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.
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Can this trip be saved? She didn’t make it to Marrakech after all

Here’s another reason to double-check with your tour operator before you take off.

Linda Taylor waited until she was on the way to the airport to send an email to the company running her Morocco tour. Good thing she did; there was no tour.

There’d been a bombing and the whole thing had been canceled.

“We cancelled right after the bombing as we always put our clients safety first,” the tour operator said in a message.
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Case dismissed: No refund for my canceled Middle East vacation

Here’s another cautionary tale — as if we needed one — on the dangers of choosing an interesting destination for your next vacation.

How about Egypt? It’s got pyramids, museums – and a riot or two.

Catherine Green certainly got more than she bargained for when she booked a March 26 tour to the Middle East through On The Go. With all of the warnings being issued by the State Department, she was certain the tour operator would cancel the Egypt trip and offer her a full refund.

It didn’t.
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Is this enough compensation? They canceled my Egypt tour, but all I get is a credit?

When an airline cancels a flight, you’re entitled to a refund. When a hotel turns you away, you get your money back. Same thing when your cruise is canceled or your car rental company doesn’t have the vehicle for which you prepaid.

But put it all together into a tour package, and curiously, the rules change. Just ask AnnMarie LaRosa-Gee, whose March 5 Egypt tour and Nile cruise was called off, for obvious reasons. Egypt is descending into anarchy, and is unsafe for any kind of tourism.

LaRosa-Gee booked the tour directly, paying YMT $6,032. When the tour operator canceled, it offered her two choices: Either rebook the same tour later in the year or transfer all of her credit to a new 2011 tour.

“I could understand this if we had decided to cancel, but since YMT did, it seems like a reasonable expectation to receive a full refund,” she says.

Is this enough compensation? (If you can’t wait to answer, scroll down to take today’s poll.)
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Can this trip be saved? They paid for 8 but they traveled with 12

Have you ever returned from a trip and said to yourself, “That could have gone better”? John and Betsy Salunek did earlier this year, when they got back from a tour of Israel with Gate 1 Travel.

A lot of things went wrong, including an unavoidable weather delay which added to the cost of their tour. But what really set the Saluneks off was the way Gate 1 merged their tour group with another one, which lowered the quality of their experience.

All of which raises the question: What does a tour operator owe you during a delay, even one for which it isn’t responsible?

Can the Saluneks’ trip be saved?
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