Always have a travel backup plan ready in case your itinerary melts away

If you don’t have a travel backup plan for your next vacation, you need to read this. Seriously. Itineraries go sideways all the time.

I ought to know. Read more “Always have a travel backup plan ready in case your itinerary melts away”

How to get better in Boulder, Colorado (and find time for a few turns)

Before my feet touched the ground, I knew something was wrong. I felt that familiar sore throat, the feverish chills, the body aches and fatigue.

I had the flu.

I rolled back into my bed at the Crowne Plaza in Denver and silently wondered, “How bad is this going to be?”

The answer came soon enough. Two of my kids — the indefatigable 11-year-old and the high-energy 13-year-old — were uninfected. Read more “How to get better in Boulder, Colorado (and find time for a few turns)”

Dante would love these Colorado ski resorts and so will your kids

Purgatory sounds like a scary anecdote from Mrs. Olson’s Sunday School class. As in, “If you sin, you will end up skiing the slopes of Purgatory for all eternity.”

That wouldn’t be such a bad thing, come to think of it. Read more “Dante would love these Colorado ski resorts and so will your kids”

Bouncing around Colorado Springs in the dead of winter

Mention Colorado Springs and you probably think of Pikes Peak, the highest mountain in the southern Front Range of the Rockies, or the Broadmoor Hotel, the historic resort nestled in the hills overlooking the city.

But what happens when you take both of those out of the picture, plus most of the other tourists? Read more “Bouncing around Colorado Springs in the dead of winter”

My house burned down and now my phone company won’t answer my calls

Aftermath of forest fire. / Photo by Ken Schwarz – Flickr Creative Commons
Question: My house in Fort Collins, Colo., burned to the ground during this summer’s wildfires, and I’m having some trouble with my phone company that I could use your help with.
Read more “My house burned down and now my phone company won’t answer my calls”

Adventures in Colorado’s snow country

It’s easy to get lost in Vail. It’s just as easy to find yourself in Keystone.

Here’s how to get turned upside-down at Colorado’s largest mountain resort: Take your whole family skiing, and just try to stay together.

My four-year-old daughter, for example, is a timid skier compared with her brother, a kindergartner. He left her in a billow of powdered snow.

Next, ensure you have the worst wireless connection on the mountain. That would be AT&T’s, which jumps from four bars to “No Signal” (and back) every other turn. So all of those text messages that ask, “Who’s with you?” may, or may not, be delivered until you’re back in your hotel room.

Then add a sprawling mountain to the mix. Vail Ski Resort is seven-miles wide with more than 5,000 acres of terrain, not unlike some European ski areas that are so massive, you can ski all day and not hit the same run twice.

For us, it all resulted in several entertaining hours of family time.
Read more “Adventures in Colorado’s snow country”

The Travel Troubleshooter: No refund for my Colorado condo?

Question: I need your help getting a refund for the advance resort rental paid to Winter Park Lodging Company in Winter Park, Colo. I made a reservation to stay in a two-bedroom condo during the New Year’s holiday.

I had to cancel my reservation almost a month before I was supposed to arrive. The company refunded the sales taxes and linen charges of $69 out of the prepaid $965. But it kept $896 for the rental.

Winter Park Lodging’s cancellation policy says, “If you must cancel, let us know as soon as possible and we will try to rebook your property for you reservation dates and will reimburse you for any nights we are able to rebook for you.” I asked the company if it rented my unit. It says no, but I question its honesty. If you look at the property availability on its site, you’ll see that all off the weekends from January to April were fully booked. What can be done? — May Tong, Houston

Answer: You have to take Winter Park Lodging Company — which describes itself as “the best place to find vacation rentals in Winter Park” — at its word. Which is something you’re unwilling to do, and for good reason. Its site appears to contradict what it’s telling you.
Read more “The Travel Troubleshooter: No refund for my Colorado condo?”