Travel Bumps

travel trunk Copyright Shelagh DonnellyLet’s begin with an acknowledgement: Those of us fortunate enough to travel beyond the regions we call home are the lucky ones, for we’re exposed to new ideas, cultures and vistas. Sometimes, though, we’re exposed to things we’d rather avoid: delays or cancellations, sloppy service, overbookings or missing luggage.

While the good experiences greatly outweigh the bad, it’s also good to learn from the latter. Experiences such as renting a privately owned condo in a stunning art deco building in South Beach, Miami. Carlyle renosYes, that’s the building at the right of your screen. Not quite what I envisioned, either.

It was only after arriving at this building, which is directly across the street from Miami Beach, that I learned it was under substantial and noisy renovations.

We’ve stayed in busy places before: right on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, by Waikiki Beach, off Russell Square in London, around the corner from Paris’ Palais Garnier, and on Avinguda de Gabriel Roca in Palma. We’ve stayed in gorgeous hotels overlooking avenidas and squares where literally thousands of people were gathered for major festivals. We can handle all that with no issue; those are noise levels a traveller should reasonably anticipate. This experience, though, was different; think of a dentist’s drill and amp it up a dozen or so times in volume.

Ah, well. The concierge Lillian was lovely, and I didn’t trip once over the drop cloth outside the third floor elevator. Make the best of a situation, right?

Carlyle - men at third floor windowBesides, there were advantages to having paid for the ocean view room at the front of the building; at least that section wasn’t yet draped, and I could see out the windows.

Or at least I thought that was good, until Day Two, when I rolled out the yoga mat at 8:30 a.m. … and found that my view through the side window included a construction crew outside this third floor window. Using the area to sip their drinks as they worked on the building’s exterior, and staring at me just as I stared at them. I don’t fault the crew, who may have been as surprised as I was; they were doing their job.  

Follow the drop-down menus under Travel Bumps to read about other interesting travels, and keep your fingers crossed that this section of my site remains compact!


As I said, we’re fortunate to travel; others would be thrilled if such issues were the extent of their frustrations or bumps in life.

Credit where credit’s due

Acknowledgement of problems, and steps to rectify them, go a long way in inspiring customer confidence and loyalty. In the last year alone, my luggage was delayed three times. Four different airlines were involved, and such things happen. The thing is, Alaska Airlines’ communications on the delay, and the actions they took – both of which stood head and shoulders above the other three airlines’ – wound up increasing the already high level of respect I had for their customer service and for their people. Ultimately, they enhanced my loyalty to their brand.

Rogerio 2453 Copyright Shelagh DonnellyTravellers appreciate it when providers and companies act in good faith – and when they come to the rescue in situations they didn’t create. Rogerio and his colleagues at Palacio Das Cardosas earned our ongoing appreciation for their friendly and gracious handling of a couple of challenges. No luggage, and only the clothes in your shopping bag? No problem. Before I knew it, staff were helping with advice and insights on boutiques and stores – and making calls to the airline on my behalf.

Patricia Heritage Avenida Liberdade Copyright Shelagh DonnellySo, too, did Patricia of Heritage Avenida Liberdade. She helped us cross language barriers, and kept a close eye on the situation without us even asking.

After being overcharged by a keener at Enterprise, the approach taken by Enterprise Rent-A-Car Area Manager Jose Feliu restored my confidence in that company – to the extent that I chose his company again for another car rental less than a week later.

What travel providers have inspired your loyalty  by making the best of a bad situation?

How have some of the travel bumps you’ve experienced unfold?

 Have any hotels, airlines or other travel providers impressed you with the way they resolved a sticky situation? What did they do to restore your confidence?


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