How Expensive is New York City ? – Travel Tips

 

We’ve discussed living cheap in NYC, but is it possible to travel cheap? In this vlog, I break down the most common costs you will incur on a trip to New York City.. from hotel, to food, to going out at night. I’ve got you covered. I hope this travel tips video helps you budget and provides a basic idea of what things you can do on your next trip to New York . Be sure to subscribe and check out my New York City playlist for even more ideas !

Rutgers vs Michigan Travel Vlog- Tailgate and Stadium Experience

 

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I attended the historic 78-0 loss for Rutgers at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday.  While the on-field performance was abysmal, I still had an amazing time, vlogging the tailgate and all the game day activities. Come relive the experience!

How to get a CEO to issue you a flight refund

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For anybody who has been following my blog/vlog or social media you have probably seen how irate I was with Vueling Airlines. I describe the whole saga here:  https://herebebarr.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/why-ill-never-fly-vueling-airlines-again/

I received an unexpected surprise this morning. A NEW e-mail from Vueling customer service offering me a FULL refund and two-hundred and fifty euros per person compensation. How on earth did I convince them to do that? Very simply.. by going straight to the top.

I was shut down by Vueling’s customer service department the first time I reached out to them. My credit card company’s travel insurance didn’t cover delays based on airline system malfunctions (whatever that means). Even airhelp.com a website that is dedicated to fighting cases like mine for a 25% commission said I was not eligible.  After reading the outpouring of messages from my Youtube Vlog http://www.youtube.com/c/herebebarr/  one person hinted at contacting executives.  What if I found the e-mail address of the CEO and told him exactly what happened?  Did I really have anything to lose?

I found his name through the website CEOemail.com. Here is the exact e-mail I sent Javier Sanchez-Prieto.

Mr. Sanchez-Prieto,

Hello. I am trying to restore my faith in Vueling Air and other discount carriers in general but after my experience last week with your airline it is going to be quite difficult.
I flew Vueling in the past, and never had an incident. On Monday the 18th of July, I was in Rome (FCO) attempting to fly from there to Madrid for my flight home to New York the next morning. I learned my flight was rescheduled for the next day, and this began a grueling ordeal. We had to wait three hours in line, just to be told to contact customer service by phone or e-mail. Then we were promised access to a hotel , and the process of organizing the stranded passengers was appalling (I could send you a video from my cell phone) . Their was one staff member trying to organize 200-300 people into 1 bus. After waiting for two hours I gave up. It was already late at night and we had to re-book our flights for the next day to New York City from Rome.
I was forced to pay 110 euros round trip for a taxi as well as 93 euros for a hotel. Then I had to re-book my girlfriends flight on Air France, which charged her a penalty of 300 dollars. I also had to re-book my United Airlines flight, which cost me points.
I e-mailed your customer service staff as well as called for a refund on my flight ticket. I paid for a flight on the 18th and could not fly 24 hours later. My refund request was denied.
Mr. Sanchez-Prieto I am out already over 500 dollars on this ordeal and I can’t even get a refund from your company. I’m a budget traveler and someone that believes in fairness. I don’t think the way my case was treated was right and that at minimum I should be given the cost of my 2 tickets back after all of the expenses I had to shell out.
I want to restore faith in Vueling Airlines. I understand that flight’s get cancelled and rescheduled, but the customer service experience has been dreadful.  Please give me a reason to fly your Airlines again.
All the best,
Frequent Traveler,
Jonathan Barr

 

I also attached my customer service request # which rejected me and my check-in number. Notice, how I did not write a highly emotional e-mail. I used the facts and told him exactly what I thought was handled incorrectly.  I then asked for my flight to be refunded at a minimum (but didn’t ask for more compensation, I just noted what I already spent out of pocket). I also mentioned that I want to be able to give them my business again. I wrote this at 8:00 PM on Sunday. At 3:00 AM (Tuesday) I received the following reply:

Dear Mr Barr,

We are writing you in response to the claim regarding the flight XXXXX, in reference to booking XXXXX (redacted).

In response to your e-mail, we would first of all like to apologize for the cancellation of the flight and for any inconvenience caused.

Please understand the limitations we find ourselves in due to factors like technical problems, bad weather conditions or air traffic control which affect the aerial transport and have a negative impact on our working system, resulting in obligatory schedule changes against our will.

We understand the setbacks these circumstances cause the passengers and it is our policy to provide or help find the most favourable solution as long as the means and alternate flights are available.

We would like you to know that the aim of our company is to offer the best possible customer service to our clients, and that is why we are really thankful for your e-mail. We can assure you that we take into account all your comments regarding our service and that we will do our best so that these kinds of incidents will not take place again in the future.

As you have requested, we have made the refund of your booking the same credit card the booking was purchased with. You should receive the funds within a couple of days or at the end of the month, depending on the type of card you have.

After reviewing your claim we would like to offer a compensation of 250€ to each passenger. In order to make a wire transfer of this amount we would like to ask you to send us the following information of the passengers of the booking XXXXXX (redacted):

– Name of the account holder
– Address of the accountholder
– Name of the beneficiary bank
– Address of the beneficiary bank
– Account number
– BIC or SWIFT code

Kind regards,

Claims Department
VUELING AIRLINES S.A.

 

I am fairly confident that Mr. Sanchez-Prieto or one of his fellow staff members sitting in their offices in Barcelona read this e-mail and decided to do the right thing. For that, I thank them and am happy that this ordeal looks to be coming to an end. I encourage others, if you have a valid complaint and customer service tells you no, e-mail up the chain. Tell your story, and do not give up until you get just compensation.

Would I fly Vueling Airlines again? The short answer is, no. I would have to hear that they have completely revamped their customer service and company philosophies in order to get my business. Was a little faith restored in them after this? I would say so.

Have you ever written or called a CEO or an executive directly about a travel related situation and received a refund and/or compensation? Tell us about it in the comments. Thank you for reading as usual. Travel smarter.

Nerja (Fun, Sun, and Paella)

 

FriglianaVLOG

Location, location, location. One of the reasons we picked Granada as our base for our two-months in Spain was exactly that. It is located about an hour north of some great beaches, and I had my eye on Nerja for a long time.

We ended up spending two incredible nights there, staying at an Airbnb with a local woman who provided us both breakfast and dinner. I have stayed at many Airbnb’s over the years, but never one that offered you TWO meals.  This culminated in our final night, where I helped her prepare the best paella I’ve ever eaten (see video/photos for proof).

The beaches were very beautiful and more importantly not over crowded. June is still considered the off-season in Southern Spain, but with the water temperature at about seventy degrees I could not tell. There are five beaches near the center of Nerja and for our vlog we picked what I considered the most beautiful one. You can rent beach chair/umbrellas for four euros and save them for the entire day.

Our favorite activity during our short trip was kayaking. For only eleven euros, we shared a tandem kayak and managed to explore an empty cave in the process. That was worth the price of admission alone and great exercise after all the seafood and wine we consumed.

On our final day we took a short local bus to Frigliana. It is a tiny town located about fifteen minutes from Nerja. You only need an hour or two to explore it. Once you discover the Moorish white homes on the hills overlooking the sea , your camera will thank you for it.

I am posting some pictures and the corresponding vlog below. Please do subscribe to it if you want to keep up with our adventures in Spain/Europe. Any comments would also be appreciated.

 

PAELLABLOG

Homemade Paella

CAVEBLOG

Kayaking inside a cave

MANBEACHBLOG

Old man and the sea

Two Nights in Sevilla

Adriana and I just returned from a short stay in Sevilla (Seville in English). We thought the city was beautiful, although we are happy to be living in Granada for the majority of our stay. We took a couple of free tours with Sevilla Free Tours and we do recommend them. The weather was gorgeous, and I intentionally timed our trip around a cooler set of days as Sevilla is one of the hottest cities in Spain.

While the tapas are not free we did stumble upon an awesome restaurant thanks to Yelp.com. It was on the other side of the river seperating the more “touristy” center from the more local barrio (Triana). The views are incredible and it is worth a night of just strolling along the river.

Here is the restaurant that served us perhaps our best night of tapas in Spain: https://www.yelp.com/biz/vega-10-sevilla

Try to find my review if you can. We were pretty stuffed for about sixteen euros a person and that included two glasses of iced summer wine each. I am attaching the corresponding vlog if you want to see my Spanish skills put to the test as well as some great shots of the city.

Summer Wine in Sevilla
Summer Wine in Sevilla

IMG_4728

Typical architecture
Typical architecture