Nerdy Cat Scuba Travels

A Cat Lovin' Engineer taking a career break by traveling, doing a divemaster internship, and diving around the world

Month: November 2016

Thailand Awaits

Where has time gone? It doesn’t feel that long since I was living in Iceland. Yet, I’ve been back in the states with family for over 3 months. What have I accomplished? Not sure. I’ve been spending most of my time catching up with my cat and family. I started swimming a few times a week at my old stomping grounds. The weather has turned cold up here- some nights I can’t find the motivation to step outside and jump into a pool.

I’ve been working hard at getting better at scuba diving by helping out with the courses at Any Water Sports. The weather and storms have been holding me back. Each weekend there seems to be another storm surge that makes it impossible to have fun. In the meantime I have started to try to figure out what to do next.

I briefly debated about going to South America. Its always been on my list and one of the last two continents I haven’t visited. Antartica is the other one. But that’s going to cost me a good $10k. So maybe that will have to wait until I find a buried treasure.

Why Thailand? Well, I definitely have not been planning to go to Thailand. I went 2 years ago for 7 weeks and thought I had a good time and could visit other new places. My nomadic lifestyle has been a bit taxing. I haven’t bought anything that I couldn’t take with me to the next trip. The last real purchase I made on myself was a pair of shorts in August.  Sometimes I look at a pretty purse at the mall and yearn to just buy something frivolous. But alas, what would be the point? I don’t need a fancy purse.

Anyways, a friend offered me a free room until May 2017. I don’t know how I am so fortunate to have such great friends. Seeing that winter is coming and I didn’t have anything else going on, I chose to accept her offer and book a free ticket to Thailand and stay for 2 months.

It’s not an “Eat.Pray.Love.” thing. God, if I could just curse Julia Roberts from doing that movie I would. Just because I’m a middle aged single woman doesn’t mean that i took time off to replicate the book. Don’t get me wrong- I would love to go to Italy and eat a truckload of pasta and pizza and have James Franco fall in love with me. But thats not realistic. I took the time off so that I wouldn’t have to be an engineer anymore. I’m going to Thailand to live and figure out what the next step in my life should be.  I’m looking forward to alone time and being able to be independent again. I need to figure out what’s the point of working and living again.  Bangkok isn’t exactly the best city for scuba diving, but maybe I will be able to figure out a way to jump into the water while I’m there.

Here’s to new beginnings….thailand

How to get a refund from Hotwire Hotrates

Teaching in Monterey and living in San Jose can be inconvenient when I’m assisting both open water and advanced water courses. I used to drive back and forth but recently I started to stay at hotels for convenience.

Priceline and Hotwire

This is where Priceline and Hotwire come into play. Oftentimes I can book on these sites and save about $20-30 a night. The risk is that there is no cancellation.

I always have trip insurance (currently world nomads) so I’m covered for natural disasters and what not.

Trip insurance covers the following:

  • trip cancellation due to weather (flights only)
  • stolen / list items
  • medical coverage for unexpected events

My scuba course was recently canceled due to high waves/ swell in the area. I called world nomads and they said it wasn’t covered. So much for trip insurance.

I googled ways to get a hot rates Hotwire refund and found that some people were able to plead with the customer service representative for mercy. I tried my best and called customer service. Pleaded my case. Nope. The response was “my hands are tied with hot rates hotel reservations. We have a contract with he hotel that can not be broken.”

Well rats.

I waited a few days and called the hotel and explained to them that I was teaching a scuba course that got canceled at the last minute. I could reschedule when the class is sorted out. The woman was really nice and said to call her reservations department to cancel. So then another phone call and same explain to the reservations department. The woman was understanding and said she would cancel if she could, but the reservation is paid to Hotwire. I thought I was stuck but then she said something new….

I could call Hotwire back and explain that I talked with her and that the hotel approved of my cancellation and would allow me to get a refund. She gave me her name and contact info for reference.

The Solution: How to get a Refund

Next step- call Hotwire. I get another customer service agent. Instead of giving a sob story, I go staring into the information.

I understand it’s hot rates and no cancellation, but I spoke with the hotel and they agreed to cancel my reservation and that Hotwire can call them back for confirmation.

Instead of the usual “my hands are tied” he asks for the name of he representative I spoke with at the hotel and to wait a moment. He then puts me on hold while he calls the hotel.

Five minutes later he says they are going to refund me. Yay! So – in essence the hotrates hotel reservations can be canceled in the event that the hotel agrees to the cancellation and hasn’t received payment from Hotwire.

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I was so relieved. I haven’t tried this again, but I’m hoping I don’t have to. In some cases, I bet the customer service at other hotels might not be so accommodating.