A few days back, the Michael W Travels family headed out on our final trip of 2016 to Costa Rica. We flew on Christmas Eve to Dallas and had to spend the night before heading to San Jose the following day.
Soon after arriving in San Jose we encountered a major issue in our plans. Find out how Alamo almost ruined our trip to Costa Rica.
After working out our car rental issues we headed to the hotel to rest before getting up early and heading off for our destination close to Manuel Antonio National Park.
We had booked our stay on December 9 through HomeAway in Matapalo, CR. (HomeAway is a site where you rent out homes/ vacation rentals from their owners.) The place sounded really nice and was also a reasonable price which seemed to be hard to come by this time of year.
The room went for $65 per night. With fees our four night stay came to $265.96.
After dealing with Alamo (check out the post at the link above), I figured we were good to go and the rest of our trip would go smoothly. I was exhausted but still fell asleep close to midnight…
Then at 5:30 AM (the next morning) my phone pinged. While I don’t have service out of the US, I did leave WiFi on allowing for some messages to come through. I jumped up and said “what was that?”
Kim was up super early getting ready (her phone was still on NY time). She came out of the bathroom and looked at my phone when I heard some shocking words, our reservation by Manuel Antonio was cancelled!
Now I was really awake, well as awake as I could expect to be at 5:30 am. I picked up my phone and saw the message “I am so sorry but we need to cancel your reservation for today.”
No reason was given, nothing.
I then saw a message in bold which said Reservation Cancelled in the HomeAway App. Next came a message about being refunded for our stay.
This sounded really odd! Who cancels someone’s reservation the day they’re supposed to arrive?
I was exhausted and fuming! My response was WTF followed by “that’s pretty nervy to do this so last-minute“. The host responded, “We are really very sorry“. Again no reason why the reservation was cancelled.
I responded with a nasty message back a bit later on, mentioning how his sorry does not help with the extra costs this caused us.
Once we found out our room was cancelled, Kim and I had some work to do. We booked our room over 2 weeks back and even then it was hard to find something in a decent location for the right price.
We searched and searched, there wasn’t going to be a room for $265 for 4 nights. No chance, at least not if we wanted to be close to Manuel Antonio.
A couple of options on Airbnb seemed to be a bit far away and we couldn’t even think of using HomeAway again right now.
In the end we booked the last room at a property just a few kilometers from Manuel Antonio National Park. The room cost more than double the price of our original booking! Ouch…
Was I pissed? For sure! But I won’t let this ruin our trip.
In the end, Kim and I are very good at keeping the budgets for our travels low. This is one time we were left without much choice and had to pay for it.
As for HomeAway- will I use the site again? I’m really not sure. I filed a complaint, let’s see what they do for me. My guess is nothing…
Have you used HomeAway to book a room/ home? If so, how was your experience?