Why Can’t We Have Nice Things? (a.k.a. How To Actually Help People With Their Travel Questions)

I don’t know if I should call this a public service announcement or if it’s a rant but whatever it is, this is how I feel when I read some of the comments to online questions.

Of course, I know the first rule of the internet:

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However, reading others’ blogs means that I need to know what people are thinking in order to write things that are topical for my own blog. That includes reading all of our comments or checking posts on Facebook and Twitter.

Sometimes, the advice the people give drives me crazy and don’t get me started on the reasoning behind their comments, which can make even less sense.

What am I talking about?

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Expedia Kept Trying to Schedule An Airport Shuttle Even After Customer Was Safely Home

One of our friends visited London and endured a frustrating exchange with his Online Travel Agent in regards to a ride to the airport for his flight home. I followed along with the thread on Facebook, and after he arrived safely home, I asked and received permission to share the details.

Here’s the story:

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Should You Get a U.S. Passport Card?

You know what documents you need to get on an airplane. For most people in the U.S., you show your driver’s license to the TSA agent at the checkpoint. If you’re taking an international flight, you’ll have your passport with you and might use that instead. The TSA currently allows many different forms of identification to get past the security checkpoint. Here’s the list from tsa.gov:

  • Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential

I’ve seen U.S. passport cards before but never thought they were good for much. When my dad showed me he had gotten one, I thought it was a waste of money since he also got his passport at the same time.

What can you use a U.S. passport card for, anyway?

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Are Americans Less Hospitable, Or Is It Just Us?

We’ve just finished spending the night over a relative’s house during a road trip and it occurred to me that in the seventeen years we’ve owned our house, we’ve only had one person who wasn’t family spend the night. Counting family members, that number goes up to three.

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We don’t mean to be inhospitable, but we think of our home as our private domain. Our sanctuary. In order to let someone into that space, we have to be really comfortable with you entering our area. Even when we had the couple we found on Trusted Housesitters stay at our house, we only let them stay in the guest bedroom and we went through emails and Skype interviews before we even considered to allow anybody to do that.

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What If Your Rental Car Company Overcharges You For Tolls?

Paying for toll roads and bridges/tunnels has become more complicated in recent years. More and more locations are depending on toll-by-plate systems to send you a bill or otherwise use a transponder in your car to keep track of how much you owe. If you go through a toll in a rental car, the bill for the toll goes to the rental car company and eventually gets charged to your credit card. Rental car companies have turned this into another way for them to rip you off augment their revenue stream and often add huge surcharges to rentals even if you only go through one toll during your rental. We’ve written about how you can try to avoid these charges by renting from a company that charges a fair rate for their toll payment services. But what if the car rental company sends you a bill after your rental for tolls you know you didn’t go through?

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