Help! Now What?

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Aug 17th, 2005, 04:31 AM
  #21
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
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This is truly unbelievable and I wish I could help!

To try and offer some alternatives I just looked at the itinerary
(http://www.2afrika.com/safaris/portf..._safari_kh.asp)

With 2 weeks to go it will be hard to duplicate with any local outfitter. Mara Serena, Ngorongoro Sopa and Manyara Serena will certainly be full. Crossing from the Mara to the Serengeti will also be tough to arrange.

It may not help at all but have you contacted one of their ground operators - Predators? http://www.predators-safaris.com/

If you are willing to look elsewhere we can quickly help you design a similar (better) itinerary?

It is amazing that the whole tour is advertised and designed around traveling with the owner! And then he bails!

As for refunds, 2Afrika is unfortunately not listed at ASTA and USTOA. I trust you bought cancellation insurance?
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Aug 17th, 2005, 04:50 AM
  #22
 
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Wanderlust,

I haven't dealt with an identical situation, but I have had some less than wonderful travel experiences in the past. Some factors are outside your control, but here are some things you can do:

Take a day off work if you can. Time is of the essence.

First and foremost: find out of your cheque has cleared. You probably sent it awhile ago, but there is a chance it has not cleared if things are as chaotic as they seem. If not, cancel it ASAP.

Lodge a complaint with the credit card company to retrieve that portion of your payment.

Decide if you want to go through with the extensions alone. If not, see what you can work out with the extension operators.

It may be possible to salvage your trip by 'flipping' it -- doing the extensions first and then the Tanzania bit. This will give you some time to work things out. We are certainly willing to help you out as much as we can in designing a new itinerary.

This will involve changing the dates on your plane tickets. Contact the airline and see if you can do the date change yourself. It will cost about $100 per person, but will enable you to retain the tickets. I would be wary of sending the tickets back to them, though you may not have a choice -- some types of tickets can only be changed through the issuing agency.

Unfortunately, individual creditors (which is what you would be) are often at the end of the line in terms of recompense if a company goes bankrupt -- other companies get first stab at what's left. It would definitely be in your best interest to act fast. Insist, if at all possible, on a wire transfer for your refund -- a cheque may bounce.

Good luck and best wishes,
Julian
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Aug 17th, 2005, 05:53 AM
  #23
 
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Wanderlust - I am in the process of planning my first safari. I wish I had some words of wisdom. Just wanted to add my own hug and words of support. Hang in there.
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Aug 17th, 2005, 06:18 AM
  #24
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Thanks. I spoke with the travel insurance company who was sympathetic but not able to offer any help. They are talking to their regional office and will get back to me. I also just visited my attorney who is unable to offer any help. He suggested that I try to salvage the last two weeks and let them rebook my flights and hope they reimburse me for the first two weeks. What a huge disappointment.

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Aug 17th, 2005, 06:54 AM
  #25
 
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Wanderlust--well after this post, I will probably have to leave Fodors.

However, I have to tell you that after reading your thread this morning, because I am booked with 2Afrika Sept 2nd I called 2Afrika right away---guess who answered the phone--Ken--the owner picked it up right away.

So I am very curious why "you" cannot get in touch with him.

I have been in touch with them since April, I have switched safaris on them many times, due to special circumstances--and they have always been right there when I needed them.

Our conversation today, is that they are merely doing your safari in reverse. Which you admitted your airline ticket said. Funny that I could find that out and you cannot.

Also, the fact that you have your airplane tickets in hand should give you a clue that they are not "bailing" on you--hello why give you paid for tickets if they do not want to deliver the goods.

Kenneth and Chad have gone over the top for us in planning our safari.

I just want to be someone posting a positive to this thread.

Kenneth is a good person that has recognized our needs. I wish all people were this understanding.
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Aug 17th, 2005, 06:55 AM
  #26
 
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When you said you spoke with the ground operator in East Africa, which outfitter was it? Other than saying they aren't holding any booking for your trip, were they able to give you any further insight into what the problem is?

I am so sorry this is happening to you. I would be devastated! I hope you find some resolution. Good luck and please keep us updated.
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Aug 17th, 2005, 07:08 AM
  #27
 
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Hi Wanderlust123,

I just wanted to add my best wishes to all of those here... I've only been on one safari (all went smoothly - although I remember how nervous I was when we were wire transferring the money over in advance...) and so I really have no advice to offer in this situation... I totally can understand how you must be feeling however!

If I were you, I would continue to press the actual tour company - they are the ones that know best what is going on, and may cave and give you some further details with enough pressure... And not sure whether this would help at all, but have you considered contacting the Tourism Board in Tanzania (or whatever organization it is that registers the tour companies)? Perhaps another poster can tell us whether this would be of any help at all...?
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Aug 17th, 2005, 07:09 AM
  #28
 
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wanderlust, first of all you should NOT feel stupid. As far as I can tell you did nothing wrong. You said you contacted the Rwanda operator. If I remember correctly that is being organised through Volcanoes Safaries. I have been in touch with them about a trip next year, if you check out their web site they have a rep in the US with a phone number. It may help your state of mind to call her and explain what is happening. She may be able to check out the Rwanda stuff on your behalf. Did you speak to Predators in Tanz? I have to say I found them hard to deal with when things were not "normal". Is Naked Wilderness the op in Kenya? I found them very helpful.
Still no wonderful advice for you I am afraid but do hang in there and we are all sending you positive vibes and hugs.
Keep us informed.
J
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Aug 17th, 2005, 07:30 AM
  #29
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Hurrah! I have in hand an itinerary and have spoken to the head of the company who is doing everything he can to make things right. Thanks for all your support!
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Aug 17th, 2005, 07:39 AM
  #30
 
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SiestaLinda
It's great that you have had such a positive experience with the same operator and definitely good to post positive experiences with them in light of Wanderlust's problems.
But just because you have had a great experience does not mean that all customers are in the same boat and you seem to be implying that Wanderlust is making up all the problems she has shared with us.
The fact that her itinerary is being reversed should have been made clear to her in response to her many enquiries.
As for "merely" - it seems to be that there is also the issue of Ken not accompanying the trip after all and also the point that reversing a trip may not fit in with someone's plans and a customer should hardly be made to feel that they are being difficult for a) wanting to know what is going on and b) not being keen on changes, when they finally find out what they are.
As for giving out tickets being a sign that everything is hunkydory - tell that to the thousands of people all around the world who have booked on trips with one operator or another, received tickets, and then been left high and dry when the operator folded.

I'm delighted that this is not the case here and that Wanderlust has finally been able to contact the owner who is resolving the entire issue for her.

But I have to say, posting to share a positive experience is one thing. Posting to belittle someone else, to dismiss their experiences or to imply bad faith on their part is another.
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Aug 17th, 2005, 07:44 AM
  #31
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kavey: well put.
wanderlust: glad it worked out.
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Aug 17th, 2005, 07:46 AM
  #32
 
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Fantastic news wanderlust! Have a wonderful African adventure!
J
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Aug 17th, 2005, 07:51 AM
  #33
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Thanks! I will post a trip report on my return and let you know how it went!
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Aug 17th, 2005, 07:53 AM
  #34
 
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SiestaLinda, please play nice! It would have been far more helpful if you could have told wanderlust about your conversations with the tour operator without impugning her motives or integrity. Remember, at some point you could be the one with the problem, asking others for help. And the fact that the tour operator is helpful today doesn't negate the fact that they weren't so helpful yesterday.

Kavey, thank you, well said.

As a person who has had vacations totally scr#wed up by operators who couldn't deliver the accomodations they promised (getting an airline ticket is the easy part...getting accomodations during high season is entirely another...) I can entirely sympathize with someone who is asking for information about their trip and not getting it.

But I hope that everything goes according to plan now--or better. Have a great trip.
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Aug 17th, 2005, 07:54 AM
  #35
 
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OK then!

All's well that ends well!

Wanderlust, do you mind posting your modified itinerary?
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Aug 17th, 2005, 07:56 AM
  #36
 
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Wanderlust,

Congratulations on getting things sorted -- have a wonderful trip!

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 17th, 2005, 08:01 AM
  #37
 
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Kavey, you are right--I tried so hard to make this a positive thread, guess I failed--I did not mean to belittle anyone-- Guess I was wrong but the fact that "wanderlust" and Ken are now talking and solved everything--well maybe I was ok in what I did
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Aug 17th, 2005, 08:06 AM
  #38
 
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Yes I'm really glad too that it appears to be resolved.

I cannot imagine how distressing it must be when one has not only dreams but potential financial loss too resting on such.

Communication is key!

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Aug 17th, 2005, 08:29 AM
  #39
 
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Wanderlust123,
Just came in on this one. Wish you the best and by all means post a report when you return home. Lots of us are thinking of you.
Dick
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Aug 17th, 2005, 08:32 AM
  #40
 
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wanderlust,
I feel almost as relieved as I'm sure you do! Go, have a wonderful time, and don't let any minor glitches you may encounter (as long as they're minor) interfere with your adventure. I think it will all feel like cake after this stress.

I am so happy for you!
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