For less than $20 you can save yourself a thousand travel tears.
How to be the World’s Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money and Hassle) by Christopher Elliott; National Geographic ($19.95, out March 4) is a dandy compilation of tips and insider wisdom from national travel consumer advocate Elliott (who also writes the Travel Troubleshooter column that runs Sundays in the Miami Herald). Among his best advice:
• Photograph your rental car from all sides before you drive away, and save the photos for six months in case the car rental agency tries to claim you damaged the vehicle.
• Disregard the top and bottom 5 percent of reviews on hotel review sites.
• Before you book a room on a room-share travel site, check the crime statistics for the neighborhood.
• If you see a good airfare, “book it now and don’t look back,” he writes. Endlessly trolling fare sites usually wastes time instead of saving money.
Elliott has seen just about every travel disaster out there. But absorb his good advice and you will avoid the precarious cliffs of travel doom.