Israel complains about travel warning, gets change

There are two important steps to take in getting what you want in the travel world. First, you have to complain. Next, you need to do it to the right people. Israel did both, and it seems to have worked out fairly well for the country.

The problem started with a U.S. State Department travel warning for Israel five days ago. The Israeli government, according to the Associated Press, griped that it “unfairly singled out an Israeli resort,” Eilat, on the Red Sea. A new warning has since been issued, the AP continues:

The new warning says only that Americans in southern Israel “should be aware of the risks and should follow the advice of the Government of Israel’s office of Homefront Command.” It makes no mention of Eilat.

The Tourism Ministry in Israel noted that the statement from the State Department didn’t include the Jordanian resort Aqaba. As a result:

“This advisory gives a prize to terror and undermines regional stability and the sense of security that Israel gives to everyone who enters the country,” the ministry said. “Differentiating Israel from its neighbor that actually suffered loss of life is improper and lacks balance.”

[photo by kleindavid via Flickr]

Problems in a Hotel? Complain Immediately for Best Results

The first time my husband and went to Vietnam we took a trip to the Mekong Delta. It was a group tour kind of thing that included lodging and some meals. The lodging was the pits. I remember flying bugs that gave me the feeling they were using us as landing strips all night long. There wasn’t much we could do about it. The trip was what it was.

Another time, we changed the tide of our bad room luck. After booking a room using Lonely Planet’s Taiwan book as a guide, we discovered that we made a mistake. First clue was the beds didn’t have sheets. I’m not exactly sure why we trolled the halls looking for sheets, but we did and found some in a cabinet somewhere. Plus, one of the beds was round and covered with a pink fuzzy bed spread. Perhaps the management thought this was special. We thought brothel. Since my mother and, at the time, 7 year-old daughter was with us, we thought we could do better. We’d paid for two nights but got a refund on night number two. I was amazed since we didn’t (and still don’t) speak Chinese and the manager didn’t speak English. One night made for a good story. The second night in another hotel was spent in slumber bliss.

According to travel writer Christopher Elliot who has a blog First aid for travel, when you are unhappy with your room let the management know immediately. Be polite and firm. He gave an example in National Geographic Traveler about one couple who had a mouse in their expensive resort room who didn’t get any satisfaction at the time of their stay because they didn’t complain immediately to the management. Another couple didn’t complain about their messy room at another hotel until check-out.

The photo is from Sam’s Exotic Travels photostream on Flickr. He was checking out of a hotel in China and these three were looking at his bill. I wonder if he needed a refund?