Mailbag: Guests Who Don’t Want Elite Recognition, Car Rental Tolls, and Travel to Iraqi Kurdistan

Anonymous asks: This WSJ article mentions to register at the hotel as a non-registered guest.  Any suggestions on how to do this?

An interesting one to think about how to manage it practically. Those of us focused on loyalty programs try so hard to be recognized that we don’t think of the reverse. High-end properties that frequently see such guests must have built-in procedures to handle this, from check-in to non-public entrances. The big chains probably have discrete concierge for high-value/celebrity clients that work with properties to handle this. Contacting them saying you represent someone who needs these services should enlighten to a degree though they shouldn’t give up their info except to verified clients. I imagine plenty of paparazzi try this tactic to find where to position themselves, etc.

In countries where there is a requirement to register ID with the government for stays, such as in China, I wonder if there, too, are exceptions.

Presumably people with such needs have their own security or secretarial staff that assembles all this. Then every link in the chain, too, is a potential risk. It could be quite a nervous headache to be wealthy and famous!

C.H. asks: Did you once do an article on how to pay for tolls in a rental car?  Christopher Elliot does not usually have an answer in his articles.

The article is written in my mind, someday I will type it up. I have addressed this in FTU Rental Car sessions (see slides here) which is one you attended.

Find out the toll pass system the state uses, then either get an account ahead of time and add the rental car to it, or within a couple days of returning the car go to the toll system’s website and pay direct. Works with all US systems that I am aware, except I did not succeed paying online for Puerto Rico. Billing to rental agencies seems to take at least a few days though no guarantee some won’t slip through, especially for long rentals, so the advance method is better. Something like Florida SunPass has a specific option to add a rental down to the minute so you don’t get hit with tolls from others. The federal government is requiring toll programs to become inter-operable though am unaware of status.

@carolinelupini asks your thoughts on Kurdistan?

You’ll get a friendly welcome, no visa hassle, Erbil is booming, scenery in the mountains with the waterfalls is great.

iraqi-kurdistan

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  • Shannon

    ” this article is written in my mind”…love you and your dry humor

  • DaveS

    Looking to Elliott for insights on travel is like looking to Hillary Clinton for help with managing your emails or to Donald Trump for help with your immigration status. Thankfully, people like Stefan are here to actually provide ideas for having a great trip in the first place rather than complaining about it after things go wrong. I personally think toll systems without a live person, credit card reader, or cash bin are unfair to visitors to an area, but appreciate Stefan’s tips.