidays.

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Belgium is one of those little-known countries where you can spend two weeks endlessly looking for a bad meal.

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When planning to meet your chauffeur outside customs at Heathrow, choose an appealing name like “Buffet” for your signage.

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My favorite of all the places in the world we’ve seen? It should be Rochester, Minnesota, where they have nice people, great snowboarding, and a more than decent hospital.

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Statistics show that the three most common uses of the Internet are, in order, gambling, pornography and travel searches. That should tell you something.

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