I also hate the 15-30% tax rates on hotel rooms. Wasn't "no taxation without representation" one of our founding principles?
In more personal travel news, I had a moment of inspiration when arranging my domestic flights for my trip to Kiribati. See, San Diego has a new ballpark. And, as it happens, the flight schedule into SAN was more convenient than the flight schedule into LAX. For less than a hundred bucks more, I'll fly into San Diego, go to a ball game, stay there overnight, and take Amtrak up to Los Angeles. (From Union Station, the Flyaway bus from Union Station to LAX is only $6).
Finally, in the "why I prefer to arrange flights myself vs. having a travel agent do it," I got the itinerary for the international legs of the trip and it looks like I'm assigned a center seat for an 11 hour flight. Remind me again of why I do this to myself?