Accommodations, DESTINATIONS, Road Trips, TRAVEL, Travel Planning, United States

Bad Expedia?


I’m a fan of Expedia and have always done most of my booking with them, but on this trip they made me angry. Thankfully, I had added the Expedia app to my phone for this trip, but I was surprised when I got a notification that I was supposed to check-in to The Sportsman Lodge, when I knew I was spending the night in Cambria.


Long story short, I made a mistake. In my defense, trying to coordinate with so many people in so many cities was quite a challenge, but I can’t blame Expedia for my own mistake. I can blame them for having an idiot working for them.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

Another part of the ooops had to do with the fact that I was trying something new.  I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’ve started using Trip Advisor for my research.  I’m all about giving credit where credit is due.  Since Trip Advisor was the primary reason I chose the Fireside Inn, I wanted them to get credit for it.  So I booked the hotel through who had the lowest price with a link right from Trip Advisor.  I saved a few dollars, but not enough to cover booking an extra night in LA.

Had I booked it all at Expedia, I might have seen pretty quickly what I was doing.  In fact, I think I have actually gotten a warning before when I tried to double book myself, but there’s no way for Expedia to know what I did on Booking – and if they did, it would be pretty creepy if they told me about it.


As soon as I realized why I was notified, I immediately started making calls.  I didn’t expect anyone to give me a refund. I know what non-refundable means.  I mean a refund would have been nice.  I’ve been booking with Expedia for years and this was my first ooops, but I know non-refundable means you can’t get a refund.

However, having dumped several hundred dollars into my multi-night stay in LA, I didn’t want the hotel to think I was a no-show and give my room to someone else.  I tried calling The Sportsman Lodge first, but they said I had to discuss it with Expedia.

So I called Expedia.  Of course, I was on Highway One in the middle of nowhere when I got the notification, so phone reception was spotty at best. With Miss English-Is-Not-My-First Language, communication was impossible. I explained my problem to her and when she tried to confirm what was wrong, it sounded like “mmmnnnttptpsnviwpjer.” I said, “I’m having trouble understanding you. I just want to confirm that my room will be available when I get there tomorrow.”  She told me to hold.

After a while the lady gets back on the phone and suddenly I could understand her completely. She started explaining to me what “non-refundable” means.  OK, so I’m already mad at myself, Bill is fit to be tied at the unnecessary expense and I’m not a happy camper. What part of “I don’t expect a refund” did the lady miss out on? She gave me an ultimatum – “Either get to LA tonight or lose your room.”

I tried to reason with her.  I reminded her that I didn’t want a refund.  I  just wanted to be sure the rest of my reservation, which I’d already paid for, would stand.  I distinctly remember her telling me (in a very ticked off manner) that the room would be empty for a night.  Well, DUH!  Of course it would – but I’d rather pay for one night with an empty bed than lose the rest of my money.

My blood pressure was through the roof!  I wanted to reach out and strangle someone.  And then the call dropped.  And for once, I was thrilled.


I called again and got what I considered to be a real person.  I even apologized for how angry I had been at the other lady.  I told the real person the whole sordid tale.  She asked me to hold and then lickety split, she had not only confirmed everything was copacetic, she told me who to talk to at The Sportsman’s Lodge if I ran into any problems.


I’m a little torn.  I admit, I’m falling in love Trip Advisor, but I’ve always done my booking with Expedia.  I’m the loyal sort, but I’m not sure who to be loyal to.  Am I loyal to Trip Advisor, where I have contributed many reviews and earned tons of badges or should I be loyal to Expedia, which is no longer my first love, in spite of the years of traveling we’ve done together.

Obviously, I haven’t figured out the answer yet.  Any suggestions from my friends in the blogosphere?  Putting all that drama aside, come back next week and I’ll tell you how much I liked The Sportsman’s Lodge…when I finally got there.

Accommodations, DESTINATIONS, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL, Travel Planning, United States

Fireside Inn at Moonstone Beach

From the Fireside Inn Website
From the Fireside Inn Website


Well Merry Christmas to everyone.  I hope this is a holiday to remember.  I’ll continue with my travelogue.

Fireside Inn at Moonstone Beach in Cambria is now on my list of favorite bed-and-breakfast inns.  I think you’d like it, too.


Several months back I explained how this trip to California went through several permutations before I actually got to take it.  Though pretty much everything about the trip changed several times over, I guarded my night on Moonstone Beach with a vengeance. It was one of those experiences that I’d wanted for a long time and I was determined to keep it on the itinerary.

I wasn’t so sure about the accommodations.  Though I’ve been doing my booking with Expedia for years, recently I’ve begun to do a lot of research on Trip Advisor.  Their reviews seem to resonate with me more than the Expedia crowd’s and I love using the Saved Trips feature for things I want to see while I’m researching.  And of course there’s an app, so I can get to the items I’ve saved when I’m out on the road.

There was one small problem with Moonstone Beach.  Every single inn sounded perfect.  Oh, there was usually one or two people who ranted about smelly rooms or noise or something, but those grumps were sprinkled pretty evenly among my choices. Each time I got online I’d change my mind and Bill wasn’t much help either.  Eventually, I chose Fireside Inn, but I have no reasonable explanation for it.  I just had to make a decision, so I did.


It was late afternoon, almost evening, when we arrived and the desk clerk made it seem as if he’d just been dying for us to get there.  He was friendly in a genuine way, not in a corporate mandate way.  He was full of restaurant suggestions and well wishes.  He acted like he hoped we’d have a reason to call him so he could visit with us again.

With that kind of reception you want to like your room and we did.  It was huge and felt more like a suite.  The bathroom had plenty of room for two people and was perfectly appointed.  The room itself was down right luxurious.  Not in an expensive over the top sort of way, but it made me want to curl up on the sofa in front of the fire.

Speaking of the fireplace, it didn’t work at first, but when I called my friend at the desk he hurried over and jiggled whatever needed to be jiggled.  The flame lit right up.  My desk clerk fan explained that it would be safe to sleep with the fire going, so we did.


Right next door to the Fireside Inn is the Moonstone Bar and Grill.  My desk clerk friend endorsed it as a great place for dinner.  I remembered having at least one meal there and reviewers had raved about it, so that’s where we had dinner.

The place was jammed and it had been redecorated since our last visit.  The menu had also been completely revamped.  We were looking to grab a bite and they wanted us to go the full monty.  We were tired from driving all day and the noise level was extreme.

So it was not our favorite dining experience of the trip, but I think that had more to do with us than them.  The last meal we had there was earlier in the day, so we got to enjoy the view out of the big picture windows overlooking Moonstone Beach.  I’m thinking this is a “go-there-for-lunch” place – at least for us.


So after dinner we chilled out by the fire.  My only regret about the Fireside Inn is that I only had one night there.  I think it deserves at least a three night stay.  I lounged on the sofa before the fire jotting down notes from the day.  Notes which, by the way, are now packed away in some box while I’m waiting for my house to get finished.  I’m writing this from memory rather than my copious notes.

One thing I wanted to be sure everyone understood.  This is a casual seaside inn.  For me this was a plus – and the rooms are out of this world.  However, this is not the Taj Mahal.  There’s nothing fancy about the exterior or the hallways.  There’s nothing wrong with them either.  The lobby is pleasant, but not opulent  It’s clear everything is meticulously maintained, but there are no frills.  They save the good things for the room and have extreme hospitality instead of Louis XVI antiques.


We woke up refreshed with the fire still blazing.  It was one of those memories that sticks with you long after you’ve forgotten what you ate at that expensive restaurant.  We got ready for another day on the road and wandered over to the breakfast room.

What a nice experience!  Breakfast was served buffet style, so you could get whatever you wanted.  They didn’t have anyone cooking fresh eggs and such, but they did have a fresh pancake machine.  I thought that was cool, because most places have a waffle machine.  I ate with a growing appetite and everything was delicious.

The room itself is next to the pool and the day was warm enough for them to have the french doors open.  Crisp linens covered the tables and I liked the ladderback chairs.  Everything felt comfortable and homey.  Did I mention the food was delicious?

We climbed in our car and continued down Highway One, exiting at Morro Bay.  We were about to wander down memory lane.  Come back next week and wander with us.

DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, International, Road Trips, TRAVEL, Travel Planning, United States

Expedia, American Airlines and Me

Last week was great. I started my blog, heard Target had lower prices than Wal-Mart and found a great bag at Chico’s – but the really good news was American Airlines divorced Expedia.  These two have been fighting since December, but an American Airlines radio ad alerted me I must go to or Kayak to get American Airlines tickets.  I won’t be going there.  I’m definitely on Expedia’s side.

This will be bad news to Expedia Victim – a nice guy who follows me on Twitter.  He’s apparently had a bad time with Expedia and I’m very sorry about that.  I’d love to commiserate with him, but the problem is, Expedia has been very, very good to me.  Whatever gearhead wrote the logic for their site understood me.  I can always find what I want and if I go away and come back another day, I can find it again.  Buying stuff is easy.  I understand what the word “non-refundable” means.  They send me nice emails, but don’t bother me with spam.  We have a great relationship.  From time to time friends and family convince me to go check out the latest, the greatest or the cheapest, but I always end up back at Expedia.  I don’t like bidding, and I don’t like playing hide and seek, but I like cheap prices, easy.

I don’t feel the same way about American Airlines.  To me, American is sort of the bully of the airport, because I can’t go from A to B without having to deal with them – but I didn’t always feel that way.


As a Dallasite, who’s lived here since the days Love Field was THE airport, I grew up thinking all planes had either Southwest or Braniff on the side.  Nonetheless, we were all very excited when DFW was built and American Airlines came to town.  Then I started flying on American, but soon I felt that  ‘doing what they did best’ meant making my travel experience as miserable as possible.  They gave me rotten seats, lost my luggage and made me late – a lot.  They probably don’t care, because I’ve never racked up enough frequent flyer miles to matter to them, but when I do fly, I hate it when the only reasonable way to get where I’m going is on an American flight.


I won’t pretend American is the only airlines that knows how to ruin an itinerary, but I was living on the Central Coast of California when I decided American was a bully.  A teeny tiny little airline started a route between Love Field and LAX.  I had to drive four hours to get to LAX, but I’d do it to fly Legend Airlines, because Legend was the only airline flying into Love Field (besides Southwest, which is not part of this story).  My elderly parents were scared to death of DFW.  Whether they were flying to me, putting my little sister on a plane or coming to pick me up, they felt at home at Love Field.

Legend did a lot of things right, but their schtick was flying planes small enough to bypass the Wright Amendment.  However, teeny tiny little Legend bugged great big American.  It’s not like Legend was going to put American out of business or anything.  Still, American hammered them in the courtrooms of America.  As soon as one judge upheld Legend’s right to fly, American would go file another case.  Then American reconfigured a fleet of planes so they could fly out of Love Field, too, and set off a price war in which no teeny tiny airline could compete.  But did the giant go after Legend so American could serve passengers who wanted to fly out of Love?  No – when American won it shut down its Love Field operations.

That’s when I began going out of my way to avoid flying American and that’s why I’m cheering for Expedia.  American may not remember Legend Airlines, but I do.  Do you?

UPDATE: January 1, 2015 – A lot has changed since 2011.  The Wright Amendment has expired, American Airlines made up with Expedia and Southwest Airlines can fly anywhere it wants to.  Some things haven’t changed.  I still avoid American Airlines and I still love Expedia, but I also love Trip Advisor these days.