How to solve any travel problem now

If you’re reading this, then something has probably gone wrong with your trip. Maybe your airline canceled your flight or your hotel lost your reservation. It’s happening a lot during the pandemic. And you need to know how to solve your travel problem.

I’m here to help. I write the nationally syndicated Travel Troubleshooter column, and over more than two decades of consumer advocacy, I’ve helped resolve tens of thousands of trips that went wrong. (By the way, I also pen a column called Problem Solved, which helps all other consumer complaints.)
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The pandemic made me cancel my trip to Mexico. Can you make Expedia give me a refund?

Bernadette Cieslak has to cancel her trip to Mexico after the pandemic. Can I make Expedia give her a refund?

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This is what travelers should expect in 2021

What should travelers expect in 2021? More uncertainty.

And I can say that with a lot of certainty.

No one knows when the vaccines will be fully distributed or the coronavirus pandemic will end. No one knows when authorities will lift travel bans. And while you can plan all the trips you want now, no one knows if or when you’ll actually be able to take them.

It’s all up in the air.
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Is it safe to take a shorter trip during the pandemic?

At the moment, the safest trip is no trip at all. But if you have to go somewhere, is it safe to take a shorter trip during the pandemic?

Karin Kemp had to answer that question recently. Her daughter had given her a few days at a condo on Amelia Island, Fla., as a birthday gift.

“I gave a lot of thought about whether to go or not,” says Kemp, a retired graphic designer from Matthews, N.C. She decided that the 5½ -hour drive, which she could make without stopping, was worth risking. “We brought all the masks and sanitizer with us that we could think of, and then some,” she says.
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When to check out of your hotel — and never return

When Irena Shie knows when to check out of her hotel. It’s a hygiene thing, she says.

“If the room is dirty, I call the front desk and request a cancellation,” says Shie, a software developer from Glen Mills, Pa.

When Nancy Usich leaves ahead of schedule, it’s because she is uncomfortable. She says she and her husband recently checked out of a bed-and-breakfast in Gettysburg, Pa., because their room had a soft and lumpy mattress.
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