Consumer advocate, author and journalist Chris Elliott has found an effective strategy for securing refunds when your travels take a wrong turn.
Among the techniques he's developed through years of experience is called the three “P’s.” According to Elliott, it works great on refunds, including airline refunds.
For starters, advises Elliott, use credit cards to pay whenever possible, keep a paper trail if you submit a request for a refund and be ready to appeal your case if necessary.
Further, he recommends keeping these three things in mind.
Give the company at least a week to respond to your refund request, says Elliott, and two credit card billing cycles to pay you.
Don’t let months pass by without letting the company know that your money is still missing, he advises. If necessary, set a calendar reminder so that you don’t forget.
Angry demands for a refund and threats to take a company to court almost always backfire, suggests Elliott. The company may refer your case to its legal department, where it could linger for weeks or months.
Final advice: "Be nice!"
For more about this topic and how Christopher Elliott works to help travelers, visit his site here.
Get in on the not-so-spooky fun for families with Great Wolf Lodge's annual Howl-O-Ween celebration, taking place now through Oct. 31, 2019.
Guests are encouraged to don costumes and join in daily activities, from monster bash dance parties and fall-fun crafting projects, to a trick-or-treat trail filled with interactive games and adventures that snakes throughout the resort. A fall tradition, families are sure to enjoy the spooky spirit at Great Wolf Lodge.
Howl, hop and hustle around Great Wolf Lodge as the Grand Lobby transforms into a spooktacular extravaganza complete with pumpkins and festive decorations. During Howl-O-Ween, guests can partake in complimentary programs including Twisted & Tangled, where children follow the spinner and try to stay on their feet to get a treat and be declared the winner. Guests can also enjoy Boo Bingo where five in a row gets them a bingo and yelling “boo” is the winning lingo.
Howl-O-Ween favorites include the Costume Parade, where children showcase their favorite costumes during an event in the Grand Lobby, and then attend a Monster Bash Dance Party.
On the Trick-Or-Treat Trail kids can play interactive games and collect candy at stops located throughout the Lodge. The trail features a Teal Pumpkin stop, offering a Great Wolf Lodge non-food treat for guests with food allergies, or parents looking to avoid too many sweets. There are also Howl-O-Ween overlays to the children’s activities throughout the season, including Spooktacular Story Time, Critter Cartoons, and Paws On Projects feature arts and crafts with a silly, not-so scary twist.
Other highlights of Howl-O-Ween include:
In addition to two days of play in the water park for each night stayed at Great Wolf Lodge, all the Howl-O-Ween activities are included for no extra charge. Activities vary daily and by location. A complete listing of daily activities and times can be found in the Lodge Life event schedule provided to guests upon check-in, verified in advance at GreatWolf.com or by calling the location directly.
In the spring of 2016, the National Park Service Climate Change Response Program partnered with No Barriers Youth to provide the inaugural Every Kid in a Park: Climate Change Bootcamp. Held at Cape Cod National Seashore, this novel program brought 23 high school students from Lexington, MA to the seashore for three days and two nights to learn about the impacts climate change is causing and the steps the NPS is taking to respond.
On the third day, the high school students invited a local 4th grade class to be taught by their newly minted high school student teachers. Learn about this wonderful program, and see some of the new and novel ways the Park Service communicates climate change with our nation’s students.
Scroll down to see the video.
Summer is heating up and Great Wolf Lodge is announcing a smoking hot sale with a significant cost-savings of up to 58% off!
Great Wolf’s indoor waterpark is a perfect 84-degrees all year-round and to celebrate, is offering the first-ever 84 Degrees Sale.
For one day only on August 4 (8/4), guests will be able to book rooms starting at $84/night for stays from September 2 to October 31, 2019, at any of the U.S. locations.
The $84/night rate is available for stays Sunday-Thursday and blackout dates apply.
To book, use promo code 84DEGREES online at greatwolf.com, or mention the code when booking over the phone. The offer is good for new reservations only.
As the summer gets underway, look to the starry skies for inspiration.
In Death Valley National Park, a 3.4 million-acre expanse and the region’s clean, dry air combine to provide an ideal vantage point for observing shooting stars, meteor showers and constellations galore. And the Milky Way!
The conditions have earned the park the prestigious Gold-Tier Dark Sky status. The area shares a strong commitment to avoid light pollution and keep the night sky visible. Stay at the Oasis at Death Valley (choose from the Inn or the Ranch) and join the Las Vegas Astronomical Society for Star Parties on selected evenings or enjoy the gem-studded sky on your own.
Find other star-filled destinations to consider here.
The family travel season is about to be in full swing.
Parents everywhere are gearing up for road trips, summer camps, national park outings and air travel.
Dad and travel expert Jim Mazza, Chief Operating Officer for TRAVELSAVERS, a retail chain of more than 2,500 independently owned, full-service travel agencies, offered a few words of wisdom for those who plan to board a flight in the weeks and months ahead.
Book an early flight.
As a dad, Mazza knows small kids are at their best earlier in the day before exhaustion sets in for them (and their parents). More than that, and important for travelers of every age, delays often build as the day goes on, particularly in the Northeast.
Understand the fare you are booking.
For many travelers, especially cost-conscious families, price matters. It may seem like the right thing to book the least expensive fare that pops up, but these are often “branded fares” which come with tough restrictions including seat choice, leg room and baggage allowance.
You'll find more air travel tips here
Looking for late-breaking family travel ideas?
Check out these deals for a great escape to see the Grand Canyon in a way you might not have imagined. And the timing is right because the Centennial celebration for one of the world’s most famous natural wonders is underway.
The deal is simple: save 30% off round-trip train fare in conjunction with a one- or two-night package.*
The offer is valid for the rest of 2019, and includes hotel stay, breakfast and dinners, round-trip transportation on the train and entertainment. The savings increase with upgrades in class of train service.
Take note, on the first Saturday of each month through October, the train is pulled by a real steam engine so consider that unique option when planning.
For more information and reservations: www.thetrain.com/offers/centennial-getaway-package or call 1-800-834-8724.
*Centennial Getaway offer valid for 30% off the train portion only of this package when traveling between 2/7/19 – 12/31/19. National park entry fee is not discountable. Package rates are subject to change. This offer cannot be combined with other discounts/promotional offers and other restrictions, including blackout dates, may apply.
1-night Itinerary Package
2-night Itinerary Package
The Four Seasons Resort Lanai, on the unspoiled Hawaiian island of Lanai, has recently introduced Love Lanai, a series of tours, classes, and authentic culinary events.. Through Love Lanai, guests are able to experience the island’s unique living environment and cultural-historical legacy that spans nearly 1,000 years of Hawaiian residency and a diverse cultural heritage.
Family vacation experiences that are a part of the new collection include a guided sunrise hike of Puupehe; Hoolauna, where guests can learn more about the rich variety of Hawaiian crafts; and Aina Ahiahi Hawaiian Dinner, complete with Hawaiian specialties in an intimate setting, reminiscent of a family dinner in a Lanai home.
Consider family golf options while on the scenic island.
It’s easy to allow financial stress, busy schedules and a hectic lifestyle to get in the way of putting dates on the calendar. Here are seven reasons to flag a family vacation as a top priority:
No one is getting any younger.
Not you, the grandparents, or your children. Family life is hectic and it can be difficult to carve out time to even plan a vacation, let alone take one. Yet, before you know it, the kids will be otherwise engaged with school or team responsibilities, summer jobs and college internships. That means the opportunities to get away as a family will diminish even further. So, get planning!
It’s only money.
Sure, budgets are tight. We’re all trying to save more. But a hefty bank account is no substitute for a memory bank brimming with great visuals of your kids running on the beach, hiking in the mountains or climbing in the saddle for the first time. Allocate the dollars you can. Then be on the lookout for deals, promotions or creative low-cost options.
Keep it in the family.
Those busy work and school schedules often mean we seldom see family members about whom we care deeply. Add the geographic spread that is common in most clans and get togethers can be rare. Make this the summer you reconnect with grandparents, that favorite uncle or your long lost cousins. Share stories. Trade photos. Extend the limbs on your family tree.
A visit to a national, state or regional park can provide a bonanza of historical and natural insight and experience. Take to the trails, the streams or the hillside and enjoy nature’s bounty. Camping along the way provides a low cost opportunity to learn outdoor skills and tell tales around the camp fire.
Make it a photo opp.
We tend to remember those moments and events that we capture on film or on a digital memory card. Be deliberate about gathering the kids, friends and relatives together to snap a photo or a few moments of video. Be sure to capture those candid moments too. Then, share and enjoy!
Write it down.
Whether you keep a journal or notes with your photos, scribble a few sentences about your planning process and the trips you take. In time, memory seems to fade the details like dialogue, what people wore, jokes and stories told or memories shared. Save the individual strands of the experience. You’ll be glad you did.
Make a plan together.
Gather your family and get their input on your summer plans. Seek volunteers for researching possible destinations or low cost opportunities. Consider house trades, villa rentals, last minute getaways or just a weekend in a neighboring city. When the time comes, share packing and last minute detail responsibilities. In the end, it is the shared experience that creates the lasting memories and strengthens the bond.
Oceania Cruises' “Superbowl at Sea” Aboard Riviera’s Reef & Ruins
Just because cruise-goers are hopping between destinations like Belize, Mexico and Cuba on an adventure of a lifetime, does not mean they’ll have to miss tuning into the action on the biggest football game of the year when the Patriots take on the Rams.
Oceania Cruises Riviera will be hosting a live Superbowl Sunday viewing party, allowing football fanatics onboard to witness the action of the game in real time. The party will include football-themed decor and the traditional Superbowl party food, from wings to burgers and chips and dip. The 10-day Caribbean cruise, which departs from Miami January 26th, will include multiple stops in beautiful ports and array of excursions. Cabins start at $3,099 per guest.
For those who want to spend Superbowl Sunday aboard, book today at www.oceaniacruises.com.