There is growing concern around the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), and the entire travel industry is experiencing an unprecedented increase in service requests as travellers look to adjust their trips. These can be confusing and stressful moments, and we understand your need for timely answers and assistance.
Please know our teams are working incredibly hard right now to make trip changes and cancellations as simple as possible. While we are adjusting our operations and policies, we do ask for your patience. Right now, we are focused on customers with travel in the next 72 hours. If your travel is not immediate, please visit our Customer Service Portal that includes online tools to help you change or cancel travel plans yourself.
Important message for customers with an upcoming trip
Here’s what you need to know if you booked a hotel on Expedia (non-package/bundle):
- For customers who booked a non-refundable rate prior to March 19, 2020 for stays between March 20, 2020, and April 30, 2020, we will email you in the coming days to ask if you wish to keep or cancel your existing booking. If you decide to cancel, you will be eligible for a full refund or, in some cases, a voucher allowing you to rebook the original property at later dates. There is no need to call us, however you must cancel your booking at least 24-hours before check-in in order to be eligible for this offer.
- For customers who booked a non-refundable rate for stays after April 30, 2020, with the situation continuing to evolve, we will continue to work with travel partners as necessary to implement flexible policies.
- For customers whose accommodation plans have already been impaired by COVID-19 and whose travel date has passed, we want to assure you that we are working to attend to your needs as well. We appreciate your patience.
- For customers who have booked a refundable rate, please visit our Customer Service Portal to change or cancel.
Here’s what you need to know if you booked a flight on Expedia (non-package/bundle):
- For customers with a flight booking, we will email you in the coming days to ask if you wish to keep or cancel your existing booking. Terms and conditions for credits of each specific carrier will apply.
- For customers whose flights have already been impaired by COVID-19 and whose travel date has passed, we want to assure you that we are working with our partners to attend to your needs.
- If your airline has canceled your flight, we are working through those bookings with our airline partners to issue credits where applicable and will be in touch —there is no need to call.
Here’s what you need to know if you booked a package/bundle on Expedia:
- We want to assure you that we are working to assess the needs of customers who booked a package/bundle and will provide guidance as soon as we can. We appreciate your patience.
Changing or canceling your trip online or through the Expedia app
In these critical moments, we ask that travellers who do not have trips starting within the next 3 days use the self-service tools in our Customer Support Portal and wait to call us. Here’s how to manage your own itinerary online or through the app:
- Login to your account online or through the Expedia mobile app to cancel or change travel plans. Use the “Change” or “Cancel” buttons in your itinerary for details. Upcoming trips can be found under “Trips” or “Manage Trips”.
- Travellers with tickets on eligible airlines or reservations at eligible hotels can submit online cancellation forms to receive credit for a future flight or a full hotel refund. Check the Expedia Customer Support Portal for latest guidance before submitting. Note: If you have already submitted a request, you do not need to call us for a status update.
- Due to the unprecedented volume of travel disruptions, refunds may take up to 30 days to process.
We understand you might have questions, but this will help us focus on customers with more imminent travel. Please know that policies are changing rapidly and are at the discretion of hotel and airline partners. If you aren’t seeing a flex policy for your specific booking, sit tight because updates are frequently posted on Expedia.
General tips for travellers who still need or want to travel despite COVID-19
As the current situation continues to evolve, travellers should try to adhere to the guidance from government and public health officials to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The Australian government has also advised Australians to avoid non-essential travel both internationally and domestically.
Of course, traveller safety is the most important thing so ultimately, it’s up to you to determine what’s best for you and your family.
- Stay informed. As a first step in planning any trip, check the latest travel advisories for your intended destination. As the situation continues to evolve, airlines may cancel or reschedule flights, we recommend travellers to regularly check updates and carefully review the fine print before booking any travel.
- Check your local airport to find out if there is specific travel advice for passengers. Depending on your departure or arrival airport, there may be additional security checks so allow yourself plenty of time to get checked in and to your gate.
- Book refundable hotels for any trips you are planning. Many hotels on Expedia offer free cancellation, and we’ve made it easy to find refundable hotels vs. non-refundable options. Use the “free cancellation” payment type filter to easily find options within your travel window and price point. Prices can vary, but right now we believe that flexibility matters.
- Check the fine print. Remember to check the fine print, especially when purchasing flights. Depending on what type of fare you choose, changes may either not be an option or could potentially incur a hefty fee. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of your ticket before making any purchases.
- If you’re travelling for an event, double check to see if it’s been postponed or cancelled.
More Customer Resources
- For the most up-to-date traveller advisories and information on cancellations and refunds from Expedia, visit the Customer Service Portal.
- For answers to some of the most asked COVID-19 traveller questions including steps you should take to plan future trips, visit the Expedia FAQ page.
The post What you should know if you’re changing or cancelling a trip due to COVID-19 appeared first on Expedia Australia Travel Blog.
Source: Expedia Australia Travel Blog | 27 Mar 2020 | 2:45 amLow rate, no booking fee, 17,000 hotels, 30,000 destinations.
When was the last time you went skiing? Were there heated walkways, free bubbles, hot toddies, hot tubs, and roaring fireplaces? We didn’t think so. If you haven’t been to Northstar California Resort, in North Lake Tahoe, you haven’t done skiing right. Here’s 10 reasons why this North American ski resort will take your winter holiday up a notch.
1. Close and convenient
Ok so close and convenient might be how we’d describe an Australian ski resort, but if you’ve committed to a long haul snow holiday, North Lake Tahoe might surprise you. Fly direct from Australia into San Francisco, grab a 4 wheel drive and take a four hour cruisy drive straight to Northstar’s front door on the north western edge of Lake Tahoe.
2. Village vibe
Northstar has some serious charm offensive. Perched at an elevation of 1,900m, the pedestrian-only village is straight out of the North Pole. A picture perfect ice rink sits at its heart, surrounded by streets strung with fairy lights, dotted with pine trees and lined with cute boutiques.
3. Mountain magic
It doesn’t get any better than a bluebird day at Northstar. Image by Lisa Perkovic
Northstar is home to more than 1,200 hectares of skiable terrain – much of it well groomed and designed for beginners through to intermediates. Dare devils can duck off into the trees and black diamonds to get their adrenalin fix, but the real joy is to be found on rolling blue runs – cruise down West Ridge, along Luggis and then all the way back down to the village on easy greens.
4. Töst time
A very special spot for a toast. Image by Lisa Perkovic
Everyday at 2pm is Töst Time at Northstar. Each day at the top of East Ridge a champagne bar, music and bean bags pop up so you can raise a toast to the mountain. Simply bring your ID, grab a free sparkling wine and sip your ice cold bubbles before the last few runs of the day.
Forget happy hour, 5pm is truly the happy hour down at Northstar village. Chefs bearing trays of bite sized s’mores will stroll around the ice rink handing out the traditional American campfire treat. If you want to make your own, grab a DIY kit from the Rink bar and toast your marshmallows at the open air fire pits.
6. Kid friendly
If you have little ones in tow, you’ll love the set up at Northstar. Nifty wagons are set up around the village each day – free to use and return. Pop the kids and their gear into a wagon, pull them over to the gondola, unload and get ready to start your family adventure.
7. Fine dining
Fine dining, mountain style. Image by The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe
Fine dining takes on new meaning when you dine at The Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe. Rug up and ride the gondola up from the village, where the luxury hotel sits snug like a snow castle surrounded by snow covered pine trees. The hotel’s award winning Manzanita restaurant is famous for mountain fare – try crispy fried Brussels sprouts, rack of lamb with barley and date and decadent dark chocolate mousse. Make sure you peruse the extensive local Californian wine selection.
8. Luxe lodges
Staying ski in ski out is never cheap, but at Northstar you don’t have to blow the budget to seriously spoil yourself. The village is filled with privately owned condominiums – serviced apartments – which are rented out through accommodation groups like Tahoe Mountain Lodging. That means each will be slightly different, but it also means they’re well maintained and often more luxe than your average apartment. Expect high ceilings, full sized kitchens, big beds, electric fireplaces and hot tubs.
9. Après ski
What is a trip to the snow without après hour? Kick things off with 2pm töst on the mountain, before heading back to the village to grab a few Moscow Mules in front of the open air fire pits at the Rink Bar. Grab some skates and try a few spins under the stars – throw in live music and you have hours of fun. Once the sun sets, make your way to one of the TC’s Taphouse for fireside all American dishes and beers by the fire.
10. Beyond the snow
When you’re off the snow, the village has spas, shops and restaurants to keep you busy. It would be easy to stay in the village, but don’t forget you can’t go to Lake Tahoe without seeing the lake itself. That sounds like an obvious statement, but it would be easy to drive straight into a resort without even catching a glimpse of the mighty lake. Take a twenty minute detour down to the shore to peer out across North America’s largest alpine lake – home to almost 40 trillion gallons of water. On a blue bird day, keep your eyes peeled on the mountain for glimpses of the lake from the runs.
Spa time – an essential post-ski activity! Image by Chris Cypert and Northstar California Resort
Whether you want to wine and dine or do every run on the mountain, Northstar California is a winter wonderland that won’t disappoint.
Source: Expedia Australia Travel Blog | 13 Mar 2020 | 5:54 pmLow rate, no booking fee, 17,000 hotels, 30,000 destinations.
Boasting warm, sunny weather year-round, excellent food and wine and a wide array of things to see and do, Lisbon is quickly becoming a hot European travel destination. If you only have a weekend for your trip, take a look at this travel itinerary and ideas for spending 2 or 3 days in Lisbon and experiencing the highlights of the city. Each day highlights a different way to see one of Europe’s most vibrant capitals.
When you arrive on Friday, you’ll have 72 hours in Lisbon. After settling in to your hotel, head to Feitoria for traditional Portuguese foods like fish and seafood from the coast in a contemporary setting. After dinner, you can head to Tasca do Chico to experience Lisbon’s musical soul with wine and singing. If you want to dance, Jardim de Lisboa Antiga has Brazilian dance parties that last until midnight.
Many of Lisbon’s neighbourhoods have trendy rooftop bars that give you spectacular views of the city while you sip wine or cocktails, such as Park, a restaurant and bar on top of a parking garage. If you prefer to bar hop, your best options are Bairro Alto, a hilly neighborhood with energetic bars, or Principe Real, a bohemian area with trendy cocktail bars and tapas restaurants. You could also book a moonlit tour to see Lisbon’s most popular landmarks illuminated at night.
On Saturday morning, you’ll have 48 hours remaining in Lisbon. Have breakfast at Heim Cafe, a delicious restaurant in the Santos neighbourhood that serves innovative egg dishes with salad, fruit, yogurt, and waffles or pancakes.
After eating, you can spend some time strolling through the city to see some of its famous landmarks, such as the imposing Belém Tower medieval defence fortification and the Jerónimos Monastery. There’s also Castelo de S. Jorge, a hilltop Moorish castle and palace ruins.
If you’re bringing the kids, you could visit Oceanario de Lisboa, a waterside aquarium with ocean ecosystems. The aquarium has many beautiful marine species, including seahorses, sharks, rays, starfish, corals, octopus, sea urchins, jellyfish, barracudas and eels. There’s also a vast collection of birds, such as seagulls and penguins.
For lunch, stop in Coelho da Rocha for traditional Portuguese cuisine and small plates and entrees, such as battered and fried John Dory fillets and partridge pie.
Saturday Afternoon and Evening
After lunch, visit the Carmo Convent, a medieval convent that was ruined during the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. It’s now home to a unique archaeological museum with artefacts spanning all periods of Portuguese history, including architectural relics. Some of its notable exhibits include a group of gothic tombs with elaborate decoration, a statue of a 12th-century king, Moorish azulejos (ceramic tiles) and artefacts from the Visigoth period.
On Saturday night in Lisbon, you can take part in some of the city’s best nightlife. Start with dinner at O Galito, an elegant restaurant that merges traditional soul food with Mediterranean flavours, complete with some of the best wine in the region.
After dinner, head to Lisbon’s former ‘red-light district’, which is now Pink Street. Locally known as Rua Cor-de-Rosa, the street has been redesigned with bars and clubs, all painted pink. You could find a range of unique venues, such as the Europa dance club, MusicBox and Pensão Amor, a bar in a former brothel.
On Sunday morning in Lisbon, you’ll have 24 hours left for sightseeing. Start with breakfast at Fauna and Flora, a vegan restaurant with smoothie bowls, pancakes, toast and decor that features lush plants and succulents.
After breakfast, take some time to see Lisbon’s notable landmarks, such as the 12th-century Lisbon Cathedral and its unique Latin cross shape and the National Sanctuary of Christ the King, a monument and shrine overlooking the city.
You could also see Ponte 25 de Abril, a massive suspension bridge with views of the city. You’ll also like the National Museum of the Azulejo, a museum within an opulent church that holds a massive collection of ceramic artefacts, and the National Pantheon, a 17th-century church that’s home to celebrity tombs.
For lunch, indulge a little with a meal at Varanda, a diverse restaurant with a full menu, an all-you-can-eat buffet and a tranquil view of Eduardo VII Park.
National Museum of the Azulejo
Sunday Afternoon and Evening
After lunch, you could work off your meal with a walk around Eduardo VII Park. The beautiful green space has formal gardens and elaborate landscaping with walking paths for a tranquil afternoon in nature. The Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, a museum with a global art collection from a private collector, is another great place to spend the afternoon.
On Sunday night in Lisbon, you can take in any experiences you may have missed. Start with dinner at Attla Restaurante, a modern restaurant with an easygoing atmosphere and seasonal dishes inspired by travels, such as coglioni sausage with Thai spice and Basque cod with garlic sauce.
Before you head home, you can party for one last night in one of Lisbon’s unforgettable nightclubs. There are many to choose from, including Lux Frágile, a legendary club inside a former warehouse with a rooftop bar, the waterfront K Urban Beach Club, and Barrio Latino with its African and Latin music.
Ready for your trip?
Now that you have some ideas and a recommended itinerary for a fun-filled weekend in Lisbon, it’s time to get ready for your trip. Take a look at deals on Lisbon hotels on Expedia to save on your trip!
Source: Expedia Australia Travel Blog | 10 Mar 2020 | 7:06 pmLow rate, no booking fee, 17,000 hotels, 30,000 destinations.
From Big Ben and Buckingham Palace to the British Museum and the London Eye, London is filled with world-class attractions that are sure to give you a memorable experience. If you want to bring home something more than photographs to remember your trip, plenty of unique souvenirs can be found in shopping areas throughout the city. Here are the top things to buy in London for yourself or friends and family.
An umbrella from James Smith & Sons
James Smith & Sons is a historic shop that opened in 1830 that sells only umbrellas and walking sticks. Located near Tottenham Court Road and Holburn Stations, the shop features its original Victorian shop front and sells umbrellas made on site, which are a staple for Londoners due to the many rainy days. Bringing home an umbrella or walking stick is a great way to remember your time in London, especially if you make use of them while you’re there.
Houses of Parliament memorabilia
For branded souvenirs, there’s no better place than the Houses of Parliament shop. You can find a range of gifts marked with the stamp of the government, such as playing cards, flasks, pens, toys, notebooks, cufflinks, tiles, watches, jewellery, and more. The shop is conveniently located near Westminster Station, so it’s easy to stop in and grab a few gifts before returning home.
A hat from Lock & Co.
Lock & Co. is the oldest hat shop in the world. It was established in 1786 and boasts a range of hats and celebrity visitors, including Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde, and Charlie Chaplin. They also created the first bowler hat ever in 1849. If you bring home a hat from Lock & Co., you’re bringing home a stylish piece of U.K. history.
A toy theatre from Benjamin Pollock’s toy shop
Benjamin Pollock’s toy shop is one of the few remaining toy shops in the West End. Specialising in toy theatres and shadow boxes, you can find all types of unique and nostalgic toys to bring home as unique souvenirs by shopping at Benjamin Pollock’s. There’s also a range of other toys, books and games, so you can pick up gifts appropriate for children of all ages.
Tea from Whittard and Twinings
Tea is ingrained in British culture, so what better souvenir to bring home with you? You can find Whittard and Twinings shops all over London for traditional Earl Grey or flavoured teas pre-packaged to take home, as well as teapots and hampers. If tea isn’t to your taste, you could also pick up coffee or cocoa that’s more to your liking.
Harry Potter souvenirs
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, a visit to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour and Platform 9 3/4 is a must-see on a trip to London. After sightseeing, you can visit the gift shop for exclusive Harry Potter-themed merchandise like plush toys, tee shirts, jewellery and a personalised Hogwarts acceptance letter, perfect for yourself or other fans in your family.
London landmark souvenirs
Whether it’s your first time in London or you’ve visited many times, you’re probably going to visit a few of the city’s landmarks during your trip. Places like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the British Museum and the Tower of London all have gift shops with iconic souvenirs, such as tote bags, cufflinks, keychains, miniature statues, and more that are modelled after the landmarks themselves. With so much to choose from, you can bring home a different piece of London culture and history for yourself and your friends and family.
The British Museum
You can find independent gin bars all over London that offer craft spirits you can bring home. One of the best is the City of London Distillery, which serves food and refreshments. You can visit the City of London Distillery to take the Distillery Tour and Gin Tasting Experience, which gives you a background into the craft of producing fine gin. Before you leave, visit the shop on-site to buy some original London gin to take home.
The Beatles are one of the most popular and influential bands in music history, and though they didn’t start in London, you can find their mark throughout the city. Abbey Road is featured on one of their most iconic album covers, and there’s a Beatles Store in London that offers all types of Beatles memorabilia. You can bring home various gifts, from postcards and photographs to original Beatles tour programmes.
Fragrance from Jo Malone’s Regent Street Boutique
Jo Malone shops are found throughout the UK high streets, but the Regent Street boutique offers some unique gifts you can’t find elsewhere. You can get exclusive fragrances, coloured bottle caps, personalised candles with a message, and other fine gifts for yourself or your family and friends back home. You can also pick up favourites from the Archive Collection and Artisan Studio.
Ready for your trip?
With so much to choose from, you can bring home a touch of London history and culture for your friends and family and to remember your trip. When it comes time to plan, take a look at things to do in London and check out London holidays to get ready for the time of your life.
Source: Expedia Australia Travel Blog | 10 Mar 2020 | 6:23 pmLow rate, no booking fee, 17,000 hotels, 30,000 destinations.
California is a vast state and it’s all but impossible to see the whole thing in one go, because there’s so much to see and do, with so many different cultures and surroundings. Check out these travel tips for traveling in California, and some advice to keep in mind on your visit.
Downtown Long Beach
You’ll have connectivity everywhere
Where to find internet connectivity is almost always something to know before you go, and should be included on many lists of travel tips, but in California, it’s not a problem at all. Almost everywhere in the state offers free WiFi, so whether you’re going to an upscale restaurant, dining at a café, or anywhere else, you can anticipate being able to get connected. Keeping in touch with your friends and family, or knowing what’s going on through social media isn’t an issue in California.
You’ll pay for shopping bags
If you have to stop at the store in California, it’s best to bring your own reusable bags. California has passed Prop 67 which eliminated free shopping bags in grocery stores. That means if you stop any store for a few items on your trip, anticipate paying at least 10 cents per bag, or more. If you’re not prepared for this in advance, it will certainly be something you wish you knew before you took your trip.
Beat your credit card fees
One very unique service that’s definitely on your list of what to know before you go is that you can do a fee-free cash advance on credit cards at many places. They do this by ringing up a purchase at more than it actually costs, and paying you the difference in cash. That makes it super easy to have that extra lifeline when you need it, without having to pay the high fees usually associated with cash withdrawals on your card.
Plan for day trips
Unless you’re visiting somewhere like Los Angeles or San Francisco and specifically plan to spend your whole trip there, what to know before you go is that you should plan for day trips. Anticipate spending several hours getting to your destination, whether it’s for a guided tour of the stars’ homes or you’re going to see the redwoods up north. It takes a long time to get anywhere in California because the whole state is a sprawl that stretches nearly 800 miles from south to north.
You’ll want a car
Again, unless you plan to stay in one city for your entire trip (and even then, in some cases), you’ll want to have a car to get from point A to point B and beyond. Since California is so large, a car allows you to get where you need to go in relative freedom, and you’ll want one that’s reliable for long drives. The state is also home of some of the most scenic drives in the world, so don’t bypass the opportunity to take a long drive along a coastal highway.
Check the weather
Because California is such a huge state, the climates change drastically from one place to another. The majority of the state has a Mediterranean climate that stays warm and somewhat moist all year round, but in the extreme south, you can experience subtropical climates that are even hotter, and in the far north and at the highest mountain peaks you’ll even find alpine and polar climates, while Death Valley is the hottest location in the world. Know before you go what climate you’re going to experience so you know in advance what kinds of clothes to pack.
There are special-needs-friendly attractions
If you have someone in your group who has special needs whether it might be sound sensitivity or issues around crowds, there are tons of family-friendly attractions that are sensitive to these needs. From theme parks like Sea World or Legoland, Disneyland to Universal Studios to Six Flags or Knott’s Berry Farms, tons of places are on offer to tour and provide things to do which will entertain you and all of your beloved family members who may have special needs to be addressed.
Stop and enjoy the wine
California is famed worldwide for its wine country. If you’re traveling through the countryside, you absolutely must make time to visit one of the hundreds of vineyards and wineries spread across the state. Many of these facilities include upscale dining establishments and gift shops as well as tasting rooms. You can even take a tour of a winery so you can learn about the process and history of making wine in California. Whether you’re going to Napa, Sonoma, or any of the other wine country regions, it’s an unforgettable trip in the making.
Redwood National Park
Time your visit
One of the most important travel tips to know before you go is when to travel. The vast majority of people head for California during the summer, which is the peak travel time. That means you need to anticipate massive crowds and the most popular attractions, with commensurate wait times everywhere from amusement park lines to restaurants. For some things like heading for the high country, a summer trip may be a necessity, but for others, if you can grab a spring or autumn trip, you’ll still get solid beach weather and far fewer crowds.
Catch a music festival
California is a musical state, no doubt about it. After all, Los Angeles is the record company capital of the world. If you’d like to experience new music, get lost in a community of fellow fans, meet new friends, or just see a whole selection of amazing international acts play, there are music festivals galore in California. You can check out any number such as Coachella, Stagecoach, BottleRock, or even smaller concerts and festivals held on beaches and in city squares throughout the state.
Get ready for a California vacation adventure
Now that you’ve got your list of essential information to keep in mind before visiting California, you’re ready to head off to an unforgettable adventure along the coast. Check out the wealth of great travel deals for flights, hotels, and vacation packages you’ll find on Expedia and book your California holiday today!
Source: Expedia Australia Travel Blog | 28 Feb 2020 | 5:23 pmLow rate, no booking fee, 17,000 hotels, 30,000 destinations.
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