Discovering the secrets of Oregon’s coast with the kids

Oregon’s cool and mysterious coast isn’t a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of place. Only repeated visits allow you to discover why it’s one of America’s most underrated destinations. Read more “Discovering the secrets of Oregon’s coast with the kids”

The 6 best online travel agencies of 2013

D Arts/Shutterstock
D Arts/Shutterstock

In this year’s best online travel agency category, it was yet another close vote. Travelocity and Kayak were tied until almost the last minute. But then Travelocity pulled ahead with just seconds left in the voting — almost a photo finish.

Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline round out the list, followed by Hotwire.

I didn’t distinguish between so-called “opaque” sites like Priceline and Hotwire and the “full-service” agencies. The list is a useful guide for anyone considering making a travel purchase online.

Here are the top online travel agencies of 2013 according to the readers of this site.
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Customer service lessons learned from a summer of travel

It’s the little things that matter.

After being on the road nonstop since finishing my book Scammed: How to Save Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals, back in June, I can tell you that good customer service isn’t a big deal — it’s a lot of small ones.

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Can this trip be saved? The guest canceled — so who covers the refund?

Suzanne Cohen runs the Santa Barbara Adventure Company, a tour operator that offers kayaking trips in California’s rugged but breathtakingly beautiful Channel Islands National Park (no, that’s not hyperbole; check out our coverage from last year if you don’t believe me).

It’s a one-hour ferry ride to the island, and the fare is included in the price of the kayak tour. The ferry is nonrefundable within seven days of a trip, and so are her tours. But like everything else in life, there are exceptions to that policy.
Read more “Can this trip be saved? The guest canceled — so who covers the refund?”