My March Break started last Monday, but we did not have any vacation plan until late last week. Why? It was because Da Pong’s vacation was not confirmed until the last minute. Last weekend, we decided to pay a visit to the travel agency and booked the flights and hotel to New York City. Now, this trip is a bit against my regular travel pattern because I usually plan the whole vacation on my own before I book for flights and hotels. It is an old habit of mine because I used to work as an international conference planner and a tour escort teacher, so travel planning is something that I quite enjoy doing. However, this time it was a bit different. I just let the travel agent do everything for me and what a big mistake that was!
First, the agent booked a hotel that is very old and famous, one of the largest hotels in New York City. Without doing any research on the hotel, we just looked at the picture of the attractive building and immediately signed our names on the dotted line. (We are suckers for beautiful old architecture design.) A lesson learned: Never judge a hotel by its appearance!
Later that day after we got home, I went online to read about that cool looking hotel. My heart just sank lower and lower like a rock while I was reading the hotel reviews one after another. Apparently, the hotel has so many complaints against it, particularly, the complaints about BED BUGS!
Now, if I paid only the price for a motel, I probably would just bite my teeth and expect a motel or hostel grade service. Unfortunately, we paid a fortune for the hotel and we might be at risk of staying in a bug-infested hotel. I couldn’t sleep that night. Just the thought of it drove me nuts.
The next morning, I got a phone call from the travel agent to inform us about the change of flights. Originally, we were supposed to fly out of Toronto. Somehow, the flights we booked were no longer available (no reason given), and we had to fly out of Buffalo instead. Now Buffalo is further away from us. Plus, we did not want to drive around Buffalo at 3 o’clock in the morning.
I asked the agent if we could bail out of the contract if they were changing our travel plan. Interestingly, she immediately told me that they agreed to pay for the shuttle service to and from Buffalo Airport. However, if I wanted to bail out of the hotel, I would have to pay for the hotel cancellation fee which would be the charge for a night. I was a bit upset, and Da Pong did not really want me to go through the stress of worrying about the bed bugs. So, we agreed to pay the penalty and booked a more expensive hotel.
Unfortunately, all hotels are so expensive in New York City. It was supposed to be a cheap vacation in New York. We ended up paying the penalty and the expensive accommodation for four nights in New York. The price for the second hotel was literally double the price we paid for the first one. For the cost we paid for the flights and hotel, we could have gone to a five star resort for a week. What a bummer!
The trip did not really come with a good start.