Tourist 101

Hello again from the land of whales, Wallys and wetness!

**I’d
like to start by thanking everyone for all your great emails. I love to
read what everyone has to say about my crazy ranting (I call it love,
the Prez would call it obsessed). I have had a request from a reader
though, she would like more people to post their comments on this site
so that she (and everyone else) can read what you think too. So,
please, don’t be shy and click on "comments" at the bottom of this post
– you’ll have to sign up once but it’s very easy (but you can still
just email me if you’re more comfortable with that). Now let’s get
started…

Well,
as of today, I am 5 days away from the end of the "Hundred Days of
Hell" and the close of the season for McFishing…whew! It has been one
heck of a summer and if I never have to see another old, disgusting,
drunk, fisherman then I will be a happy, happy girl. Having said that,
no experience is truly bad if you learn something from it…oh boy have
I learned. I’d like to share some insights I’ve garnered from working
behind the scenes in the tourist industry that perhaps will help you in
your travels.

#1. There’s a reason it’s so cheap
– If you’ve looked around and all the other packages to Huki Luki
Island are about $3000 but you find one for $400 then all kinds of
flags should be going up in your brain. Not that you won’t have a
fantastic time at the cheap place, but you should definitely go with
very low expectations. You would not believe the number of guests that
have bitched and whined to me about all the things we should have had
at McFishing. The thought bubble over my head always said, "You get
what you pay for sucker!" For example: during peak season you could get
a package deal including return airfare to Vancouver, two nights
accomodation and two days fishing for about $400 per person. Now if you
were to do that same package with an independent guide it would cost:
$300 for airfare, $1000 per day for fishing, and about $150 per night
for a hotel. $400 at McFishing vs about $2600 a la carte. Of course
with the latter option you will have a much higher quality experience,
catch way more fish, etc…and that’s my point!

#2 – Pack Wisely – Here’s a little secret…airport crew and baggage handlers really do
throw your luggage around…a lot! Their big pet peeves include people
who tie their shoes on the outside of their bag – seriously. Take it
from someone who’s been "kicked" by large boots a number of times while
loading luggage, it’s a real pain in the behind and it definitely feels
good to hurl that person’s luggage into the container! My advice – make
sure
everything is safely tucked inside your suitcase and any breakables are
double, triple and quadruple wrapped. Also, luggage does get lost even
on a 45 minute flight from Vancouver to Ucluelet so always bring a
carry-on with your toiletries, any medication you need, a change of
clothes and any important documents.

#3 – The "nice" squeaky wheel gets the grease – I will do my best to help everyone who comes to me with a request or a problem but I will go out of my way
to help the guests who are friendly and polite. If you want to make
sure that no one helps you, or only does the bare minimum for you, make
sure to swear or yell, insult the company, insult the staff, demand to
speak to the general manager, etc. As I said, I am the type of person
who’ll help everyone – even the grouches – but you should hear what my
co-workers have to say about the guests, especially the cranky ones,
behind closed doors and I’m sure many tourism workers the world over
are the same. And believe me, they will not lift one finger if they
don’t have to so a little sweetness will go a loooooooong way!

#4 – Where the deals are – We
are officially in "off season" right now in Ukee. The weather is
textbook perfect and the fish are still biting like crazy so why is
everyone leaving? Well, the kids are back in school, everyone has to go
back to work, and everyone has this idea that it’s getting cold now.
Deals are in the air! I love, love, love September; it’s my favorite
month to travel anywhere! And here’s a little hint for you:  if
you travel during off season and you haven’t pre-booked a hotel room
then try showing up after about 8pm to find a room. Chances are (if you
speak sweetly) the staff will gladly knock some $$ off the cost of your
room. Our managment even told us at the beginning of the season that if
someone showed up after 8pm during off season to just take an
additional $20 off the room cost. If you asked for that same deal
during peak season? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, (can’t breathe, laughing too
hard).

4. For godsake people just do a little homework!!!!
– Wow, feels good to get that out of my system. You may not have heard
but there’s this really cool thing they have
now called "the Internet" and you can find out pretty much any kind of
information on it! OK, seriously, I’ve had guests show up at the
airport in shorts and flip flops and then have to stand there, in the
pouring, cold rain for 15 minutes freezing. Once on the bus they tell
me how shocked they are, they expected it to be warm and sunny. Really?
Ukee’s average annual rainfall is 9 feet and you’re surprized it’s
raining? Just one quick google of "Ucluelet weather" and they’d have
discovered pretty fast that a jacket or umbrella would be a good thing
to pack. If you’re the kind of person that thrives on surprizes
(pleasant or otherwise) and you can roll with the punches, then by all
means, throw caution to the wind and hop on that plane! But if you,
like most people, like to be relatively prepared then just spend an
hour surfing and checking on things like weather, transportation,
money, etc.
Oh yes, and if you book a package or a tour, do read any info you are
sent about your trip. I don’t know how many times I’ve been faced with
guests in a complete panic because the airport is fogged in (again) and
they are going to miss their connecting flights. Funny thing is, in the
information package they’re sent it says, in large bold text, DO NOT
MAKE ANY CONNECTING FLIGHTS FOR THE SAME DAY YOU TRAVEL TO THE RESORT
AS FLIGHTS CAN OFTEN BE DELAYED!!! Doh

5. Give them a piece of your mind!
– you know how hotels have those little, "How are we doing?" comment
cards for you to fill in? Well, people actually read them, honestly,
and often changes are made based on guest’s comments. So, let’s say you
had a bad experience at McFishing and you want someone to know how
upset you are, you can either: a) Moan and complain at the bus girl for
half an hour, then she’ll go back and tell her manager about your
complaint, and then the manager will say, "Ya… so?" or  b)
fill out a comment card which will go to head office and be read by
people that actually give a damn. Your comments do actually make a
difference and often those with legitimate complaints will recieve nice
perks from the company.

6. Tip – now there are many
schools of thought on tipping and tipping etiqiutte so if you don’t
believe in tipping I’m not going to try to change your mind. We tend to
think of tipping for just restaurants and taxis but, in my humble
opinion, a tip should be for anyone, in any service position that busts
their butt for you. I also believe that tips should not be given for
mediocre or poor service – even at a restaurant. I’ve recieved about a
dozen tips this season (which is really good for a position that
doesn’t get tipped) and I was grateful for every one. It didn’t matter
how big it was, it was just the fact that someone took the time to
recognize that I was really giving my all to make sure their trip was
great. As well, the person you tip will remember you and, again, go out
of their way to help you.

That’s just a few that I can think of, hope you enjoyed them! If you have travel tips of your own, please tell me about them.

Before I go, I’d like to make a movie recommendation. Rent "Crash" (the
most recent one). If you are disturbed, if you find it a little
heartbreaking don’t be surprised. It’s a mind blowing exploration of
the subject of racism.

OK, until next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!
The Princess

This entry was posted in Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Tourist 101

  1. pamela says:

    Hi cowgirl said to check out your space because even though you don\’t update it ofter it\’s worth the wait and she was right!

  2. County says:

    I\’ve been sending tonnes of people your way, apparently :)Great tips… I\’ve always tried to be polite, but I\’m quiet (sometimes) and some people think I\’m rude :S… well actually, that\’s according to a jerk ex so I kinda forgot about it ! I think I\’m polite, unless the person I\’m trying to deal with is an ass.

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