Avoiding and Resolving Travel Issues

Tips on Avoiding and Resolving Travel Problems

Author: The Traveling Professor/Sunday, December 22, 2019/Categories: Travel Tips

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The Traveling Professor RARELY has issues with bookings.  That's because we follow certain procedures that prevent 99.99% of all issues occurring.  Here are some tips you can use for planning a vacation on your own.

How to Avoid Issues

Deal Directly with the Hotel, Airline, Car Rental or Transportation Company:  When bookings are done through 3rd party venues like Expedia, Orbits, Booking.Com or even a travel agent and there is a problem, many of those hotels, airlines, etc. will tell you to go back to the company you booked with adding another layer of bureaucracy onto an issue.  Whenever possible, book directly with the provider of services. 

Be in a Loyalty Program:  Having elite status with an airline, hotel or car rental company helps when there is an issue with a room or airline.  However, when I get "special" treatment from an airline, I am always surprised. We find hotels especially treat their loyalty members much better than other customers. 

Always Make a Prepayment When Booking:  Sometimes hotels or other vendors will say "don't worry about it - pay us when you get here".  That's bad advice. Always make sure we pay a substantial deposit or pre-payment before arrival to guarantee a reservation.  If they don't have at least some of your money, there is concern that they will give away my reservation to someone who shows up with payment. 

Book in Advance:  The economy is good and people are traveling.  We are finding people booking 12-18 months in advance for trips now.  Get the best reservations by booking as far in advance as possible.  

Keep the Paperwork and Bring it With You:  When The Traveling Professor books trips, we like to do everything by email.  That way we have written documentation of our plans.  Even if we have a telephone conversations with a hotel or other vendor, we still follow up with an email discussing our plans. This avoids disagreements on who said what. 

Follow Up:  This is important.  We often book arrangements 12-18 months in advance.  We set intervals, usually every 3 months to confirm our bookings by email.  We always ask for a confirmation.  That will avoid almost all issues from happening.

What to Do When You Have an Issue

Bring the Paperwork:  Show the emails or other documents with the dates, rates, and conditions agreed to.  There are few things more persuasive than that.

Act Fast:  Flight cancelled due to weather?  Room overbooked? Lost luggage?  It is probably happening to others.  Act fast and on your own book alternative arrangements or get them working on your issue first.  Don't wait for the airline or hotel to do it.

Keep Calm:  Getting angry rarely works.  In fact, it will hurt your case.  When stuff happens, I usually offer to try to work with the person or vendor who is eventually going to resolve the issue.  Usually, that will result in the best outcome.  Be aware that different countries have different standards of customer service.  In some countries, they do not follow the rule that "the customer is always right".

Get in Touch with a Person Who Can Handle the Problem:  As one of the last resorts, it can be helpful to Tweet an issue you are having, especially with an airline or hotel chain.  That can put you in touch with the right person to solve a problem. 

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