Problems abroad? Here’s how to get around a language barrier

Sebastian Burel/Shutterstock
Sebastian Burel/Shutterstock
When Air Dolomiti canceled Stefano Alberti’s recent flight from Florence to Munich because one of its planes broke down, he potentially faced what to many American travelers would be a tall obstacle: a language barrier.

The regional carrier, a subsidiary of the German airline Lufthansa, offered to cover his family’s lodging and meal expenses and re-booked him on a flight back to the States the next day. But under European law, Alberti, who works for an analytics firm in San Francisco, was entitled to 2,400 euros (about $3,245) in compensation, and negotiating with Air Dolomiti might have been tedious, unless he spoke fluent Italian.

Fortunately, Alberti speaks fluent Italian.
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Do I deserve a refund for a hotel shower that didn’t work?

Showers not included? / Photo by Muig - Flickr
The Hotel Universo in Florence, Italy, describes itself as a “hyper-modern” property where you can be surrounded by “bright colors and pop art-inspired prints.”

Presumably, that also includes working showers.
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Road trip update: What did you like the most about Florence?

“What did you like best about Italy so far,” I asked as we boarded the bus back to the hotel.

“Florence,” said my nine-year-old son, Aren, without hesitating.

“Why?” I wondered. “What about the Tuscan countryside? Orvieto? Rome? What made you pick Florence?”

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