Friday Free-For-All! #NewSeries

Hi, everyone. I’m starting a new series that will run through the fall and winter. I’m calling it a Friday Free-For-All.

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I found this definition for a Free-For-all: A disorganized or unrestricted situation or event in which everyone may take part, especially a fight, discussion, or trading market.

I’m not quite sure what a trading market might be. But in other words, pretty much anything goes. I may talk about anything from books and writing to music, family, mysticism, UFOs, life experiences, and all points in between. It’s going to be FUN!

Two things I will not discuss – Religion and politics. Unless it is to say how each has affected my life in some personal way. I will not get into discussions that involve opinions about either. As my seven-year-old granddaughter likes to say with a hand on her hip, “Period.” ๐Ÿ™‚

Samantha aka Sammy

I am open to having guests, so if you feel like having a Free-For-All, contact me, and we’ll talk about it.

I’m going to start this by sharing a recent travel debacle. Well, actually, it’s not so recent as it goes all the way back to May when I traveled to Missouri to do research for my current WIP, but it’s been ongoing for months.

I booked hotel reservations through Travelocity. Easy peasy, all done in one place. Wrong!

When my friend Judy and I arrived for our first hotel stay in McAlester, Oklahoma, we quickly discovered what a big mistake I’d made. I walked inside the office of the Oyo Motel with my printed and confirmed reservation in hand.

The man who finally appeared through a back door, somewhat glassy-eyed, gave me a confused look. It took a minute for him to find words. He glanced at the reservation, back up at me, back at the paper, then back at me. You get the idea.

Finally, he said, “Ain’t got no rooms.”

“What? But I’ve already paid for a room, and here’s my confirmation.”

More looking back and forth between me and the paper. Then he repeated. “Ain’t got no rooms.”

I said, “I tried to call you several times today to let you know we’d be a late arrival, but I could never reach you.”

He glanced toward the phone sitting on the desk, then back at me before he said. “Phone’s broke.”

Okay, a man of few words. Or at least the few words he could pull out of his drug-fogged brain.

I won’t bore you with the back-and-forth confused dialogue. The bottom lineโ€”we did not have a bed for the night.

When I got back in the car, I immediately called Travelocity and explained the dilemma. They transferred me to a representative who they said could help. After several attempts at trying to understand a woman who spoke rapidly with a thick foreign accent, I finally said, “Please speak more slowly. I cannot understand what you are saying.” I’m sure she cringed at my Texas drawl. Anyway, she hung up on me.

At that point, it was obvious we needed to find a hotel room for the night and deal with the fallout later. When I returned home, I began the attempt to get my money back for the Oyo Motel room that didn’t exist. After months of fighting with Travelocity, I had to reconcile with the fact they were NOT going to refund my money. Thankfully, it was only $46. But it was the principle of being charged for something I didn’t get.

Conclusion: I will NEVER EVER book through Travelocity again and highly recommend to everyone else they don’t either. Maybe this was an isolated incident, but they should have refunded my money, and they didn’t.

How about you? Any travel nightmares you’d like to share?

39 thoughts on “Friday Free-For-All! #NewSeries

  1. Okay, that’s just frightening that this fake hotel registered with Travelocity and they don’t even check validity. Thanks for the warning! This world is becoming one big scam! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your idea of a Free for All Friday, Jan. Too bad about the lodging! I haven’t used Travelocity, and based on your experience, I never will. What awful customer service. They’re playing with fire when they rile up a blogger. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol! So true, Diana, and they did get me riled up. I gave it my best, being persistent, but in the end, they basically told me they were done with me and would not be refunding my money. I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope you enjoy the new series!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Plenty of travel woes. It’s always a bit of a crapshoot. I choose my battles, but that is the kind of one I wouldn’t give up easily on. Frequently, it’s a matter of speaking to the right person. (Reminds me of insurance companies.) Unfortunately, the effort is probably not worth the reward other than the satisfaction of finally getting one’s money back. They collect money so much easier than they refund it.

    I often book through travel companies, but then the hotels come up with their methods of getting their own piece of the pie by charging “resort fees” or some other excuse for collecting money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I certainly gave this battle my best shot, Pete. So, when they made it clear they were not issuing a refund, I left scathing one-star reviews, then turned to my blog. ๐Ÿ™‚ You are right about the hotels finding ways to tack on extra fees. From now on, I will either go through a travel agent or book directly with the hotel. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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  4. Friday Free-For-All sounds like a fun idea, Jan. I’ve used Travelocity on several occasions and never had a problem. I’m sorry this happened to you. I agree that it was highly unprofessional of them to not refund your money. My husband and I have a timeshare now, so we make most of our bookings through them. Thank God. โค

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience with Travelocity, Vashti. I am very glad it has been a good one for you. I’m sure booking through the timeshare is much less of a hassle. I appreciate you stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Jan, I do recall you writing about this incident before. I’ve never had something like this happen when we’ve travelled but I did get a big surprise when the cottage we overnighted in on our recent trip away (thank goodness only one night) didn’t have any locks on the doors. I’m just not comfortable with that even if the guest farm was in the middle of nowhere, I want to be able to lock my door when I’m not there and at night.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness, Robbie. I totally agree. No matter where you are, locks on the doors are a necessity in this crazy world. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love your idea for this series, Jan, and can’t wait to read what follows!

    What a terrible experience you had. And not one person offered any kind of solution or apology? I couldn’t imagine! Thankfully, I don’t recall ever having something like that happen. I do use a traveling site to book arrangements-Expedia-but have never had an issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad Expedia has been a positive experience for you, Mar. Not one person offered a solution or an apology. It was a strange experience, like ending up in a Twilight Zone episode. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for stopping by today! Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So far I haven’t had any issues using those sites for booking other than not getting the type of room i wanted or being in a construction zone in the hotel. It is the principle of them not refunding your money, I wonder if they fall under the Better Business Bureau or if this outside of it? When things like this happens my first odd thought is this is going to get written about! Thanks for the heads up with that company.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, Denise. All our crazy experiences in life have the potential to wind up in a book. ๐Ÿ™‚ I would love to use the scene inside the Oyo Motel office somewhere, sometime. It’s a slice of life you couldn’t make up. I don’t know about getting the Better Business Bureau involved, but you can rest assured I left scathing reviews on both sites. Thanks for stopping by today!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I consider myself blessed when it comes to travel, Jan. As many times as I’ve journeyed across the globe, I’ve been fortunate not to have issues. I’ll definitely not be using Travelocity. Usually, we book through a travel agent we’ve known for over twenty years. So sorry for your experience.

    Looking forward to your Friday Free-For-All!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A travel agent would definitely be the best way to go with international travel, Mary. It’s great that you’ve not had any major issues in all your wanderings. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for stopping by and sharing!

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  9. I usually book direct, for hotels and planes. I don’t think I get the cheapest price, but I did have American refuse to honor a reservation I’d made through one of those agencies. My clever daughter outsmarted them, but I was flummoxed for a while!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kudos to your clever daughter for outsmarting them, Jacqui. I have definitely learned my lesson. From now on, I will book directly through the hotel, even if it costs a few dollars more! Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thereโ€™s a scam running in the UK at the moment with bogus holiday properties being posted on Booking.com that donโ€™t exist. Iโ€™ve seen horror stories of people arriving from Australia after nearly a whole 24 hours of flying and travelling, only to discover their holiday accommodation is a fake.

    I booked a three-night stay somewhere for the beginning of September, and the host messaged, asking for my booking PIN number. I grew suspicious and contacted Booking,com. That PIN would give access to not only the booking details but my payment and account too. Needless to say, I told the owner thereโ€™s no way Iโ€™m giving them that PIN.

    Unfortunately, Booking.com still hasnโ€™t confirmed all is resolved. Hubby and I are half expecting to arrive and find big problems. Unfortunately, itโ€™s a non-refundable booking, so we donโ€™t want to cancel and lose our money. Instead, we plan to arrive early enough that we can seek alternative accommodation if needs be and start a claim after. Iโ€™m surprised at the lack of customer service from Booking.com, as itโ€™s their reputation at risk at the end of the day.

    So sorry youโ€™ve gone through that with Travelocity and lost your money, Jan. โ€ฆ I can see this Friday Free For All being a great series! ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my, Harmony! Fingers crossed that your travel arrangements are legitimate and you arrive to find no issues. We live in a crazy world full of scammers looking to separate us from our pennies. It makes it hard to trust that companies are who and what they say they are. Booking.com is a well-known business, but so is Travelocity. I hope my debacle doesn’t add to the stress of your upcoming trip. Thank you for leaving a comment. You’ll have to let us know how it goes!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. What a fun new series, Jan, and what an AWFUL experience! OMG! ๐Ÿ˜ฎNo, I’ve never had anything like that happen, and I would REALLY be upset if it did … mostly because we usually “book” a room at my son’s or daughter’s house. ๐Ÿ˜ Our traveling in recent years is usually to visit one or the other of them, and neither has ever greeted us saying “Ain’t got no rooms.” So far. ๐Ÿ˜

    Funny, now that I think about it, the places we’ve visited most often in years past were usually in the NC mountains, and I never booked ahead unless I was meeting with friends of a group I belonged to at the time. Usually I just relied on finding a room after we arrived, which might not work as well today as it did years ago. Plus, my husband and I often had camping gear with us, and spent most of our nights in one of several beautiful campgrounds in the area.

    One thing for sure–I’d NEVER use Travelocity after reading about your experience! And if I ever go to Oklahoma, I’ll avoid the Oyo Motel like the plague! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

    Liked by 2 people

    1. For sure, Marcia! In fact, I’d avoid any and all Oyo Motels. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for your comment. I’m sure you never have any trouble with the room booking at your kiddos’ house. The NC mountains sound amazing. I’ve never been but would love to go. And you are right. It might not work the same now as far as not booking ahead, as it did BC (before COVID). Here’s to many happy travel experiences ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Jan! And you really should try to visit the NC mountains one day. The Appalachians are the oldest mountain range on the planet, which is why the hills are so “rolling.” They have worn down to a beautiful roundness from eons of erosion.

        If you ever get to go, be sure to visit the Chimney Rock area for some spectacular views, and take a day to visit Lake Lure, Asheville, and some of the other other really beautiful places nearby. I’d be interested in your thoughts. Plus the southern hospitality is very strong there. I’m betting NO ONE would tell you “Ain’t got no rooms,” even if it were true and you lacked reservations. They’d help you find a place to stay. (Can you tell it’s my favorite part of the world? Well, so far, anyway. I mean there are still some places I’ve never been, after all. ๐Ÿ˜‚)

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    1. It was a debacle for sure, Erika. And I did get a little angry. It was enough to keep me fighting for my money, but I lost the battle. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you will enjoy this new Friday series. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. What a mess, Jan, so sorry. I’ve got a few of those stories as well and now only book through the hotels I trust. Your new series sounds fun! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I’m sorry to hear about your travel disaster, Jan. Long ago, my friend and I booked a tour to an island off the coast of Venezuela through Apple Tours (I think that was the name) it was a nightmare! Our beachfront view was a beach filled with broken glass and garbage…that was the tip of the iceberg. I think I wrote a blog post about it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, Jill. What a disaster. And that one was a lot more than $46. I hope you were able to reconcile it with the booking company. I’m sure you never used them again. Thank you for stopping by and sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Third-party bookings can be tricky. I’m wondering if it was a bogus Travelocity. I have used Booking.com and so far no problem. Travel can be stressful enough without these things happening.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh wow, Darlene. I never imagined there could be a bogus Travelocity. We live in a crazy world, don’t we? I’m glad you’ve had no problems so far with your bookings. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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