Missing refund on Travelocity

You book a room at a hotel. You secure the reservation with a credit card. But when the time comes to check out, you discover you’re being charged for two extra nights. For one Travelocity customer, that marks the beginning of a four-month odyssey to get her money back. After being put on “hold” for hours at a time and wading through thickets of red tape, she finally loses her patience and calls for help. Find out whose mistake this was – and how you can prevent this from happening to you.

Spain’s affordable backroads

My favorite country to visit in Europe is Spain. Though it’s not the bargain it was two decades ago, it can still be very affordable when visitors venture outside the big cities and tourist centers. I’m making plans for my annual pilgrimage to Pamplona for the running of the bulls. It is a complete escape from everyday reality. It is one place where I can relax with no phones, no newspapers, no conversations about stocks and bonds, and no troubleshooting for airline problems.

We’ll always have Warsaw

If your valuables are damaged on an international flight, what does the airline owe you? For one British Airways passenger whose $4,000 guitar is cracked by baggage handlers on a flight from London to Newark, it’s not an abstract question. When the airline refuses to compensate him for the repairs – citing a seven-day statute of limitations on claims – he goes looking for answers. Find out how your readers can prevent costly damage to their checked-in luggage. (And find out what in the world the Warsaw Convention has to do with any of this.)

Fraud in the Amazon

Getting overcharged for a hotel room isn’t unusual. Billing mistakes happen all the time. But there are errors – and then there are errors. When one hotel guest is asked to pay an extra $2,000, she refuses. But then the hotel shows her charge-card company an invoice for the full amount that it claims she signed. She says it’s a forged signature. What kind of recourse do you have in a situation like this? And whose side will your card company be on? In the enclosed column, I try find the answers.

Don’t blimp out

Many people even expect to gain weight while traveling, not because they want to but because they have no guidance on how to prevent it. To help you avoid returning home heavier than when you left, I offer up five tips.

A battle for independence

America’s East Coast is basking in the glow of low-cost airlines – and enjoying low fares. Flying from New England to Florida and across the country has never been so affordable. Thank you Southwest, jetBlue, ATA, Airtran and now Independence Air. If the majors had their way, flights between the Boston area and Philadelphia would still be hovering around $800+ for walk-up tickets. New York-to-Miami would be more than $1,000 and Washington to the West Coast would be astronomical.

Just making conversation

When you rent a car, you expect the agent handing you the keys to ask a few questions – like, “Do you need insurance?” and, “Where will you be staying while you’re in town?” But what happens when the questions start becoming more intrusive? That’s what one traveler wants to know when the queries from a Hertz agent get a little personal. Did the employee step across a line – or just do a thorough job? Find out what to do when a car-rental employee goes too far, and see how Hertz handled this case.