Dear Crabby, Is A Free Trip Really Free?

Dear Crabby,

I keep seeing advertisements that say you can go on a free trip to Florida or Las Vegas.  Do you think those are scams, or are they worth it?

Sincerely, Rita Readintoit

Dear Ms. Readintoit,

If there is anything I have learned in my few years on this planet, it is that there is no such thing as a free lunch or a free trip!  When I was young and less wise than I am today, I was convinced to go on one of these trips.  My friend Sal called me one day and told me that his wife had won a free trip to Hawaii.  He said that we could come along for only the cost of our tickets. I was so excited that I told Mrs. Crabby we were definitely going, so she should arrange for the kids to be cared for while we “suffered” in the sun.  We arrived on the Big Island on a Saturday night, and Sal assured me that all the meals were paid for and that all the activities were free. The meal that first night was at an “All You Can Eat Buffet.”  I soon learned why it was called that – I could barely eat any of it!  How can everything taste the same?  Chicken, potatoes, salad, and veggies all tasted exactly alike – like cardboard! Well, the next day we were told to meet in the conference room of the hotel in order to get the tickets for our bus tour of the island. Little did we know that we had to sit through two hours of some timeshare spiel before they would give us the tickets. We waited and waited for our bus, but when it finally came, it looked like something straight out of a Laurel and Hardy film. I said, “No way!” and took Mrs. Crabby out to the beach instead. About two hours later, we glanced up from our beach chairs and saw Sal and his wife, along with 50 other tourists, pushing that old bucket of bolts back into the hotel parking lot.  I guess it had finally conked out! The next day, we were supposed to tour the pineapple orchards. Well, when we woke up, it was raining cats and dogs. The guide assured us it would blow over; he said it never rains for long in Hawaii. I wish he had been right. Instead, as we stood in line at this orchard, it rained harder than I had ever experienced for about three hours straight. The guy behind was yelling at his wife, “We saved for 25 years to come over here and sit in the rain???” I felt bad for the guy, but he seemed to have a point. Anyway, the poor guide tried to move on saying, “Look over there at that orchid” and “Peek over my shoulder” and “See that rock – it’s Hawaiian!”  The last day was the best. We were to go on an evening boat ride around the harbor. I decided to drive our rental car while the rest of the group took the bus again. We arrived early and found some great seats on the deck. The rest of the crew showed up right as the rain started again. That same guy started hollering at both the captain and the guide and said he had it and was going back to the hotel!  So, they all headed back together. I asked the captain what he was going to do.  His reply made my day!  He said he was already paid by the hotel, so let’s go for a cruise.  The rain eventually let up and we had a beautiful evening with just us, the crew, and the band.  So the moral of the story is – nothing is free, but you can freely make the best of things!  Good luck.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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