Category Archives: Whiskey…Tango…Foxtrot…

Whiskey…Tango…..Foxtrot…….Credit Card Potential Surcharge Effective January 27, 2013

TravelingWarrior.com is here to bring you it’s latest installment of our Whiskey….Tango….Foxtrot category….

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Be on the look out for a new credit card surcharge that will hit starting January 27th, 2013.

Due to the result of litigation, merchants are now able to pass on to customers the fee they have to pay the credit card companies on each use of the card.

The maximum allowable fee is 4%.  It will show up on your receipt as a “Checkout Fee”

Each store must post on the door or register that they are charging the fee. The fee can also be used on websites but, again, it must be posted.

From the looks of it, not all states will be affected by this potential fee. Those living or traveling in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma or Texas should not be affected.  Those living in those states will be affected if they are traveling outside of any of the states listed.

Also from the looks of it, American Express card users are not affected by this.

It’s doubtful every store is going to impose the fee and some will use it as an incentive that they don’t impose it to get people to come to their establishment.

Here are two links for more information on this new development.

http://www.wisebread.com/be-on-the-lookout-for-credit-card-checkout-fees

http://blog.firstffcu.com/bid/93828/Credit-Card-Surcharge-to-Take-Effect-January-27-2013

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Whiskey…Tango…Foxtrot…..How to handle the Obnoxious Passenger on your plane, train, or bus

TravelingWarrior.com is here to offer the next segment in our category….Whiskey…Tango…Foxtrot……..The Obnoxious Passenger.   Everyone has had to put up with

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an obnoxious traveler during their time on a plane, train or bus. Now there are alot of ways to handle the situation.

1) Sit there and take it –  Here at TravelingWarrior.com, we recommend not doing this option as there is no reason that another person’s bad social behavior should damper your travels.

2) Get angry and start to Hulk Smash things – TravelingWarrior.com highly recommends NOT taking this option.  Sure, obnoxious people can make even the calmest person angry but anger usually only makes the situation worse and depending on how angry you end up getting, you could actually get yourself in trouble in the process.

3) Have fun with the situation and use sarcasm as your tool and embarrass the hell out of the person.

Here is a real world example of exactly what I am referring to.

Over Veterans Day weekend, myself and a co worker at TravelingWarrior.com made a trip up to NYC  to tour the city after Super Storm Sandy.  Well on the way back we got to MegaBus early so we could get in the front row of the upper level. We made it and both sat on the right side of the upper level right in the front, she in the inside seat, and myself on the aisle seat.

On the left side there was a woman sitting against the window that was probably early 30s.  The seat beside her was open.  As the bus filled up an older gentleman that just looked like trouble appeared and asked her if anyone was sitting there.  She saw he was trouble too, but there wasn’t anyone sitting there and the bus was nearly full so there wasn’t a whole lot she could say.  Well he sat down and shortly after the bus pulled away, he took off his shoes and extended his legs out propping his sock feet literally right in front of me on the windshield.  And let me tell you…there was no pleasantry to the smell that was coming off his socks.

I looked at my coworker, then looked at his socks, then back to her, then back to the socks and then something needed said.

I was like…”Sir, what do you think you are doing with your feet?”

He was all, “What do you mean?”

I responded, “Well, since the MegaBus isn’t your living room, I’m wondering why you have your shoes off, and second why you have your sock feet right in my face?”

He says, “Well, I showered today, so I don’t see what the problem is.”

On that note, I decided to have some fun, and responded in a louder tone so more people could hear me but def. not yelling, “Well, since you are all about making yourself comfortable with no regard to anyone else around you, Why don’t you just go ahead and take off your pants so you can chill out in your underwear to be even more comfortable.”

With that, several women sitting near us started rolling laughing, and the guy was clearly embarrassed.  He took down his feet put back on his shoes and sat like a normal person.

So, just by standing up for yourself you could put an end to the uncomfortable situation that you are forced to handle. Don’t get mad and upset, if simply asking the person to stop their behavior doesn’t work, try to have some fun with the situation and perhaps try embarrassing the person to get them to hear the voice of reason.

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Whiskey..Tango..Foxtrot..The Truth about Rental Cars: National Companies vs. Local Companies

Ok, so, you are about to rent a car for your next vacation. Please read this post as it will be helpful in your decision:

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I just went on 2 different trips this year where I rented a car.  1 to Portland, Maine in July 2012 and rented a car from a national company: Hertz and 1 to Miami, FL in October 2012 where I rented from a local company: 123 Auto Rental. (Both rentals were for a period of 10 days).

In this article we will compare and contrast every aspect, and I can’t stress EVERY aspect enough, except price by city because depending where you are in the country your price on a rental car can really fluctuate whether you are booking with a national brand or a local company.

Firstly, dealing with my Maine experience, I booked the car in advance over the internet, booking it for pick up at 430 p.m. on the day of my arrival and a return of 230 p.m. on departure. So in July, I arrived at the airport in Portland, Maine and picked up my car from Hertz which was right at the airport hence I didn’t have to call some shuttle, or taxi out somewhere, etc.  I was met promptly at the desk at the airport by their employees and treated very nice. The paper work was filled out rather quickly. I have full coverage auto insurance so I’m covered on rentals, and when asked if I needed coverage, a simple “No,” was responded by a “No problem,” and the process continued. Once given the keys, myself and a Hertz employee went out to the car to inspect it. It was a 2011 Kia Rio that was in perfect condition and had very low mileage. The employee did a pass around the car looking for dents, dings and/or scratches and came back to me saying there was none.  She didn’t just hold out a paper expecting me to sign off, but instead invited me to inspect the car for myself; which I did, finding zero flaws. I signed off on the car and the employee handed me the keys and walked away.  I loaded my stuff in the car and then jumped in the drivers seat.  Looking over I immediately say a GPS system from Hertz in the car.  I jumped out immediately and caught up to the employee saying there was a GPS in the car and said I didn’t order that and wasn’t interested in paying for it.  He looked at me with an awkward looks for a minute and I soon found out why. “Sir, there is no charge for the GPS unit.”  Feeling rather stupid, I responded, “Oh, well thank you.”  Then returned to my car. Also, I want to make note that with Hertz or any other national wide rental car dealership you have 24 hour road side assistance if something goes wrong or you break down or whatever.

During the trip the fuel economy was top notch. The car was excellent on gas and I found myself only having to fill up every other day or more even though I was literally driving all over. Literally started in Portland, Maine; drove south hitting every beach city along the Maine coast, hit Portsmouth and Hampton, NH, then swung over to hit Manchester and Concord, NH, from there went east to Bennington, VT, then north to Burlington, VT; from there I went back over into Maine and hit up Bangor, Bar Harbor, Augusta, Brunswick and back to Portland. So, I did the 10 day stint in Maine but also I left Maine and went into both Vermont and New Hampshire and not a word was said about it from Hertz.  After the 10 days, I returned to Maine, dropped the car off at the airport, they treated me wonderfully in every sense of the manner and I was quickly back on my way to my plane to go home.

Now, let’s revert to my experience in Miami, FL with a local car company called 123 Auto Rental which just has 2 locations in Miami and that’s it.

When I booked the car online, I booked it till 2 p.m. on the day I returned. Upon arriving at the airport I had to go to the airport phone and call for a shuttle to come and pick me up as most local places are not at the airport, and this one was not either. It wasn’t like an out of control long wait but it took them nearly 30 minutes for them to even arrive to pick me up. After arriving back at the rental car place, roughly 10 minutes away, I informed the man behind the counter I had my own insurance for the car and would not need theirs; and right off the bat the guy charged me 300 dollars over the price I was quoted and I immediately snapped back like…..WTF. He said that it was for the rental insurance to which I was like, sir, I have my own, like I just told you, thanks…  He said that he would not let me take the car without buying their insurance. I immediately snapped back “Forget that” and went to walk out.  He was like “No, wait, if you have your own insurance that will work.” Then we continued,  it was 1140 a.m. at the time, and even though on the paper I had it booked till 2 p.m. the day of return, they tried to change the return time and make it 1140 a.m. on the day of return. I griped about this aspect and I was assured that the this issue was taken car of…..we will revisit this issue later in the review.

Firstly, the initial car they gave me was a Hyundai Accent with over 60,000 miles on it; which clearly meant it was several years old. Then, when the guy went out to “inspect” it, if you want to even call it that, walked around the car in all of 3 seconds and noted one small scratch on the paperwork. He immediately shoved the paper in my face expecting me not to question it and inspect the car for myself to which I was like, “Hold on, let’s take a look.” I walked around the car after him and pointed out 11 different scratches/dents/dings in the car.  Also, there was no hatchback cover which would revealed all my bags to any person walking by the car.

Then, when you started the car, it sounded like a dying cow and the engine barely turned over. I left with the car, and upon stopping at the first stop light, the car began to shake like I was operating a jackhammer. I probably only drove 15 miles or less before I turned around and took the car back.

IN THAT 15 MILES THE CAR LITERALLY USED 1/4 TANK OF GAS.  Therefore any savings I got on the rental which was literally MAYBE 30 dollars less than Hertz or Enterprise was started to be eaten away right there in the poor fuel economy.

I went back and returned the first car and demanded another one.  After some debate the request was granted and another car was given. They said they would make sure to really inspect this car so there would be no more issues because they were all about “Customer Service.” The one guy there even took the car for a little drive.

This car had even more scratches/dents/dings than the last one and after the last experience I knew to do a check for myself ensuring they were noted on the sheet.

Also, I want to make a note.  123 Auto Rental is only open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. 7 days a week.  So…if you breakdown or need roadside assistance between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. you are literally…….ON YOUR OWN.

Then, after leaving the rental place for the 2nd time, at first it seemed the car was okay, but then when pulling into my hotel I had to make a hard left turn.  Upon that happening it was clear the tire rubbed against the wheel well as there was the most horrific grinding noise. I called the rental place from the hotel and was like again….WTF?  They said to bring it back in the morning. The next morning I went back to the rental place for the 3RD TIME, and was forced to stay there for an hour as they fixed the problem as they refused to give me yet another replacement car because they said they would be able to fix the issue and claimed they had no other car to offer which was clearly BS.

Now the car was older because it was a rental from a local rental company, therefore, as I drove all around Florida, I had to put so much gas into even this 2nd car that any savings I got was completely gone.

Upon returning to Miami, I returned the car at 1240 p.m., which was 1 hour and 20 minutes early.  The rental staff then proceeded to attempt to charge me and hour late fee for returning the car later than the 1140 a.m. time that was supposed to be taken care of. After literally having to yell at the people I got them to drop the charge.

I called the manager to ask to be compensated for the horrible experience that I had to go through, and they manager replied that they don’t refund money.  I explained that I was given horrible service, and they didn’t seem to give a dam. The Vice President of the company told me to make sure to mention the experience the next time I came into the rental company to rent a car and they would give me a day free rental.  I was speechless for a minute and was like, sir, I’m not going to be back in Miami for years, you are going to need to give me something in writing.  He was like oh, I”ll remember.  To which it’s like……”Um….you have to be freaking kidding me.” I complained more, and he said that I should email him and he would respond with the in writing comp that they would give me a day free rental.  That was a week ago and the guy has yet to respond.

WHAT DID WE LEARN….

Well, the few dollars you will save in the rental coast from a local rental car place to a national rental car place is nothing compared to what you will end up spending.  In fact, you will guaranteed spend more money in renting from a local company.

TravelingWarrior.com therefore recommends NEVER renting from a local rental car company in any city and instead to use a national rental car company to ensure you get a better quality car, higher customer service and no BS during your vacation which could damper or ruin your time.

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