Friday, November 9, 2007

Too Silly To Travel

I went out for a drink last night with Balcony Boy, also know as "What have you been up to?". Simply because I wanted to know what he's been up to.

He's surprisingly just done something interesting and been to China. I was impressed. Until he started complaining about his travel agent, which pressed all the wrong buttons in me, because I used to be a travel agent. One of the major reasons I left the job was because I became irritable, bitter and intolerant.

No matter how much you do, it's never enough for some people. There is no human way to satisfy 100% of the people 100% of the time. It's the ones where you miss the smallest morsel of information that make a travel agent's life hell.

Take Balcony Boy for example. His complaint was that the visa application process went badly. He listed his profession as "film-maker", then was surprised that alarm bells rang in the Chinese Consulate. He felt that it was his travel agent's responsibility to warn him about things like that. He thought it was reasonable that when anyone goes into an agency to book a ticket to China, a prompt should pop up on the computer screen that says, "Please advise passenger not to list their profession as film-maker on the visa application form".

In my opinion, if you can't handle the simple task of filling in a visa form on your own, should you be leaving the country? If you lack the ability to do very basic research into the country you are about to visit, should you be going there?

The issue is the grey area between what should be the travel agent's responsibility, and at what point should a traveller be able to look after themselves?

To be fair to naive travellers, you can expect your travel agent will be able to help you with most things. However, because they are not psychic, it is your responsibility to ask for help. Otherwise it may be assumed that you know more than you do. For example, I once assumed that a person who wanted to go overseas would know that they needed a passport to travel and I didn't need to mention it. I was wrong.

Oh yes, I made the right decision when I walked away from this profession. I had started to fantasise that I had a big red stamp that said Too Silly To Travel, and the authority to apply it at my will.


Josie said...

Your blog is a hoot...! I'll be back.

I think there are a lot of overseas tourists who should have too silly to travel stamped on their foreheads. I see them all the time. :-)


The world would be a much better place if everyone just stayed home and stopped foisting themselves indescriminately on people in other countries when they don't have a clue (Take notes new world presidents)

Ann said...

"Too Silly to Travel" is a great idea. How about "Too Self-Centered to Drive"? Or "Too Dumb to Breed"?