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Nominations open for world's worst in travel

  • Story Highlights
  • One travel writer has started a Web site celebrating all that's bad about travel
  • Readers invited to whine about awful trips, dodgy hotels, atrocious service
  • Early survey results show travelers unimpressed by Chinese toilets, British food
  • Author Doug Lansky: "There are enough carrots in this business"
By Hilary Whiteman
CNN
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Tired of the tripe being dished up by some of his contemporaries, one travel writer has launched his own bid to find the worst of the worst in the tourism industry.

Travel delays are a disaster for some holidaymakers. Who wants to spend hours cramped in a crowded airport?

Look familiar? At some time, most travelers have spent several uncomfortable hours trying to sleep on plastic seats.

"There are enough carrots in this business, they need to have someone working the whip as well," laughs Doug Lansky, the creator of "Titanic Awards," a new online forum inviting travel-weary tourists to share their tales of the woe on the road.

Videos and photos are requested as photographic proof of the worst-ever, well, anything you can think of.

Readers are also asked to complete a survey for what Lansky hopes will be a definitive guide as to what to avoid while on holiday. He's already secured a book deal scheduled for release in 2010.

Send your awful holiday photos and videos to iReport or tell us about it below.

Early, and therefore not statistically relevant, results show definite swings away from some of the old favorites. Lamest Seven Wonders of the Medieval World? "The Leaning Tower of Pisa has a pretty solid lead but the definite number two is Stonehenge," Lansky reveals.

Most over-rated famous cathedral? So far, Notre Dame de Paris is neck and neck with the Washington National. Country with the most aggressive beggars? According to the survey, that'll be India. Worst major airport? London's Heathrow. Photo See a photo gallery of 'worst' frontrunners »

Many of the 500 or so replies received so far come from Americans which may explain the poor performance of U.S. airlines. Worst major airline? U.S. Airways. Rudest flight attendants? United Airlines. Ugliest flight attendant uniforms? U.S. Airways. Video Watch flight landings that didn't go to plan »

Lansky says readers from 50 different countries have completed the survey in the couple of weeks since its launch. The aim is to find the truth that may be omitted from traditional travel pages by writers who are wary of offending paying hosts, and editors who prefer to showcase the best the travel industry has to offer.

"I think there are lot of people that are plugged into that travel matrix, of sorts," Lansky says. "I understand it in a sense. It's not a very well paying job. The way the newspapers are all crashing and burning it's making it even trickier to eke out a living doing it."

Business Traveller
Each month CNN's Richard Quest equips frequent travelers with news and advice.

He should know. Lansky spent nine years living out of a backpack as a travel writer before having his freedom curtailed by the arrival of three young children. During his career, he says he imposed a strict personal policy of refusing freebies from travel proprietors and PRs.

"I actually lost money to do it and was borrowing money from my parents. Even when I had a column that appeared in 40 newspapers around the U.S. and it was syndicated by the Chicago Tribune Syndicate," he says.

When once he might have highlighted both the good and the bad, the emphasis right now is firmly on the latter.

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Lansky has asked leading travel writers and frequent fliers for their own contributions. The man who's crowned himself the "World's Most Traveled Person," Charles Veley, recounts one memorable occasion when a tree frog urinated on this head.

Tell us your worst travel story. Have you ever been abandoned by a guide? Seen anything excruciatingly boring? Been astonished by bad service? Sound Off below.

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