Stranded in Brussels with no way back to Chicago

There’s a saying in journalism: If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out. Read more “Stranded in Brussels with no way back to Chicago”

A “lesson learned” after husband’s bike accident

Just before Mara Bronstone’s European riverboat cruise, her husband is in a serious biking accident. Can they postpone their trip without losing everything? Read more “A “lesson learned” after husband’s bike accident”

No good deed goes unpunished after a terrorist attack

Peter McKnight didn’t make it back from Sierra Leone last March — at least not the way he expected to. Read more “No good deed goes unpunished after a terrorist attack”

Is Brussels still safe for visitors?

Following a fresh wave of terrorist bombings in Brussels and Istanbul that seemed to target visitors, travelers like Dianne Bush want to know how to save their vacations.
Read more “Is Brussels still safe for visitors?”

The Travel Troubleshooter: Two extra kids equals a 200-euro surcharge?

Question: I need your help to resolve a situation that I encountered recently when my family and I stayed at the Brussels Marriott.

I generally book directly on the hotel’s website. So in this case, I went to Marriott.com and entered the number of guests — my wife, two young children, and me.

My reservation was for three nights. When we tried to check in, the clerk said that the room had a king bed and could not accommodate us. I mentioned that my kids are quite young and can easily share the bed, as we do this often when staying at Marriott properties in the United States.

I was told that the only option I had was to upgrade to a larger suite, pay for an additional room, or walk away. I asked for the manager, who told me the same thing.

I pointed out that there was no way I could stay in two separate rooms, as I would be separated from my family. I also pointed out that I have a child who is autistic, who cannot be separated from us, but they firmly held their ground. They said that the only thing they could do was to upgrade me to a suite for an additional cost of 300 Euros.

Eventually, the hotel agreed to lower its surcharge to 200 Euros for a three-night stay.

We had a miserable time in Brussels and had to cut short our sightseeing activities to somehow compensate for this extra expense. In short, they ruined my vacation. Can you please help us? — Hari Doraisamy, Newtown Square, Pa.

Answer: The hotel shouldn’t have forced you to upgrade. I reviewed your correspondence, and it appears that you did almost everything you could to alert Marriott that you were traveling with your family. Something may have gotten lost in the translation.
Read more “The Travel Troubleshooter: Two extra kids equals a 200-euro surcharge?”