I recently started two files, one called "Travel Guilt," the other "Travel Anger."

The first includes all the press releases sent by hoteliers, tour operators, airlines, car rental companies, destinations and cruise lines that call attention to the environment-friendly activities in which they're engaged. "Enjoy your Green Stay" is one subject line. "Stay on Track to Help the Environment While Vacationing in Europe" is another.

The second file contains clips like the recent New York Times article "Ugly Airline Math: Planes Late, Fliers Even Later" and the L.A. Times' "Scottish airline Flyglobespan strands hundreds in New York for days."

I could add a few personal entries to that second file. I cannot seem to take a trip this year whose denouement does not involve long lines, delays, cancellations, overbookings, overcharges and exhaustion. Whatever relaxation, enjoyment and excitement a trip may have generated has long been spent before I put my key in the front door upon return.

Our travel superego and travel id, it seems, are working overtime, our enjoyment tempered by guilt and our contentment diluted by anger.

Now, I'm of the school that believes a little guilt is not a bad thing. It helps us behave responsibly, even when no one's watching. I'm inclined to believe that when it comes to environmental concerns, if a dose of guilt motivates us to preserve our host planet, so be it. Even from a narrower industry point of view, an environment-sensitive approach is a smart long-term strategy, and we can profit short term by creating green vacations.

And anger, too, has its place in our world. If a business model generates enough anger, it presumably must change or fail, opening an opportunity for more customer-friendly models.

But the effects of guilt and anger can be cumulative, and I fear that in 2007 they are building to suppress the urge to travel.

The proud environmentalist messages in the Travel Guilt file all aim to ease a negative rather than stress a positive. It's not so much that travelers are being pitched to enjoy themselves, but rather that they can vacation without guilt.

In our justice system, one should remember, defendants are not found "innocent;" they are found "not guilty," which is not exactly the same thing. It may be that the best some travelers can hope for in the coming years is to vacation in a not-guilty frame of mind.

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Though one would think the odds are 50/50 that anger could rear up at the beginning of a trip or at the end, problems for me this summer have all been occurring when I'm homeward bound. That's gotten me thinking a lot about the last 24 hours of the travel experience, and I have two suggestions that might eliminate a few stress points along the way.

Airlines: A lot has been written lately about how flight delays are not being fully accounted for in statistics, but there's one aspect of delay that I have yet to read about, and it has nothing to do with weather, air traffic control, mechanical problems or other items beyond your control. Please look for ways to get our luggage to us in a timely manner.

In an extreme example, I recently waited more than an hour for my bags because they had been loaded behind some cargo that had to be removed first. The official record showed the plane was 30 minutes late, but that was certainly not an accurate accounting of the delay I encountered.

Hotels: Gouge me on the minibar, be ruthless with phone charges, but please drop the "resort fee" and don't ding me for USA Today because I didn't opt out when I registered. Arguments at checkout over charges for something guests never asked for just aren't good for you or the guest. Don't just waive the charges upon request. Change the policy.

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One final thought about anger and guilt: Why is it that the people who make us angriest never seem to feel guilty?


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