Are You A Travel Snob? A Podcast

 

*** SHOW NOTES ***

Recorded February 18, 2020 in the beautiful Marriott Courtyard, Coral Springs FL.

A few travel-related notes:

I had four flights on Southwest this past week and they’ve updated their pre-flight safety message to something along the lines of –  “Please report any unwelcome behavior to your flight attendant.”

Nothing wrong with that.

Do you remember Chole Haines? Last November she made the crazy travel roundup for trying to open the door of a Jet2 plane in flight. As a result of her alleged antics, the pilot made an emergency landing while being escorted by two RAF fighter jets and a bill for £85,000. In addition to the bill, Jet2 banned Haines for life.

Well this week, Chelmsford Crown Court court found Haines guilty and sentenced her to two years in prison

Disney, Disney, Disney the happiest place on earth, just got a bit more expensive.

  • The cost of a one-day pass has increased from $199 to $209 per day. 
  • The MaxPass, which allows you to avoid waiting in line and digitally book reservations increased to $20 from $15.
  • If you’ve never priced out Disney tickets it can be confusing AF. There are blackout date tickets. There are, park hopper, and non-park hopper tickets, but rest assured that they’ve all increased. What hasn’t increased is their $25.00 per day parking fee.
  • If you’re a true baller consider the Premier Pass. It gives you access to Disneyworld and Disneyland with no blackout dates. Only $2199 up 13% from last year.

Onto the snobbery!

 I am a self-diagnosed watch nerd, as well as a pen nerd. I certainly don’t have a collection the size of John Mayer or Kevin O’Leary, but the ones that I do have has a story attached to them. 

I have two Omega‘s from my father, the first one is a Seamaster that his brother brought back to him in the late 1950s. Most people tend to swap out their watch bands based on fashion. My dad is an engineer and he swapped out the Seamaster watch band for function. So this Seamaster does not have a calendar on it so my dad being an engineer, and concerned with function, not fashion, swapped out with the leather band it came with for an aftermarket metal band that had this very tiny dead sea scrolls style calendar embedded in the band. So every year he would swap out last year’s calendar for the current year. Somebody at the watchband company had discovered a way to create recurring revenue from the typical one time purchase of a watch band. 

For years he wore that watch until February 1963 when my mom gave him another Omega as an anniversary gift. So the story is that I have that Seamaster with that watchband with the calendar still displaying February 1963.

Over the last couple of weeks, some of you may have seen a clip from the antique roadshow, where a very unassuming man had his Rolex Daytona appraised. The gentleman went on to say that he paid approximately $350 for the watch back in the mid-70s and for the most part had left it basically unworn in his closet, complete with all of the paperwork. He was now curious as to its value. The appraiser went on to talk about its very pristine condition, all the papers, etc. etc. and said the value would be somewhere above $500,000. And almost on cue, the watch owner fell to the ground, not an Oscar-worthy performance.

I certainly don’t run around in a crowd of people that wear half a million watches, but of course there is no shortage of them and very often those people are labeled as snobs.

All this got me thinking about the Thrillist article I Wore an Expensive Watch While Traveling, and People Treated Me Wayyy Differently. The article was really a commercial for the now-defunct Eleven James watch club. Think early NetFlix, but for watches. For $150.00 each month you had access to wear a luxury watch. Get tired of that Rolex send it back in for an AP Royal Oak.

For me, the article comes down to this paragraph;

Over the course of the summer, the way I was treated while traveling generally improved. Hotel front desks actually seemed to care when my internet didn’t work. Flight attendants gave me whole cans of soda. When I got first-class upgrades, the people I sat next to actually talked to me (watches, I later learned, are how regular first-class flyers can tell the real money from the upgrades). I wasn’t sure if it was just the confidence that came from wearing an expensive watch that caused people to treat me better, or it was the watch itself. Either way, my watch and I were clearly sending a message.

 

In theory, I agree with this, just not 100% with watches. For instance, your car, like a watch, serves a purpose, Point A to Point B. However if I go house shopping and my realtor loads me up in a 1989 Honda Accord with torn seats I will immediately form a very different opinion of them than if they carted me around in a 2020 Tesla Model X. 

Honestly, I’ve had more compliments on my Seiko SKX, a less than $200.00 watch than anything that I’ve ever worn.

 I know for myself when I see somebody with a nice watch I certainly don’t treat them any differently, if anything I will usually comment on the watch which in turn usually leads them into telling me a story about it, which is always cool.

Hello, I’m Steve. I’m a travel snob.” Everyone in unison, “Hello, Steve.” Not a total snob, but I do have a few snobbish tendencies. 

I don’t get in the TSA line behind old people and families with small children, especially if the small children are wearing mouse ears flying out of Orlando. 

I rarely stop at the front desk when I’m checking out of a hotel, as I know they’ll email me a bill. 

The same with my rental car. I leave the keys in the ignition, grab luggage knowing well that my receipt will arrive in my Inbox before my flight takes off. 

My hotel profiles indicate I want a room at the end of the hall, away from the elevator and the traveling swim team that insists on running up and down the hall screaming at 1:00 AM.  

There are hotel’s that I frequent based solely on how they treat me. Consistent room upgrades or a tray full of snacks waiting for me inside my room, those things go a long way.. That’s not snobbery, that’s smart.

A few idiosyncrasies, but nothing to make me the poster child for travel snobbery.

This past weekend we stayed at the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace Disney Springs Area, this is not our normal place the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Disney Springs Area… no Palace.

This was our first visit, and it was less than stellar.

 

When we got to our room we opened the fridge only to have our noses greeted with the smell of old food, and yes there were two Styrofoam boxes and a half-consumed Starbucks Gooey Frapa-Frapa BS. No problem, we called downstairs explained the situation, which they promised to correct. Then we headed over to Disney Springs for dinner. A few hours later we came back to find a new fridge, that contained the OPF, Other Persons Food. We then also noticed that the alarm clock on the bedside table had no power cord. Another phone back to housekeeping to explain the OPF Fridge and the half-hearted attempt at an alarm clock. Then we noticed that the bedside table had no outlet to plug the alarm clock into. I can’t remember the last time I had seen that. Thankfully the other bvedside table did, so we had that going for us. Still searching for an outlet near my side of the bed, I found one behind the sofa. I moved the sofa only to discover that that outlet was dead, so being a true road warrior I went to the bathroom and reset the GFC hoping that outlet was no the same circuit….. No dice. The next morning I actually went to the front desk to checkout and voice my displeasure with the room. The fridge, and oversight, but the alarm clock…. Housekeeping should have noticed that, and there was no telling how long the outlet behind the sofa had been inoperable.

I can shoulder a fair amount of inconveniences, especially when traveling alone, but when I’m with family and friends, and I’ve made the arrangements…. I expect a bit more, even if the rooms are booked on points, and not with cash.

There was also a Huffington Post article addressing travel snobs, and they asked a handful of questions to help the reader decide.

 

You flaunt that you know how to travel because you always book the best of everything. I wish. I try to book smart, be it a hotel, flight or rental. Sometimes smart means planning. Just because I can book a room with points, doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea. 50,000 points for a $100.00 isn’t a great deal. Now, this really sounds snobby – with my status level that $100.00 room will provide 3000 points and then my Hilton card will give me another 1300 points. 4300 points for $100.00, which is almost half the amount of points needed for a night at a Hampton Inn. 50,000 points for a $350.00

You actually say, “Been there. Done that. What’s next?” 50/50 on that. There are places that we’ve been once or twice and they’re not worth going back to. There are some places that we’ve been three or four times, like Savannah that we never tire of. That being said we enjoy planning trips, and when traveling for business I always look for new places to explore.

 You cringe every time you see someone with a suitcase. Not at all, more than likely I’m interested in knowing if their bag has something that would make my life easier.

 

You argue that you aren’t really traveling unles1s you go to the most remote “off the beaten track” destination void of all human connections. That’s a “no” from me. Yes, we’ve done some remote off the beaten path stuff, but that’s not a prerequisite for being a traveler.

You say phrases like, “I don’t go there anymore because it’s too touristy” or, “I would never go there.” I enjoy going where others have been. First, you get tips from friends that have been there and second it provides conversation at meetings and lame parties. Besides no one wants to hear about your vacation to someplace that no one has ever heard of.

You brag that you’d rather not go someplace than fly coach. I could only wish, my last first-class trip was about four years ago.

You start a conversation with “I am a road warrior who travels 50 weeks a year.”  Guilty here, I try to keep under control, but it’s hard. During a recent trip to buy a new mattress, the sales clerk asked what kind of firmness I wanted and my response was it’s best to go with what my wife says because I’m on the road 3 or 4 nights each week. Keeping it under control is especially hard with baby road warriors, I feel obligated to help steer them in the right direction.

You smugly begin a conversation with “I don’t travel; I wander.”. Never.

You think that staying at a 5-star hotel is a crime against humanity. For work, it’s what the budget supports, for leisure that’s when I spend the points for the upgrades.

You roll your eyes when you see one of those hop-on, hop-off city tour buses. Hop-on hop-off buses are a gift to the traveler, No parking hassles, no paying for parking, get dropped off in front of your stop and someone else drives.

 You seriously doubt that cruisers are real travelers. Not a fan of cruises, and the main reason I give you the quarantined Coronavirus Diamond Princess cruise ship, with more than 2,500 travelers. Meals are delivered to their cabins. They have permission to walk on deck, six feet apart, for a few minutes a day.  

My secret for getting upgrades with hotels & rental cars (It’s much tougher with the airlines) is very simple, just ask. The key is in the execution of asking, here are two tips

  1. Put your cell phone away, no texting, no sexting, no checking in on Swarm and no tweeting…. #NoUpgrade
  2. Stand up straight and ask clearly, “Is there a chance you have any upgrades available?”

 

In this crazy and cold world, people still enjoy helping others. They like the ability to make someone’s day, or night, no matter how insignificant it might appear. Besides if you get shot down, you’re no worse for wear.

 

Feel free to leave a comment here, a voice message at Anchor or email me at travelfrick@gmail.com

Thanks for listening, safe travels and have a great day.

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