Special Travel Insider Newsletter 8 December 2020

Good morning

I’m hoping to end our 2020 Annual Fundraising Drive this week, and return to “normal programming without the interruptions”.  Can I please ask you to help me achieve this worthy goal.

At present, there are 298 participating Travel Insider Supporters – we had 11 more people kindly join after Friday’s mention.  The target is 400, so we’re three-quarters of the way there.  Thank you to all 298 people who have brought us this far.

And now, can you help bring us to the 400 person goal – a modest number for these modest times, even though we’ve sometimes exceeded that by a factor of two in better years.  Just like PBS, each year in the annual fundraising drive I rely on your kindness, generosity, and sense of fairness, and hope you’ll choose to “do the decent thing”, to allow The Travel Insider to continue.

There is a cruel conundrum.  When one pays for something, one usually thinks nothing of adding a tip to the payment, sometimes even a generous 20% or greater tip.  And, paradoxically, the more the charge, the greater the tip – in dollar terms, and sometimes even in percentage terms too.  How much do you tip if you have a glorious dinner for two, with premium wines, and a $200+ charge at the end of your pleasant evening?

But – and here’s the conundrum.  I give you everything for free.  Doesn’t that deserve some consideration, too?  Shouldn’t a free gift be at least as deserving of a response as a paid for service?

There are services provided for free that many people tip for, even if the services are entirely unneeded.  The guy who takes your light and wheeled bag and delivers it to your hotel room – even if half an hour after you checked in.  The guy who holds a door open for you, or the guy who opens a cab door and tells the driver where to take you.  The person who delivers the room service meal to your room, even though there is already a room service fee on the invoice.  And so on.  You automatically hand out dollar bills to such people.  If a person who opens a door is worth a dollar every time they do it, what is the person who gives you a lengthy weekly newsletter and supplementary features and analysis worth each time they send you that?

To put things in another travel perspective, how much do you pay in tips on an average trip, and to how many different people?  Tips to cabbies, airport bell hops, tips in restaurants and bars, tips at hotels, and tips every which other way too.

You’d never dream of “stiffing” any of those people, even if they give you mediocre or outright bad service.  “They need the tips to survive”, you say.  That is often true, and it is equally true of me.  I need your generosity and support to survive, too.  I don’t even have a minimum wage safety blanket beneath me.  I need your kind support not just to top up my earnings, but to be my earnings entirely.

So, can I ask you to please consider some level of “tip” for my services.  Pay websites seem to charge anywhere from a couple of dollars a month to a couple of dollars a week, ie from maybe $20/year to $100+/year.  You’re free to put whatever value you wish on your steady flow of Travel Insider newsletters and feature articles – a flow that dates all the way back to October 2001 with only brief pauses from time to time of a week or two.

Becoming a Travel Insider Supporter is easy and quick, and you can set any level of contribution you are comfortable with, either as a one time item, or on an ongoing quarterly or annual basis.  Please, while you’re reading this now, respond now, so we quickly get to the 400 supporter target and go quiet again until next year’s fundraising.

Naturally, I didn’t want this special newsletter to be wall-to-wall me asking you for help.  So I’m attaching a Tuesday morning bonus – a review of a lovely new travel book.  Several people commented on the book when I featured it in Friday’s 2020 Christmas Gift Giving Guide, and asked if I was going to fully review it.  So here it is.

Talking of the Gift Giving Guide, I added two more items to it – a noise cancelling headphone entry mentioning the new headphones that I’ve now received a set of, and an interesting double-sized insulated and pressurized beer growler (yes, I am hoping for one of those myself – ideally full of beer, but my daughter tells me she’s too young to buy such a thing).

Sunday also saw the latest Covid diary entry, available at the link online if you don’t get it sent to you in the daily or immediate versions of the newsletter.

And could I ask you – if you haven’t done so already, to please share your thoughts in our reader survey on Post-Covid travel.  I’ll release the results in Friday’s newsletter.

That’s it for now.  A simple message – please will you choose to become a Supporter.

See you again on Friday, and thank you





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