Is it safe to travel to Europe?

Jocelyn Holgado knew that her reservation at the Hôtel de Varenne in Paris was nonrefundable. But then the terrorist attacks on Paris happened, and the world suddenly felt more dangerous, and she figured the Varenne might make an exception.
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“I made it halfway up to the fourth floor before smoke started to pour out of the engine”

Don’t rent a car with a manual transmission.
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The American way of following European consumer protection laws

If I’ve seen Lee Wendkos’s case once, I’ve seen it a hundred times. Delayed on his way to Europe, he tried to invoke EU 261, the legendary and often misinterpreted European consumer protection law. And he failed.

Yes, this feature is called Case Dismissed, but there’s a lot to be learned from our consumer missteps. With the busy summer travel season just around the corner, here’s one lesson you need to take with you: Airlines hate EU 261. Get every promise in writing or you’ll end up with nothing.
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Don’t be a chip-and-pinhead!

If you happen to drive down the Brenner Autobahn between Austria and Italy this summer, here’s a little advice for crossing the wind-whipped Europabrücke, or Europe Bridge: keep a little cash on hand to pay the toll.
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The three kinds of hospitality you’ll encounter on the road

I’m writing this at the end of a long road trip through France, Germany and Italy, a journey on which I’ve encountered some of the best and worst service imaginable.
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What to do when your river cruise turns into a bus tour

Yiannis/Shutterstock
Yiannis/Shutterstock
It was supposed to be the vacation of a lifetime for Pat and James Frost — a river cruise in France on the Viking Europe, from Avignon to Chalon-sur-Saône. The retired couple from Concord, Ohio, even added three days in Paris to round off their bucket-list getaway.

But when they arrived at the port, a cruise line representative informed them of a change in plans. Flooding along the Rhône and Saône rivers had made the waterways impassable, and their cruise tour had turned into a bus tour.

“I understand that an act of God causing rain and the rising river isn’t Viking’s fault,” said a disappointed Pat Frost. “But they’ve been cruising this river for years, and I expected that they would have an idea when the river would be navigable.”

All she’d expected was a call to her or her travel agent before she left for France, offering her a chance to re-book the $12,000 cruise.
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Did Carnival do enough for these Destiny passengers?

gary yim / Shutterstock.com
gary yim / Shutterstock.com

Frank and Lucy Pirri are unhappy with their cruise on the Carnival Destiny, and they’re even more unhappy with how the cruise line responded to their complaint.

Sound familiar? Given Carnival’s recent Triumph troubles, it probably does.

But this wasn’t a short island-hopper with a bad ending. We’re talking 18 days in Europe, which was “poorly planned and poorly executed” from start to finish, says Frank Pirri.

How so? Let’s count the ways. (Warning: laundry list ahead.)
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“I think they’re being needlessly greedy”

Eurostar / Photo by 10 Italia – Flickr Creative Commons
A date on a ticket can be a small but important detail. And no place is that more true than in Europe, where dates have a way of getting reversed.
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Is a burned-out clutch automatically my fault?

Question: My wife and daughter recently rented a car through Hertz in London. They purchased the Super Coverage insurance so there would be no hassle with any potential damages.

They did not get more than 10 miles from the airport when the clutch in the car malfunctioned, leaving them stranded in the middle of the road. She was pushed off the highway, and in doing so damaged the front tire and wheel going up onto the curb.
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