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.
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. Continue reading…