Tag: USA

My first (and last?!) experience with Airbnb

Remember earlier this year when I shared my travel plans for 2019? Including my first foray into Airbnb for a trip to New York in September?

Yeah, that’s not happening anymore.

Last Saturday, with no explanation, I received an email from Airbnb to tell me my 6 night reservation at an apartment in Greenwich Village had been cancelled, and I’d be receiving a refund for monies paid so far.

Say what?

Surely there’s been a mistake?

My first thought was that there must have been some mistake. I sent a message to the host asking him why I’d received the cancellation notice.

Nothing.

I sent a Twitter DM to Airbnb asking if they could help. They checked my personal details and the reservation and confirmed that yes, it was cancelled. Had I contacted the host? (well yeah, duh). In which case they would get a “dedicated case manager” from a “specialised team” to get in touch with me.

In the meantime I obviously started looking for alternative accommodation. We knew when we booked the ill fated apartment that it was incredibly good value for a stay in New York so, unsurprisingly, there was little out there in a similar price range. Hotels were coming up at £600 more than the Airbnb, and there were no other Airbnb apartments in the location we wanted.

Side note – New York accommodation is bonkersly expensive. £200 a night to sleep in a bunk bed with a shared bathroom? Daylight robbery!

Airbnb, while polite, were annoyingly hands off in terms of taking any responsibility. Their response when I asked for some compensation to cover the additional costs of rebooking was “Airbnb is a third party platform that bridges the gap between hosts and guests, and we do not offer compensation when a guest has to cancel a reservation.”

Screw you New York!

At this point we’d pretty much mentally checked out the trip. I’d been in touch with the airline to see if we could get any refund on the flights (we can get the tax refunded, which means losing about £300 total, which is still cheaper than paying £600+ for a hotel).

Meanwhile, the host had responded to advise that his property needs to undergo renovations and repairs (they mus be pretty major, because it’s still 3 months until our trip, sounds a bit fishy to me), and his reply included lots of exclamation marks and a seemingly non genuine apology, so that pissed me off even more!

Airbnb then offered me a £50 coupon (generous…not) and sent through some suggestions of alternative properties, conceding that the coupon wouldn’t cover the difference in cost but it would help. This was then upped to a groundbreaking £75. The apartments were an extra £300. You do the maths.

To cut a long story short…

We decided that one of the suggested apartments might be ok. Wouldn’t have been our first choice, but was better than nothing. And then we went to look into booking it and THE LISTING HAD DISAPPEARED!!!!

What fresh absolute fuckery! Airbnb’s response this time around “if you cannot access the listing then I would assume that it has been removed by the host. We do not have the option to check any further.”

Any last shred of wanting to use them evaporated there and then. Absolutely no faith whatsoever that we wouldn’t end up in the same situation all over again closer to our departure date.

Although I don’t want to use them again, I do now have £75 credit to use within a year! Which means that I inevitably will use them again. Next time will be for a UK stay only where there are no massive repercussions if it does get cancelled, and no flights or travel plans to pay for.

I’ve since heard cancellation stories from 4 different people, which I wish I’d known in advance of the original booking. I had no idea that Airbnb take no responsibility for cancelled bookings. When a host cancels they get charged a 50 dollar “fine” and can’t relist on the Airbnb site during that time period. But if you’ve managed to let your space for more money elsewhere then 50 bucks isn’t going to cause you any heartache.

I’m sure there are way more success stories than negatives out there, but that’s it for me!

Have you ever used Airbnb? Let me know your experiences.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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Another mass shooting in America…

What can you say, apart from CHANGE YOUR FUCKING GUN LAWS!!

It’s not difficult to see the correlation between the ease of access to firearms and the number of people killed or injured through shootings.

Las Vegas shooting

The hypocrisy when compared to the treatment of Muslims entering America is staggering.

“We think that there are a small handful of Muslims who might be terrorists, so we should ban people from Muslim countries coming to America”

“Yes a few people have gone on shooting sprees with guns, but we can’t tar every gun owner with the same brush”

People in the Trump administration saying a tragedy isn’t the right time to be talking about policies must be on drugs. It’s exactly the right time. Cause and effect – the spotlight is on the cause right now; how much of a bigger spotlight do you need?

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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When you’re not even surprised anymore…

Donald Trump. Wow. But is it really wow? Or is it just that he’s so low, so disgusting as a human, so unsuitable as a president that nothing surprises me anymore?

ICYMI: In response to clashes between white supremacists and non racist normal good human beings, Trump has said there were bad people on both sides. That’s right, he’s refusing to condemn the alt-right for their behaviour or actions.

Probably because he needs their vote, and he not so secretly thinks like them too.

It’s too awful to comprehend that the leader of the most powerful country in the world isn’t denouncing out and out racism. He’s basically opening the floodgates for groups with this despicable mindset to freely spout their vitriol without recrimination.

Side note, I also read that there are plans in Texas to introduce what’s being called a “rape tax”. Basically, standard healthcare costs won’t cover abortions, even in cases of rape, so women need to add an additional monthly cost to cover that eventuality. Yup, that’s right, the boneheads that run the state of Texas want women to futureproof themselves from the possibility of having to have a rapist’s baby by paying monthly for the privilege.

You couldn’t write this shit.

So, how is Donald Trump still in power? I’ve asked it before, but I’ll ask it again. When is someone going to realise that he’s breaking America apart, putting divisions in place that will take years to reverse and having a potentially damaging effect on the rest of the world too?

I’ll leave you with a joke, sourced from Twitter. It’s funny, in a really painful way.

Twitter Donald Trump joke

Thanks, as always for reading! x

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Lies, damn lies and politics – Donald Trump is at it again

Donald Trump, 2016 election campaign: “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you…”

Donald Trump, July 2017: “…the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. [It] cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

I mean, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a politician told lies to get elected, but this is a pretty huge deal and a downright disgrace.

It’s difficult to tell, these days, whether Trump:

a) realises he’s out of his depth and is making wild decisions in the hope that he’ll get impeached

b) hates Obama so much that he’s just trying to repeal as much as possible that was passed under his Presidency

c) really is just an absolutely bonkers, narcissistic misogynist who hates anyone that isn’t like him, and belongs back in the dark ages

I could go on and on about why this is a bad decision. About how transgender people have as much right to serve in the military as people born in their correct gender. About how the training and selection process to get admitted to the military is so tough that what really counts is your physical and mental strength and resilience. About how I’m sure Trump wouldn’t care about the gender orientation of any member of the military were they protecting him from an assassination attempt (how come no-one’s tried that yet, by the way?)

I could point out that transgender people aren’t a burden to anyone; that the burden they carry is being born in the wrong body and that they’re more of a danger to themselves if they have to stay in that body, and more of an asset to society if they can be who they truly are. I could point out that anyone who has the heart and soul to defend their country and put their life on the line should be welcomed with open arms, regardless of what is or isn’t between their legs or on their birth certificate. I could point out that this is 2017 and America is supposed to be a progressive country, as well as being the land of the free.

But I won’t. Because most sane and rational people know that, right? And if you’re reading this blog you too must be a sane and rational person! 😉

I’ll just leave you with this, from Twitter, instead.

James Corden tweet

Which I thought was so brilliant in it’s delivery, as well as being so powerful coming from a celebrity with a lot of followers and therefore a degree of influence (not enough influence to topple the hairy tangerine, unfortunately).

Bravo James Corden, bravo. And a big fat raspberry to President Fart, followed up with a punch on the nose.

Transgender people – know that many of us in the world stand with you, and we admire your strength against adversity; today and everyday.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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Trump, the woman hater

I wasn’t going to say anything about this, really I wasn’t; I think I’ve made my stance about my feelings for the President perfectly clear, along with my feelings about abortion and women’s reproductive health.

So you don’t need to hear me rant on about it again.

But I need to acknowledge what that orange fuckwit has done, in the company of other people who don’t own a vagina, to set back women’s rights and women’s health in the whole world, not just on his own doorstep.

trump-signing-abortion-legislation

Aside from the fact that there is nothing wrong with birth control even if you use it purely to avoid pregnancy, what about women who use it for non contraceptive reasons? Women with acne, or endometriosis, or hormone imbalances?

Why and how and why again does Trump think he has the right to fuck about with women’s lives? It’s not like he doesn’t have younger women in his life. He has a much younger wife, and he’s already expressed his attraction to his own daughter (shudder) so he’s not out of touch with women. What on earth could possess him to do this?

And people are still asking why women outside of the US were “bothering to get involved in pointless Women’s Marches”?

This. This is why. Because Trump is already verging into dictator territory, already publicly displaying his contempt for women, and already using his position of power to further his own personal beliefs.

And that’s a danger to women across the globe.

To finish on a lighter note, this was the best placard I saw from one of the UK marches at the weekend.

president-fart

President Fart. President Hot Air. President. President Noisy and Embarrassing. So there.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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5 things that annoy me about Black Friday

Obviously I’m not averse to money off deals, because that would be really stupid, but I’m so sick of hearing about Black Friday!

black-friday

Here’s why:

  1. The clue’s in the name. Friday. If you’re still advertising Black Friday deals the following Tuesday, you clearly don’t understand the Gregorian calendar. The same goes for pre-Black Friday deals. If you’re doing them early then it’s just a sale.
  2. It’s a US tradition (and has been since 1952, according to Wikipedia) that the UK has latched on to, seemingly just for the hell of it, to keep up with our American cousins. Stores can’t just have a pre-Christmas sale now, it has to be a Black Friday discount. Why?
  3. A lot of the Black Friday deals really aren’t all that. Surely the idea is to issue a massive discount on products that is only available once a year? Not 20% off and free delivery from High Street stores, who regularly issue discount codes and sale offers. Make it 30% plus and it might look attractive and different to you usual discounts
  4. It creates a furor of activity, anger and rudeness in stores, as people fight over a new TV (that they probably don’t need) or trample each other to get to cheap Christmas toys for their kids
  5. It’s now spawning other stupid and pretend days, like Cyber Monday! Which is fine, if it was just cyber deals, but I’ve had emails from clothes shops advertising Cyber Monday deals too. Stop jumping on the bloody bandwagon!

Although I’d love to see any Black Friday bargains you guys have bought, let me know!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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I feel partly to blame…

Last time I was out of the country, Boris Johnson was announced as the new foreign minister in the UK.

This time, while I was in Fuerteventura, the orange buffoon has done the unimaginable and managed to get himself elected as US President.

donald-trump-and-boris-johnson

I’m going to Malaysia in April, so I can only apologise in advance for what might happen…

On a serious note, what the actual fuck? Just, how? It’s alarming to think there are so many people in the US who agree with a misogynistic, racist, homophobic bully. Or that there are people who voted for Trump because they don’t like Clinton. That’s not a good reason for voting, people!

I can only hope that the powers behind the President, the people who really run the country, can keep him and his crazy ideas in check. I can imagine the US feels like a very foreign land for a good portion of society right now, and feeling like an outcast in a place that you call home is not a good way to have to live.

I’d love to know your thoughts, drop me a comment!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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