Given that this is the opinion page, I thought I would share some opinions I've shared with my clients during the past year. This is not a technique I would recommend to everyone, but as a reader, I think you are entitled to know how I address a variety of subjects with my own clients:
"When you can't decide where to go, go to Ireland."
"Don't ever be rude to anyone behind an airline counter, or your behavior will become part of your profile available for all to see in reservations until you're too old to fly."
"Hotels don't have the right to fill your minifridge with overly priced tiny cans and bottles and stale pretzels. Have the hotel empty it before you arrive so you can stock your own ice cream, strawberries and whatever beverages you have with you. Paying $500-plus a night? You deserve an empty fridge."
"You may want to bring your Hermes, your Ray-Bans and your Jimmy Choos. But the really savvy travelers never go anywhere without a pack of bacterial wipes."
"The biggest mistake most travelers make is booking a three- or four-star hotel where a really great five-star exists. Think about on-site evening security. Think about the neighborhood. Think about how often sheets and bedspreads are changed. And think about your fellow guests."
"The new 'in' season is fringe season, but the savviest travelers aim for the 'just barely' offseason."
"If you actually know what you have paid for a hotel room, you have probably paid too much. When you see a room rate, it means you have not been qualified for the lower, in-country, confidential, wholesale room price."
"For an important, real, water experience consider a week on a Ganges River boat cruise, followed by a wonderful week of luxury almost anywhere."
"The United States is less safe, statistically, than 83 other countries. Go to one of the 83 and relax."
"Never fly in the back of the plane if you are over the age of 65, arthritic, a germophobe, have back issues or are someone who would feel uncomfortable mingling at a tractor pull."
"Unless you are flying first class on Air France, forget about the entire notion of 'dining' on an aircraft. Buy the best made-to-order sandwich in the terminal along with two desserts and a small vase of flowers. After boarding, ask your flight attendant for an empty tray set-up. Create a nice picnic and dine when you want to dine."
"Always avoid staying in a hotel room that is higher than the highest point the local fire department ladders can reach."
"Only impossible romantics, guidebook readers or those who actually believe the reviews on TripAdvisor would ever go to Venice in-season."
"Don't complain about the service on airlines unless you are dressed so you look like you would blend in with those in the front of the plane."
"Everyone goes to St. Petersburg, Russia, on a ship in the summer, but the city is best seen in the snow when 18,000 to 25,000 cruise passengers are not standing in front of you to see the same painting at the Hermitage or waiting to use the restroom."
"The quickest way to spot a fool is to find the person at the table who says, 'I'm done with Italy.' You will never be done with Italy."
"You can always spot folks in business class who are not clients of ours. They're the ones actually drinking the onboard coffee."