Traveling Woes and Wows

April 12, 2010

I’m sitting in a metal tube over the Rockies wondering about wandering. So frequently, we jump in a car, on a train or plane, to go somewhere other than where we are.

That’s odd. But understandable.

In my work as the social media trainer for the Society of Professional Journalists, I’ve had to jet around the country a handful of times already this year.

People travel for work and for fun, and there are great and less great things about the journeys. Here are a few of my woes and wows. Feel free to share yours.

People are self-focused. Whether in a car or on a plane, people camp in the fast lane, imperil your life and take too much room. They bring too much luggage, stench and attitude with them. And they frequently annoy me.

Companies are similar in their approach. They don’t seem to care about customers and that can get annoying too. I ran into that when I landed.

First, let me say the Las Vegas Hilton is a money-grubbing organization and I feel disgusted by them. In January they hosed me for $30 to park my car in their garage during CES.

The parking fee isn’t something new, they do it a couple times a year for large conferences. But the rest of the year the parking in the garage is FREE. AND the parking in the garage is FREE at certain times of the day. So if you’re unlucky enough to pull into the Hilton during FEE times, you get dinged for cash while someone else who arrives later or leaves a car overnight, pays nothing.

OK, that’s a little whining. Well, on this trip to Vegas I took the shuttle from the airport and here’s my trip of tears…

Front desk – room isn’t ready

Business center – yes, we have packages for you. That’ will be $10 per package plus tax. $55 for packages mailed to me at the hotel. What the heck?!! I’m staying at your hotel.

Front desk – we can’t waive fee because it’s a different company that does our business center, but it’s the same at all Hiltons (#FAIL).

Baggage claim (now that I had six packages in my arms and my bags and no room ready) – sorry, we can’t check packages, only luggage.

Front desk – well that’s their policy. But your room is ready now.

Nice way to make me want to stay here ever again. Good work Las Vegas Hilton – you blow!

In essence, before you get too cranky, the thing to pay attention to is that most customer service reps don’t have any control over your situation. But I wish more of them would pretend to care when a bag gets lost or they ram you with the beverage cart or their freaking vendors IN THEIR OWN HOTEL ream you for nearly $60 just to receive mail.

On the upside, travel IS fun. OK, it can be fun.

You get to see cool things….

You get to meet neat people and experience different foods and cultures. In fact, my favorite travel site recently is New York City and my favorite all-time is tied between Bermuda, Paris, Hawaii and another place (leaving that other place open so I can insert some places I know I’m forgetting).

You also get to relax, if you can. My modus operandi is to try and spend at least nine days in a place. Mostly because it takes me three days to relax. That still gives me almost a week of ‘real’ vacation.

Well, I’m writing this in a hotel room in Las Vegas and should probably get back to the conference. Hope your journeys are all satisfying. Chat soon.

Keep reading…and feel free to share your comments about travel.