Should my tour operator keep $8,471 to “cover” costs of a canceled tour?

Moizhusein/Shutterstock
Moizhusein/Shutterstock
Tia Millman and John Madsen were looking forward to a private tour of Tunisia and Kenya organized by Experience It! Tours last summer.

But the trip wasn’t meant to be. Just three weeks before their departure, the State Department warned U.S. citizens to avoid Kenya, and Millman made a frantic call to their tour operator.

Now, Millman and Experience It! are bickering over a refund — a sizeable refund — and she wants me to get involved. I’m not sure if I should.
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Keep us posted on that refund

Duzen/Shutterstock
Duzen/Shutterstock
American European Travel’s nine-day ancient Turkey tour looked like the perfect birthday gift for David Olson’s wife, Barbara. With stops in Istanbul, Ephesus and Pamukkale, it fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting the old Ottoman Empire.

The Olsons learned about the trip through a brochure in The Washington Post. The AET insert bore the newspaper’s logo, so they assumed that The Post endorsed the tour and would stand behind it if something went wrong.

And then, something went wrong.
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Is this enough compensation for a Spanish-only tour?

Matej/Shutterstock
Matej/Shutterstock
When Juventino Garcia and his wife arrived in Madrid for a recent tour of Spain and Portugal, they didn’t understand a word anyone was saying. Garcia and his wife don’t speak Spanish or Portuguese, but they’d been promised a bilingual guided tour by their tour operator, Sunbound Vacations.

“We were on a Spanish-only tour with people mostly from Latin America,” says Garcia. “We notified Sunbound by email, and they responded letting us know that they would handle the situation.”

It took seven days before the tour accommodated them.

“But the local guides who spoke English were directing their presentations primarily in Spanish, understandably for busload of Spanish-speaking people. We were given synopsized versions at times in different locations, away from what was being explained,” he says.
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What happened in Vegas? (And does it really stay here?)

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This is your brain. This is your brain on Vegas.

OK, not quite, but this is my favorite memory of Las Vegas, seen from the upper deck of a Big Bus tour. It’s the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health building designed by famed architect Frank Gehry.

It’s supposed to represent the different hemispheres of the brain, but I think it more aptly describes what’s going on in your head after a week of nonstop partying.
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