Working at a hip New York restaurant has its hazards. “Some people are so impatient,” laments a waiter. “One lady poked me in the hand with a fork while I was taking another order because she thought her food was taking too long.”
That restaurant waiter is part of a battalion of professionals tasked with making travelers’ experiences go smoothly, whether it’s a romantic getaway, business trip, or family vacation. Consider the honeymoon planner who books your stay in Bora-Bora; the porter who helps you haul your luggage out of the airport taxi; or the national park guide who fields your questions.
While you might not think twice about the valet you’ve entrusted your $75,000 car to, or the front desk manager you chatted with when you checked in, these people have seen it all—and probably thought twice about you.
We’ve interviewed travel industry professionals to get them to fess up and share their tips, pet peeves, and craziest experiences. They’re the eyes and ears of international travel, and their stories will make your jaw drop—or at least inspire more courtesy and more generous tips.