“I made it halfway up to the fourth floor before smoke started to pour out of the engine”

Don’t rent a car with a manual transmission.
Read more ““I made it halfway up to the fourth floor before smoke started to pour out of the engine””

The American way of following European consumer protection laws

If I’ve seen Lee Wendkos’s case once, I’ve seen it a hundred times. Delayed on his way to Europe, he tried to invoke EU 261, the legendary and often misinterpreted European consumer protection law. And he failed.

Yes, this feature is called Case Dismissed, but there’s a lot to be learned from our consumer missteps. With the busy summer travel season just around the corner, here’s one lesson you need to take with you: Airlines hate EU 261. Get every promise in writing or you’ll end up with nothing.
Read more “The American way of following European consumer protection laws”

Don’t be a chip-and-pinhead!

If you happen to drive down the Brenner Autobahn between Austria and Italy this summer, here’s a little advice for crossing the wind-whipped Europabrücke, or Europe Bridge: keep a little cash on hand to pay the toll.
Read more “Don’t be a chip-and-pinhead!”

The three kinds of hospitality you’ll encounter on the road

I’m writing this at the end of a long road trip through France, Germany and Italy, a journey on which I’ve encountered some of the best and worst service imaginable.
Read more “The three kinds of hospitality you’ll encounter on the road”

What to do when your river cruise turns into a bus tour

Yiannis/Shutterstock
Yiannis/Shutterstock
It was supposed to be the vacation of a lifetime for Pat and James Frost — a river cruise in France on the Viking Europe, from Avignon to Chalon-sur-Saône. The retired couple from Concord, Ohio, even added three days in Paris to round off their bucket-list getaway.

But when they arrived at the port, a cruise line representative informed them of a change in plans. Flooding along the Rhône and Saône rivers had made the waterways impassable, and their cruise tour had turned into a bus tour.

“I understand that an act of God causing rain and the rising river isn’t Viking’s fault,” said a disappointed Pat Frost. “But they’ve been cruising this river for years, and I expected that they would have an idea when the river would be navigable.”

All she’d expected was a call to her or her travel agent before she left for France, offering her a chance to re-book the $12,000 cruise.
Read more “What to do when your river cruise turns into a bus tour”