Thursday, February 19, 2009

This Alaska Thing

I have this Alaska thing. I have no guess why, but I have always been fascinated by Alaska. Seward’s Folly was one of the highlights of my school studies. As a young adult, I read books like “Going to Extremes” about survival in the Alaskan wilderness. Visiting Alaska is on my “bucket list” or wish list or “things to do with this life.”

I’ve come pretty close to the bottom of my “things to do with this life” list, until I add more. I have the way and means, now, to achieve that goal; to visit Alaska. Most folks I know that have visited Alaska (from now on to be known as [vA] ) recommend traveling by cruise ship. I have never been on a cruise ship and have no strong desire to be on one. The thought of a hotel at sea doesn’t appeal to me. Cruises punish those of us who travel solo, by adding premiums (the reasoning being that they can’t sell twice the drinks, gifts, tips, etc.; single travelers (unless willling to ‘double up”… no I said) are penalized.).

In an instant messession with my most dear California friend, he suggested I consult a travel agent. Wow! What forward thinking!! I plugged in some info on a site, , outlining my dream trip. I received responses from several travel agents. I also stumbled on, which is a wealth of information.

The ‘cruise advocates” fell away quickly. One travel agent surfaced, and had a real good understanding of my desired trip. He began putting together an itinerary for me which was most appealing. After several e-mail exchanges we arranged a phone conference and it worked well. We worked up a nice itinerary, but when I realized the cost didn’t include airfare, I began to whittle it down. When I questioned why the airfare wasn’t booked, I didn’t get a straight answer. I asked rather “btw; once we settle on an itinerary, what’s the procedure for deposits, etc.?” He answered, “100% in full up front at time of booking.”

We were talking a cost upward of $4,000.00. “Since when,” I asked myself, “would such monies be expected in full, up front!?”

I began some investigations. I won’t mention the company for which this agent worked, because I don’t want to defame this company. He/They/It may be well established, and well situated. I didn’t find any record of them through my exhaustive e-mail and telephone searches for all regulatory agencies in the State of their Headquarters, as well as the Federal Trade Commission. Frankly, I found no record of them at all: neither good or bad. About this time, I asked for corporate references. The response I got was a, “can we talk?”.
I listened to my “gutt” and stopped correspondences.

Well, so, now…..

I have this Alaska thing.

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