3 Ways To Recoup Money Wasted On Trips Gone Bad

When you’re on vacation, high expectations crushed by mishaps can transform you into a steaming ball of rage. It’s easy to lash out at those you feel who have done you wrong, but it’s smarter to take a step back and use tact and strategy to get problems fixed.

Main Street offers tips about how to get refunds after travel mishaps:

* Take care of business while you’re still there. If you’re unhappy with something with your hotel, talk it out with a manager before you check out and you’ve signed off on your payment. Businesses are far more keen to negotiate when money is still on the table.

* Leave context out of it. When complaining, resist the urge to include unnecessary context. Be brief and to the point and leave it to the other guy to request more information if needed.

Be respectful. Rudeness won’t get you anywhere. Treat a manager as though he’s on your side, looking to help you find a way to leave you satisfied with the problem. Getting personal and confrontational can only work against you.

7 Tips for Getting Compensated After a Travel Problem [Main Street]


Edit Your Comment

  1. CubeRat says:

    vacations?? Vacations? VACATIONS!! Who is wealthy enough for a vacation?

  2. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Here’s a question – what’s the most bullet proof way to book and plan a vacation like this? I’m trying to figure out honey moon possibilities and its kind of daunting to spend that amount of money without knowing if the tours you’re picking are near your hotel, if you’ll be able to find transportation that you can communicate with (because I don’t know Czech) and yeah..

    • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

      My dad always used American Express as they tend to offer the best travel services and customer support (at least that’s what he told me)

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I think it’s good to take the opposite approach. It can be somewhat daunting but try to be as flexible as possible. Have a rough idea of the type of things you want to do and then schedule the trip when you arrive. You’ll have a better for feel for things can can ask for advice when you get there.

      Try to learn some Czech in advance (greetings, politeness stuff, numbers, etc.) but you can also get by in many areas with a combination of German and English. If you already speak another Slavic language, you’ll do OK too.

    • pop top says:

      If you’re going to Prague I want to come. :|

    • unpolloloco says:

      I’ve found that a map + address in the local language will get you wherever you need to go, no matter where you are in the world. However, the taxi driver is likely to take you on the scenic route, so plan accordingly.

      • James says:

        yes definetely – and Google Maps has transit (bus/subway) directions for many big cities.

        I look them up wearing I’m staying (with Wi-Fi) then take screen shots and use them when walking around. (as I don’t have roaming) Very helpful for cities with narrow winding streets.

    • James says:

      Don’t plan. Just get your airfare and find a nice place to stay. (guest house, B&B) that’s well rated – and go from there.

      Deal with the tours and day by day stuff when you get there, and definitely don’t pay in advance. (Unless you want to see something super popular that fills up.) That way you’re not locked into being here at a certain time, or somewhere on a Tuesday at 9.

      When I visit a new city I do broad research, (maps, subways, where things are at, things I’d like to see) but book specific things (like museums, walking tours, boat rides, whatever) when I get there. Local owners (especially at locally owned lodging) can you give you better recommendations, and you can meet up with other travels who can point you to something fun they did, or to avoid. And if gives you time to just wander around at a slow pace too.

      p.s. in Prague stay outside of the Old Town (like across the river or south) The Old Town is very touristy, thus restaurants and lodging are more expensive. Wander around local neighborhoods and you’ll find better restaurants and more interesting sights (Local markets, parks, etc)

      • James says:

        My advice is a bit contrarian to the above – but I don’t feel a travel agent is necessary. That’s why I like smaller guest houses though, is someone local in the city is eager to give you tons of current advice.

        But if you, do just don’t go overboard scheduling tours within the country you’re going to, or else you don’t wind up with any time to enjoy the city with each other and wind up sitting on bus with a bunch or other tourists.

        Also – don’t worry about not speaking Czech. Most of the young people there speak some English. The older folks not so much (at least in my experience.) Young people tend to be very outgoing and conversational. The older folks can come as bureaucratic and cold in day to day transactions.. (Not that they are, just generational thing given the country’s history.)

        Oh and go to Cesky Krumlov for a night or two. It is touristy, but beautiful old place and you can stay at one of these places by the river. (and go biking in the green countryside)

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        “When I visit a new city I do broad research”

        Me too…but ultimately it doesn’t matter. Nothing I do seems to change the fact that none of them want to go back to my hotel with me.

      • BBBB says:

        “When I visit a new city I do broad research”

        One thing to add to the pre-trip research is to check for events, conventions, and peak tourist dates in the locations you are visiting. Higher than normal hotel rates and/or difficulty in finding a room can be a hint that you might want to reconsider the itinerary (unless you like crowds or are interested in the event).

    • One-Eyed Jack says:

      Work with a travel agent who has experience in the area you want to visit. Travel agents aren’t just for the wealthy. Some are fee-free or charge a small fee for their services. The agent can help you book tours and transportation and may even have contacts in that city they use frequently. Plus, you get the peace of mind that someone “back home” is your advocate if any issues arise while you travel.

      Don’t be afraid to interview a few agents before you pick one. Conde Nast has an annual issue listing their favorite travel agents for different destinations, so that’s one place to start. You can also check out the tourist bureau of the country/region you’re visiting and see if they have a list of travel agents with specialty in that area. Or ask friends/family/colleagues if they have one to recommend.

      It will be spendy, but for a honeymoon I always recommend cancel-for-any-reason travel insurance. Policies are usually based upon the ages of the travelers and the cost of the trip. If you absolutely for positively certainly know that the trip won’t be canceled, you could opt for a regular trip insurance policy, but too many things can happen to push back weddings or honeymoons. Trip insurance can cover flight delays, lost luggage, damage to electronics, medical care and transportation (but if your activities are risky, like parasailing, make sure they’re not specifically excluded by your policy), rental car coverage, and more. Each policy is different, so be sure you’re comparing apples to apples when you price it out. A cancel for any reason rider will help refund much — but not all — of any non-refundable deposits or payments you’ve paid if the trip is completely canceled. Again, check policy specifics.

      Disclosure: I’m a travel agent. The company we use for insurance is TravelexInsurance. Your travel agent probably has a preferred company, or you can use a trip insurance comparison website. All the travel insurance phone agents I’ve worked with have been very helpful and knowledgable, so don’t be afraid to call them for a quote since it can be confusing.

      Have a great honeymoon!

    • IGetsAnOpinion says:

      Use a travel agent if you are unfamiliar with where you want to go. It’s their job to know these things and they usually can still get you a good deal.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      If you’re going to Prague, I wouldn’t worry too much about communication. A lot of Czechs speak English because Prague is becoming such a popular spot for tourism (the great exchange rate has some to do with it). And as for yours…do you really need them? Ask yourself WHY you want a tour. Is it that you’re afraid you won’t be able to navigate on your own or do you want a nutshell kind of experience? I’ll admit that I hate tours. I hate being told where to be at a certain time and not being able to just wander. And I hate being taken to tourist areas.

  3. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Treat a manager as though he’s on your side, looking to help you find a way to leave you satisfied with the problem.

    Hard for me to do, because, having worked in the Service Industry, I know for a fact managers will do anything and everything in their power to get you to piss off without actually giving or promising anything to you.

    • wetrat says:

      As someone who has been a manager in the service industry, I know for a fact that (good) managers actually can do anything and everything necessary so that you leave with a positive memory of the service provider.

      Our motivation for comping you something was not just to be nice. It was to make sure you didn’t go and complain to 10 of your friends about your crappy experience. But from the consumer’s perspective, the manager’s motivation doesn’t really matter.

      • Errr... says:

        I agree. I am a manager in the service industry and I like to help people who are nice. I will, in fact, bend over backwards to help a reasonable person. If someone is a jerk, I typically tell them I can’t help them and tell them to leave.

  4. Cat says:

    Money… Wasted… On Trips…

    Wait, you’re talking about TRAVEL? Damned flashbacks.

  5. Wonderweasel says:

    I took a vacation to San Diego and stayed in a resort where they billed me 50 bucks a day for valet parking, regardless of whether I actually used a car or not. Then, when I actually used the car, the attendants got all pissy when I didnt tip them. 50 bucks a day and they bitched about tipping.

    f*ck that noise.

    • Eyeheartpie says:

      Same as anything else, if you set a price to a traditionally tipped service, people will typically pay the fee and not tip. If you charge me $50 to store my car at your hotel regardless of if I use the valet service or not, then I sure as hell am not tipping. If they didn’t charge, I’d tip decent well.

  6. az123 says:

    Leave context out of it…. boy it would be nice if that advice was passed around a lot more… really I was at a box store trying to return something and the woman in front of me gave a 10 minute story of why she needed to return whatever it was. Completely useless information and did not at all impact the fact she was allowed to return the item. I think the only person more annoyed by the story telling was the clerk, who would have been happy to just refund the money, had she been able to get a word in

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I’m positive that was probably my Mom in front of you. She can’t say anything without a 10 minute, around the barn explanation.

  7. scoccaro says:

    When we went on our honeymoon to Key West we stayed at a small, local hotel. Everything was OK for the 3 or 4 days we were there except the last day I went to take a shower and there was a big wad of wet hair that was not mine on the floor of the shower.

    I went to talk to the manager about it and since I booked on expedia there wasn’t anything she could do, but it made me feel better to know I talked to somebody.

  8. FatLynn says:

    The article’s #5 sorta covers this, but be clear on what you want. If you got a crap room the first night you were there, will an upgrade for the last two nights fix it for you? Then say that!

  9. sirwired says:

    “Leave context out of it.”


    Let’s say you had a restaurant meal in a airport. The fact that you are in the Army and on your way home to visit your sick grandmother and take care of your kids, two of which have the flu, and one of which broke their leg last week, etc. means NOTHING. It has zilch to do with your bad meal… the jaded people that read these letters get sob stories ALL THE DAMN TIME, and half of them are probably lies anyway.

    Stick to the facts, let them know what would make you happy, and never say “I’m never doing business with you again” as you’ve just removed any reason to help you.

  10. DariusC says:

    Burn your house down? With the lemons? That way you can go on an extended vacation! Great Portal 2 reference btw :D