Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Titanic Awards by Doug Lansky

Travel is expensive, complicated, and difficult -- so it's supposed to be sublime and wonderful. But of course things are very rarely what they're "supposed" to be in this world.

And so, in honor of the gap between what is and what should be, travel writer Doug Lansky put together The Titanic Awardsto dishonor the worst people, places, and things in travel -- the worst hotels, cities, airports, cruise lines, passenger behavior, tourists, and just about anything else you can think of. The Awards were given in three ways -- first, some categories were crowd-sourced through a survey taken by over 2000 people from 80 countries; others were from official statistics compiled by industry groups and associations; still others were Lansky's personal choices from years of bad travel experiences; and the last group were other personal reminiscences by other travel writers of the horrible experiences they've had.

So Titanic Awards aims to give a holistic, in-the-round view of bad travel and tourism: airplanes, ground transportation, hotels, food and drinks, destinations, and those pesky fellow tourists. And it succeeds quite well: no one will want to read this book straight through, but it's a lovely schadenfreude-filled voyage of discovery, in which only other people have horrible things happen to them. If you want to know who the worst drivers in the world are, or which major airline has the smallest seats, or which country's tourists are the most rude, or where the world's most crowded swimming pool is, The Titanic Awards is the book for you.

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