Travel things we’re not fucking with after this pandemic

travel things

Even after half a year of available vaccines, this pandemic continues to ravage entire countries and shut down cities. Aside from testing our resilience and sanity, this shit is really starting to wear down our patience. Travel, in particular, may never be the same again. Which is why we need to adjust our travel habits to adapt to this contagious new world. To protect our own mental health and because we’re not taking shit from anybody anymore, these are the travel things we should not be fucking with after Covid.

Third party booking sites

In all the snarled travel nonsense brought to us by Covid, nothing has been more frustrating than trying to get a refund on a flight bought through a third party booking agency. Third party booking sites are those you’ve never heard of in your life but sell your flight $50 cheaper than the airline for some reason. They’re attractive because of the cost savings. But if you need to make a change to your flight, get your money back, or request a special accommodation, the airline washes their hands of you and tells you you need to deal with your travel agency.

At which point, eDreams or MyTrip or Kiwi stop responding to your emails and do everything in their power to keep the refund they already received from the airline. Fuck them. You don’t need them. Book directly through the airline and deal only with them. You have a lot more rights as an air passenger than you do as a customer of a Mickey Mouse fare aggregator website.

Credit card companies that make it difficult to file a dispute

During this time of rampant cancellations and travel changes, the second most important thing to consider aside from who you book with is what credit card you put it on. You want a credit card that will protect you in case you get ripped off. So if you’re looking for a good travel credit card, make sure you look past the number of miles per dollar and find out what you have to do to file a dispute.

If you’re thinking about Capital One, for instance, maybe apply for Chase instead. In addition to not being able to file a dispute online (where presumably all your relevant evidence is also located), after you call Capital One, they send you a dispute form in the mail requesting said documents. Then you have to mail everything back or fax it like it’s 1997. No one has time for that, so make things easier for yourself. If they’re too difficult to protect your money, they don’t deserve your business.

Airbnb

Airbnb was designed to provide affordable accommodations and make homeowners a little extra cash every once in a while. But like all great ideas with good intentions, it’s been exploited by short-term landlords who buy up a bunch of properties in great areas of town and run several vacation rentals simultaneously. This has ruined the housing market in many popular cities, where residents can’t afford to rent or buy and have to live next to a revolving door of visiting assholes who are on vacation 7 days a week.

It’s not even that cheap anymore, because Airbnb hosts jack up prices on bullshit like cleaning fees in exchange for a luxury stay that looks and feels like… a hotel room. It’s time to go back to booking a room with a 24-hour front desk and less scavenger hunts to find the key to an apartment in a random city. I won’t even go into the instances of rape and assault that Airbnb has paid millions to keep out of the news, but it’s certainly worth noting.

Countries that are not worth our money

I spent five years on GnomeTrotting telling all of you to travel while you can because you never know what might prevent you from doing so in the future. Admittedly, this I could not have imagined, but here we are. Now that our destination options are severely limited, and travel has become even more of a hassle than it once was, it’s time to be a little judicious about our destinations. Gone are the days where we might hop on a flight the next day somewhere random just because it’s cheap. Now you have to research their entry requirements and the pandemic situation. Are restaurants even open? If not, what’s the use?

More to the point, if you did make it through the past two years with gainful employment and a budget for travel, doesn’t it also stand to reason that you use that money to support countries that don’t suck? Contrary to popular travel blogging ideology, you don’t have to go everywhere. Countries that suppress democracy, free speech, that contributed to making this pandemic worse through their inaction and stupidity, countries that commit human rights violations on a daily basis – they don’t need your funding to continue treating their citizens like shit. The tourism industry is hurting everywhere, so take your money to places that are more deserving of it.

Companies with shitty customer service

I know, people who work in customer service are tired and overworked and underpaid. And that is exactly the problem. If you’ve spent four weeks trying to get ahold of your airline, that means they cut their call center staff in half and they’re expecting the remaining workers to pick up the slack. So all the government bailouts that our taxes collectively paid for to keep these shitty companies afloat was pocketed by the executives of said companies while they significantly worsened working conditions for their employees.

This is part of a larger category of non-travel related things we’re not fucking with after this pandemic: companies who exploit their workers. If your company can’t stay in business without exploiting low-level employees, then you don’t deserve to stay in business. Slave labor is not a viable business model, and as consumers, it’s time we make that clear. So if American Airlines cancels your flight because they laid off too many pilots (despite the $50 BILLION the government gave the airline industry), don’t fly with them again! Don’t support the exploitation of the people you need to get you from one city to another. More than a moral issue, it’s a safety one. Who wants to be flown anywhere by a disgruntled pilot who is out of practice and 9 months behind on his bills?

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