‘I paid a £4,000 deposit for a trek in South Africa – then our tour went bankrupt’ | Travel


✉ In March last year I booked a guided hike in South Africa with a local company as a birthday present and paid a deposit of around £4000 using a Visa debit card from the Revolut banking app. I was supposed to travel in February, but about a week before our trip the company announced that they were going out of business and would try to refund my funds. nothing has been announced. I tried a chargeback through Revolut, but it told me I was outside the “chargeback period”. I understood that Visa links this period to the date of the event (like if a concert or football match was canceled and paid for months before) and I made my claim in early March, therefore within four weeks of the canceled event. I have exhausted all avenues with Revolut, including a formal complaint, and I hope you can help me get my deposit back. Instead of being a much-needed celebration, it’s been an expensive nightmare.
Robert McNeilly

You are quite right. Chargeback claims must be made within 120 days of the “agreed delivery date” of the event or holiday, not the date you paid. Unfortunately it looks like your original request didn’t register with Revolut’s system and when you contacted the company in August for an update you were asked to re-apply which of course was too late according to Visa rules. After my intervention, Revolt refunded your deposit and paid you £300 in compensation for “the inconvenience caused”.

A lion in the Kalahari desert, South Africa


✉ We would like to take my mother-in-law for a short trip during the February semester. She has been ill and will therefore need to stay in an accessible location within easy reach (maximum 90 minutes) of Liverpool. We are looking for self catering accommodation, with three bedrooms, and maybe a bit of history or culture, or just something that is a bit of a treat, that doesn’t require a lot of walking. Ideally we don’t want to pay more than £250 a night. What would you suggest?
Deborah Kay

Set your GPS for North Wales, which is a short drive from Liverpool and has plenty of cozy cottages in your price range. Cwm Heulog is a bungalow on a working sheep farm between Llanrwst and Abergele, home to Gwrych Castle, which hosted the 2020 series of I am a celebrity. . . get me out of here. It sleeps six people in three bedrooms, there are views over the valley from the veranda and three nights from February 14 would cost £455 (sykescottages.co.uk). Or try the traditionally decorated Pen y Banc, tucked away in the hamlet of Sarnau near the market town of Bala, which has just been revamped with a downstairs bedroom with walk-in shower plus two bedrooms upstairs. ‘stage. Three nights in February cost £420 (carolscottagesinwales.co.uk).

Kanana, Botswana

✉ My wife and I want to travel to Botswana but we can only go between December and February. Is it a problem? I know it is the rainy season, the Okavango Delta will be flooded and there will be mosquitoes, but some say this is the best time to visit as the scenery is spectacular. Can you advise?
Richard Scott

These are Botswana’s wettest months, with regular thunderstorms, but Chris McIntyre, managing director of Expert Africa and author of Bradt’s Botswana travel guides, says there’s plenty to captivate visitors at this time of year. year. “On a clear day, from December to February, the delta is most triumphant: lush, verdant vegetation; crystal-clear, dust-free air; and life usually bursts at the seams. Yes, there are definitely more insects during this time – but that also means plenty of food in the range for amphibians, reptiles and birds, most of which are in full breeding plumage.

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He suggests going in early December, when the birds are raising chicks, and attractions such as the great heronries of Gcodikwe and Kanana will be in full swing, with thousands of breeding storks and herons piling on tree-lined islands in the middle of a large lagoon. Heronry visits are part of Expert Africa’s seven-night Ground Squirrel Safari, which is split between a private guided mobile safari and Kanana, a permanent safari camp on the edge of the Okavango Delta waterways, where you can explore on foot, by boat and canoe, as well as by walk. The trip costs from £5,370 pp full board, including most drinks, all game activities, park fees and transfers. Flights to Gabarone start at around £800 (expertafrica.com).

✉ My husband and I have booked a vacation to Crete for next summer, with a Chania airport car rental booked through CarTrawler on the easyJet website. I will be the driver and will still have a paper license — do I need to get a photo license? Alamo, the car rental company, insists that I need an International Driving Permit (IDP), but according to gov.uk I don’t need it to drive in Greece. I emailed easyJet, CarTrawler and Alamo to find out which of the three types of IDP they would like me to have, but to no avail. I obviously don’t want to arrive in Chania and find that we can’t have the car, but I don’t know where to turn next. Can you solve this mystery?
Frances Hancock

I’m not surprised you’re worried, but although rental car companies generally prefer to see a photo license, Alamo told me that their office in Crete has confirmed that your paper license can be used and that no IDP is not required. You will have your passport with you which will of course have photo ID. And I would suggest that you purchase an excess insurance policy ahead of time so you can fend off Alamo’s attempts to sell you more expensive coverage at the rental counter. An annual policy from iCarhireinsurance costs £49.99 (icarhireinsurance.com).

Seljalandsfoss waterfall at dusk, Iceland

Seljalandsfoss waterfall at dusk, Iceland


✉ We are looking for a break of seven to ten days next March to celebrate our anniversary. We would like to fly from Glasgow if possible and our budget is around £5000. We were considering Iceland, but it was difficult to find quality accommodation. What can you suggest?
Ann Marie Muirhead

Iceland has some wonderful boutique hotels, and four of them feature in Discover the World’s Iceland Connoisseur seven-night flight around the south and west of the island. They include the Northern Light Inn (a 20-minute drive from Reykjavik Airport and within walking distance of the Blue Lagoon), where it’s all about looking out over the lava landscape and there’s an observation lounge at 360 degrees to observe the aurora. The secluded Husafell Hotel is self-contained and powered by hot springs. Walking behind the spectacular Seljalandsfoss waterfall, snowmobiling the Myrdalsjokull icecap, and peeking at Snorri’s Pool, a preserved hot tub dating back to the Middle Ages, are possibilities along the way. The trip starts at £1,012 per person, including flights from Glasgow, car hire and B&B (discover-the-world.com).

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