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Everyone loves looking at beautiful travel photos and hearing about absolute dream trips. But I’ve learned, in my six years of travel blogging, that there’s something most people love even more: hearing about someone else’s absolute, total, complete travel disaster.

Perhaps it’s the dark humor, perhaps it’s knowing we aren’t alone in our own personal misadventures and meltdowns, perhaps it’s just pure voyeurism. Who knows. What I do know? The camper that we rented for our #SunshineStateScuba road trip will go down in the books as one of my greatest travel disasters of all times.

Outdoorsy Rental Review

Outdoorsy Rental Review

Back to the Beginning

First, I have to back way up, so you can understand how much logistical hell we went though to even get behind the wheel we ended up banging our heads against. I actually first had the idea for this road trip upon discovering a company that rents colorful vintage VW vans out of St. Pete, a dream Heather and I eventually had to let go of after weeks of back and forth, when we accepted that I can’t drive manual and Heather couldn’t be rented to. Why? While she has a US drivers license, she lives in the Cayman Islands and only carries international car insurance, and couldn’t buy US rental insurance through her credit card or another carrier since the vintage VW vehicles in question are more than twenty-five years old. Major blow.

But, after hours spent scouring the internet for the perfect Plan B, we finally settled on an adorable little camper from Outdoorsy that we’d rent an SUV to hitch to. Perfect! Yet… cue the next set of hoops to jump through.

One lesson that took us a long, complicated, sob-inducing road to learn: you cannot hitch anything to a rental car, even one that it appropriately sized such as an SUV. You also cannot hitch anything to a leased car, such as my aunt’s SUV that we were going to borrow after figuring out the first point (and invested quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to attach a hitch package to.) It turns out your only legal option for towing, other than hitching something to a vehicle that you or someone you know fully owns, is to rent a car from a specialty department like Enterprise Trucks — which come with heftier price tags… and huge sizes!

We found that our only option at Enterprise Truck was a size of car we affectionately termed “monster truck” — a Dodge Ram 2500. The guys at the rental counter literally laughed (with delight!) when they saw two little blondies roll up to rent this baby. Heather was super intimidated to drive it and I didn’t blame her — but she rocked it! We picked up the truck several hours before picking up the camper so we could run all our camper-prepping errands in it and Heather could get some practice before adding another challenge. Ha, I literally have a headache even thinking about getting to this point — and this was just the beginning!

Road Trip Disaster Post

As frustrating a road as it was to get to that point with so much confusion and so many changes in plan, I give nothing but kudos to the employees of the Spruce Street Enterprise Truck location in Tampa, who were sweet, friendly, and empathetic to our condition of cluelessness. Despite all our frustrations so far, there was certainly no one at fault and no one to blame — just an unfortunate set of circumstances. And the Enterprise team really bent over backwards to help us get the best deal and feel comfortable driving such an enormous vehicle.

On the other hand, throughout the process of trying to figure out what vehicle we could hitch the camper to, we became increasingly perturbed with how unhelpful our Outdoorsy renter was. He was confusing and dismissive when we were scrambling to figure out what kind of hitch we had to buy — and, um, what a hitch was, considering we’d never done this before! — and kept piling on extra charges. We even ended up renting the camper for an extra day because the charge for an “early” pick-up was so high, it was more economical to get it the night before.

Outdoorsy Rental Review

The day of our arranged pickup, we were still getting last minute messages about things that weren’t included, and we were getting pretty frustrated. We made our way to the arranged spot, and found… no one. We called the renter, who told us he was in an entirely different location. “You must have gotten confused,” he said. “Um, nope,” I said, and read his text message back to him. “I see,” was his only reply, as he headed to the original meeting spot. No apology.

Things went downhill when he did arrive. No pleasantries asking us about our trip, still no simple apology for giving us the wrong meeting location. He gave us a tour of the camper that mainly consisted of pointing out features of the camper that were no longer available as he removed them due to alleged abuse from past renters. Um, thanks for pointing out that shade cover that’s no longer there. Also, we didn’t realize this until later, but the camper exterior was filthy. My aunt broke out some major cleaning supplies and gave it an intense scrub the next morning when we were packing it up to get it in blog-able condition.

Anyway, we clearly got a pretty bad vibe but remained polite and got out of these as soon as we could. And once we did, we were giddy! For all the wrong turns, all the logistical nightmares, all the crazy hoops we’d jumped through, everything, we had persevered and it had paid off: we were in our little dream camper, heading off into the sunset.

Florida Road Trip

On The Road

Or so we thought.

The next evening, after a long day of driving and exploring some of Central Florida’s vintage charm, we pulled into Chassahowitzka River Campground in a rainstorm, excited to set up our charming little home for the night and cook dinner, edit photos, and get to bed.

Instead, we spent four hours attempting to get the trailer’s electricity to work or water to hook up, with the campground manager moving us to two different sites and checking the voltage at each to eliminate the possibility that it was a problem on their end. While the outlets worked, the lights and AC would not kick on. The gas worked only sporadically, on one burner. The water never hooked up.

We texted and did several calls with the owner trying to problem shoot, with him eventually telling us he believed it was a problem with the RV cord — though the campground manager and our RV neighbor were both skeptical. In late August it is far too hot to sleep in an unheated, stuffy trailer and so we had to cook (on the one burner that would light, natch) using borrowed flashlights and the water spigot from our RV neighbors and then rely upon the pity of the campground manager who allowed us to sleep on the floor of the campground’s air-conditioned TV room. Not exactly the relaxing first night of camping we were imagining.

Outdoorsy Rental Review

We had a manatee snorkeling tour booked near the campground at 8am the next morning, so we begrudgingly got up at 5:30am to drive to a local 24 hour Wal Mart to search for RV cords. There, we spoke to a third RV owner who assured us it did not sound like a problem with the cord but with the fuses. Regardless, Wal Mart did not have the necessary cord and as it was a Sunday the other RV stores we called around to were closed. Despite our early wake up, we were embarrassed to arrive late for our morning tour due to our wild goose chase.

At lunch, between our manatee tour and our dive of Rainbow River, we held up our group by again getting back on the road and driving to the nearest Home Depot to again look for the cord the owner insisted we get. Again, we spoke to an RV tech who told us that while the cord we had was covered in electrical tape and looked like it had seen far better days, he did not believe that was the issue (and they didn’t carry our cord anyway.) So, admitting temporary defeat, we purchased some fans to try to make sleeping bearable and tried to accept our situation for what it was.

That morning, we had asked the owner to send a tech to us since one of the upsells we had been forced into was an alleged “roadside assistance.” (Later, I was told by Outdoorsy that charges outside the platform were unauthorized, though the renter told us the insurance was required by Outdoorsy and we could not rent without it.) He told us that the issues we had were not covered and told us he would issue a refund if we drove back to St. Pete and returned the RV that day. Um, seriously?

Outdoorsy Rental Review

That was quite obviously not an option. It would have completely consumed an entire day of our brief four day road trip to make the journey back to St. Pete, and we would have missed two of our four scuba dives in the process. Considering I was already commissioned to write about the dives for PADI, I also had professional obligations to honor. We had no choice but to go on towing what was at this point an extremely expensive and burdensome (due to parking, driving, and beyond) closet behind us.

Arriving in Williston, we did a video call with my future step-dad in New York who helped us go one by one through the fuses and several other problem solving steps to no avail. As we were assessing how we could get through the night without light, air conditioning or gas, we met our hero of the night, freediving legend Forrest Simon of Go Native Freediving, who was staying in one of Blue Grotto’s onsite cabins. He kindly offered us his kitchen and his spare bedroom, and we had a lovely night sipping local Florida wine, dining on Heather’s best camping cuisine, and talking all things travel and diving. Glass? I see you, and you’re half full!

The next morning, over breakfast, Heather and I discussed our options for the final night. To our incredible disappointment, we agreed we had no choice but to forgo our final pre-arranged night of camping at Ginnie Springs as we didn’t know what resources would be available to us there and we knew we at least had a safe place to eat and sleep if we stayed a second night in Williston. At this point, having come completely unprepared to survive without the amenities of our camper, we were totally reliant on the kindness of strangers.

Outdoorsy Rental Review

The Aftermath

There was no other way to slice it: the camping portion of our trip was an unmitigated disaster. It was the kindness of the people we met in Florida (with the exception, unfortunately, of our camper renter) and the amazing diving we did each day that made our trip fantastic despite such an enormous failure regarding the camping we were so looking forward to.

In the end, we spent $494 renting a truck with towing capabilities, $368 on the actual camper rental and extra charges, and $104 buying supplies we never got to use, including fans we purchased mid-trip — not to mention higher gas and toll charges than we would have paid with a smaller vehicle. The truck, clearly, was by far the most expensive aspect of this whole ordeal and of course we had no recourse to receive any refund from Enterprise, though this truck also was a burden in the end and we would have been so much happier in a standard vehicle that would have cost exactly half the price.

I really do want to cry a bit when I think of the money and time we wasted on this precious trip that we were so incredibly excited for — Heather literally flew in from another country to be a part of it! If only we’d rented a cheap car and bought a tent, we’d have been more comfortable and prepared, spent a fraction of the money, and spent far less of the trip in panic or problem solving mode. In fact, my time continued to be wasted after the trip as I attempted to resolve the issue first with the owner, then with Outdoorsy, and finally with the fraud department of my credit card.

Outdoorsy Rental Review

As Heather and I drove the camper back to Tampa, we noted that the texts from the owner had taken on a different tone — he actually said the words “I’m sorry!” — and we were pretty confident we’d be offered a full refund. Not so. Claiming he needed to consult with the other owners, he took weeks to reply to my texts and calls, chiding me that the looming Hurricane Irma was much more important than my camper refund. Um, definitely true, but I returned that baby a full week before Irma started hitting the news! Next, he informed me that one of the fuses was popped (which I’m suspicious of), and since “it would have been an easy fix” if we’d returned the camper after the first night, he was offering a 30% refund. Um, no thanks.

When I explained yet again that returning the camper was not an option for us and it was not used so much as towed as it became an enormous burden to us, he informed me that “the social agenda of the renter” was not his responsibility. You say “social agenda,” I say “travel itinerary I booked and payed for your camper for!” At that point, I realized we were never going to see eye to eye, and I called Outdoorsy.

At that point, frankly, I was straight up insulted that we were expected to pay any percentage of the trailer rental. Let’s just say when I lovingly planned our itinerary I definitely did not expect to be roaming the RV aisles in Wal Mart at 5:30am with a day full of diving ahead. Any legitimate renter with an ounce of customer service would have issued a refund — and a sincere apology — immediately. I was so relieved when I called Outdoorsy customer service and spoke to a kind employee who listened as I calmly outlined our entire experience, apologizing profusely and promising to help me resolve the issue. Why didn’t I call them sooner, I thought! He promised to follow up via email as soon as possible.

A week went by. I sent a follow up via email. I got a confused reply from another customer service rep who seemed to think I was trying to contact the owner of the camper. Um, nope, I’m trying pretty specifically to never speak to him again. I replied clarifying I was following up on my extremely disappointing first rental experience, and received an apology and a promise to follow up on my case. Later that day I received the following email:

[Redacted] has informed us that during the reservation he had offered for a full refund if the unit was returned. Since this offer was declined, he is now offering a 30% refund for the rental. If you wish to negotiate this further you will need to speak with the owner directly as this was his last offer known to us.

At this point my brain kind of exploded, because of course I had disclosed that offer, as well as why it was not even as entertainable option for us, in extreme detail during the hour-long call I’d made with the first customer service representative! At this point, I was in Thailand, but I was so incensed that I called customer service again via Skype. Once again, I was lulled by the calming voice of a third customer service representative who assured me that this was his top priority, apologized for the confusion and the chaos, and had me convinced that maybe this was all a big misunderstanding! Just to be on the safe side, I sent a several thousand word, detailed account of everything I’d reported now twice over the phone via email.

And I heard crickets.

Twelve days later, I sent the following email:

I am extremely saddened that after twelve days, I have still not received a response to this email or to my two phone calls to customer service, one of them international. At this point I have no option but to file a fraud claim with my credit card. It is astounding to me that a customer who takes the time to make multiple phone calls and write a 1,000+ word email does not even warrant a response from you. We spent our hard earned and loving planned vacation time and funds with your company and have not been given any respect in return.

I still have not received any response. Thankfully, filing a fraud complaint with my credit card went much more smoothly. It only took one phone call to Capital One — plus my wonderful mom sending hard copies of my letters, receipts, and text message screenshots to them (why can’t banks receive email in 2017?!) — to start my case, and the full refund appeared in my account not long after.

Florida Scuba Diving Road Trip Guide

While I was horrified by the attitude of our renter (whose listing still remains active), I was truly appalled by the apathy of a company like Outdoorsy, which is literally designed to act as a broker and protect customers from situations like this. The fact that they couldn’t get it together to so much as reply to my emails is pretty unforgivable in my books. I loathe spreading negativity into the world — you’ll see the vast majority of this blog is pretty rose-tinted and I rarely go scorched earth — but I felt I had no choice but to file a Better Business Bureau complaint against Outdoorsy and warn friends, family, and my community here about my experience with them.

Looking At The Bright Side

And yet! There’s always something to be grateful for. In this case? The blow of our travel disappointment was softened at every turn by the absolutely overwhelming kindness and generosity of people we met along the way.

The Enterprise staff who saw how overwhelmed we were and did everything they could to cut us a deal and calm our nerves. Our neighbor at the campground who ever-so-sweetly said “my wife says you girls look like you’re having a bit of a time,” and lent us extension cords and fans and lights our first night. The campground manager who went above and beyond trying to help and offered to let us sleep on the floor of the locked common room to escape the August heat. The fellow customers at Home Depot who tried their darndest to help us — and literally didn’t even work there! The friendly freediver who let us crash in his cabin and cook on his stove. The boat driver at Rainbow River who left us the number of an electrician under our windshield after we told him our troubles. Even my mom’s fiancé, who talked me through checking for blown fuses over FaceTime from New York.

While everything that happened after the fact left a bitter taste in my mouth, despite everything, I smile when I think about this trip, thanks to those we met along the way. This state can end up the butt of many jokes but I was truly, truly humbled by the kind people of Central Florida. If ever I need a reminder of the impact you can have with a smile or an outstretched hand, I’ll think back to our four days spent at the mercy of strangers in the Sunshine State. It was, above all, an adventure.

Outdoorsy Rental Review

We sure needed these — cheers to the road with all its highs and lows!

3-devide-lines
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52 Comments...
  • erin
    November 13 2017

    wow i’m quite appalled by what has happened to you! especially for the company, outdoorsy, who is legitimately created to protect customers from major risk as if you were renting directly from someone. and yet, you ended up in a situation where you basically had to resort to turn to your credit card company. that to me is always a last resort, but i’m glad you were able to do that.

    and i’m glad that there are still kind people in this world that really did try to help you out throughout this disaster of a trip!

    • Alex
      November 13 2017

      Yeah, it is kind of ironic, isn’t it! I often have a blind faith that a company like that will protect me (though I should have done more research — they have an F rating from the Better Business Bureau).

      • erin
        November 13 2017

        i wouldn’t have even thought to check BBB because honestly for a company that has an F rating, they shouldn’t still be in business.

        • Alex
          November 13 2017

          To be fair they only have two ratings (mine will be the third!) but yeah, for comparison, despite many complaints, Airbnb has an A+

  • Carly
    November 13 2017

    Wow! I had heard of outdoorsy and was thinking of looking into it as we love road trip camping vacations, and it sounded like an interesting option. Thanks for sharing your experience with them. Sounds like if you get lucky and get a good renter it’s smooth sailing… if not, not good. I will be looking elsewhere and sticking with reputable campervan rental companies. Cheers to making lemonade out of those lemons, and happy travels!
    Carly recently posted..Two Days in Moab: Day One – Dead Horse Point State Park

    • Alex
      November 13 2017

      Oh man, I am so bummed. Based on our customer service experience I’ll definitely not be using them again, clearly, which is a shame because they have so many amazing listings! But if they are going to leave you high and dry when things go wrong… not cool. If you find any similar services that deliver on their promises, let me know! (It’s really sad the vintage VWs didn’t work out for this trip, because I think those owners were super legit and care deeply for their vehicles and want their guests to have a great experience.)

      • Carly
        November 13 2017

        The vintage VW company sounds awesome, I am bookmarking that for sure. We have used Escape Campervans for a couple of trips now and they are great to work with (and have a huge fleet of vehicles, which helps in an emergency situation). In Atlanta there is a newer company, Scamper Vans, which looks really great (much smaller but the vans are pretty awesome) – we haven’t gotten the chance to try them yet. I did a pile of research on campervan companies while planning a trip to California last year. We are looking into the possibility of getting a trailer at some point and the potential to rent one first to try it out is enticing… but also a setup for possible disaster, and doesn’t seem worth it if the company isn’t backing you up when things go wrong. Time to research trailer rental companies now!
        Carly recently posted..Two Days in Moab: Day two – Arches National Park

        • Alex
          November 16 2017

          Ah, thanks for all these recommendations! I have seen Escape vans, great to get a personal thumbs up for them.

  • Steph Dring
    November 13 2017

    My travels are just one big bag of bad luck so I really appreciate reading other people’s travel dramas. At least it’s a story to tell! Glad you finally got your money back.

    Steph x
    Steph Dring recently posted..GOING UNDERGROUND: A DAY ON THE TUBE

    • Alex
      November 13 2017

      Yes, this story does have an (eventual!) happy ending.

  • Angie Away
    November 13 2017

    This is appalling on so many levels. Sounds like another case of a man thinking he can just bully some blonde girls around… not today, buddy. Not today.

    I’m so glad Capital One did right by you. CITI left us high and dry after our wedding debacle, so I think I’ve found the right card to switch to.

    It sucks when you have to add a company to the do-not use list, but Outdoorsy is now on mine.
    Angie Away recently posted..What to Wear to a Party at Downton Abbey

    • Alex
      November 13 2017

      I am still so amazed that your credit card didn’t protect you from that situation. This was the first time I’ve had to file a fraud complaint, but Heather filed one with her Capital One card after our Batabano costume disaster, and they also quickly issued a full refund. So they have a great track record in my book… though it’s a shame we have to use it. It was so easy I actually briefly considered seeing if I could get some kind of refund for the truck we didn’t really need, but I hesitated because I don’t really know how the process works and I wouldn’t want anyone at Enterprise to get blowback from it considering they were so great.

      And yes, I also thought of you and your wedding when our renter started bringing up Hurricane Irma. Oh, a tragic hurricane that has NO BEARING on this situation?! Tell me more!

  • Ramona
    November 13 2017

    Oh my goodness, bless your hearts! I’m so sorry y’all had such a hard time with the trailer person but I’m happy you were surrounded by good people to help. You learned a lot but I hope it doesn’t keep you from renting on down the road.

    • Alex
      November 13 2017

      It definitely won’t! My first two camper experiences (one of which I still have to blog about!) were excellent. A fourth is certainly in the cards 🙂

  • Genevieve
    November 13 2017

    What an absolute nightmare! It almost sounds like Outdoorsy’s policy is to give lip service on the phone and then blow people off – how else could you have that same experience with their customer service reps so many times? I don’t understand how any of those people (renters and multiple reps) can be comfortable with their own behaviour. Good on you for seeing the glass half full with all the kindness from strangers you received!

    • Alex
      November 13 2017

      Right?! It’s so bizarre. I wish I’d recorded my two phone calls. It’s like they’d had training dealing with hysterical people (which I was not — I’m definitely aware the best way to get customer service on your side is to be cool and detached as a cucumber!) and then were just doodling on a notepad and threw the paper away when we hung up. Ha!

  • Jo-Anne the crazy lady
    November 13 2017

    Bloody hell it was one thing after another enough to test the patience of a saint I reckon.
    Jo-Anne the crazy lady recently posted..Some random thoughts

    • Alex
      November 13 2017

      We definitely felt a bit frazzled by the end of it 🙂 Luckily, diving is a great de-stressor!

  • Karen
    November 13 2017

    That is appalling and I’ve also had great experiences with Cap1 after services were not given (after payment). I hope that they respond after seeing this blog post… It really shouldn’t take this much effort to get a company to realize when they’ve given bad customer service.

    The Florida road trip sounds great otherwise!

    • Alex
      November 13 2017

      I would be pretty shocked to hear from Outdoorsy even now — I’m certainly not expecting to. I actually told them on my second call, “I’m a travel writer who has worked in the travel industry for years so I know this isn’t standard” and they clearly didn’t feel moved to respond even knowing that, ha.

      Yay for Capital One protection, though!

  • Leigh
    November 13 2017

    Oh man, that stinks! There’s nothing worse to me than having to fight with customer service…it’s usually the utility companies that have me wanting to throw my phone across the room. Frankly, I would have probably just gotten a hotel room at that point. In fact, I’m about to move from an Airbnb to a hotel room tomorrow because I can’t sleep for the bugs getting in through all the window gaps! Eek!
    Leigh recently posted..Tucson Bike Tour: An Historic Tour of Downtown Tucson

    • Alex
      November 13 2017

      Hotels weren’t really a workable option for us or we might have done the same! There were definitely hotels we could have stayed in nearby in Crystal River the first night, but it was so late by the time we admitted defeat, we were exhausted and couldn’t stand the thought of packing everything up and going and checking in somewhere (though we certainly did consider it.)

      Then our second and third nights were in such remote areas, we would have had to drive thirty to forty minutes away from the dive sites and our intended camp sites in order to find a hotel. Hence the popularity of camping and cabins! We are so lucky we had the cabin available to us for those last two nights — so not the cute camper trip we envisioned, but we were safe and comfortable.

  • Rachel
    November 13 2017

    Ah that’s horrible! But is it ok that it still made me feel better? In the age of every Instagram picture perfectly posed and every blog post talking about how much fun and beautiful this trip is, it’s nice to read others disasters to remind us we’re not alone. I have loved all my trips, but there have been a few countries where I have wanted to rip my hair out due to various frustrations. It sucks when you get home and you see the destination on Instagram looking beautiful and sparkly. You start wondering what’s wrong with you that you didn’t have a perfect trip. So yeah, thanks for reminding us that you can have years of travel experience and even work in the travel industry and still have utter disaster s occur.

    • Alex
      November 13 2017

      I know how you feel Rachel! It’s definitely easy to look at someone else’s travel highlight reel and think, um, am I the only person that has cockroaches in their bed sometimes?! Haha. That’s why I always try to share the highs AND the lows here, even if they can sometimes be uncomfortable to write about.

  • Gail Aguiar
    November 13 2017

    I’m definitely not one of those people who love to read about travel disasters, but I read them so I know how things got resolved (or not). To me, that’s the most important part of the story, but I try not to skip straight to the end.

    Because if you travel enough there’s a guarantee you’ll run into problems like this, so it’s worth paying attention to who the shysters are and how to avoid them.

    Not to mention that putting a story like this into the public domain is less for catharsis (I’m guessing!) than truly to warn people, so it’s for the benefit of the reader.

    • Alex
      November 13 2017

      Indeed! I already got my resolution with this one, so it wasn’t really a venting situation — though I definitely have worked through some emotions via blogging with past travel disasters, for sure! I think in this case my main objective was yes, to hold Outdoorsy accountable and warn other travelers that they don’t really have your back, but also to say, hey look, this is literally my job and things still get screwed up. Nothing is perfect all the time, as you seem to also be aware 😉

  • Elizabeth Howell
    November 13 2017

    Wow, what a nightmare! Sorry you two had such troubles but glad the good people from our neighbor state lent a helping hand!
    Elizabeth Howell recently posted..In Transit: Canggu to Ubud

    • Alex
      November 13 2017

      We definitely received some serious Southern Hospitality <3 I think my favorite was the people in Home Depot who stopped to help us just because. I can't see that happening where I grew up -- not even because people aren't friendly, just cause everyone is so damn busy and rushed all the time!

  • Cynthia Joanne
    November 13 2017

    OMG Alex that is brutal, and so unprofessional of Outdoorsy, and the renter! Girl I’d be blowing up the Outdoorsy social media if I were you… great that your credit card sorted you out financially, but still, what an ordeal!

    • Alex
      November 13 2017

      Originally I didn’t tag them in any of my social posts because I wanted to give them an opportunity to make it right and allow me to tell the whole story — but clearly, they weren’t fussed! I actually told them on my second call that I was a travel writer (not in a diva way, just to explain that I had copious experience in the travel industry and was well aware this wasn’t right) and they didn’t seem to find that notable, ha ha. It will be interesting to see if they respond to my Facebook call outs now… but I doubt it.

  • Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate
    November 13 2017

    I’m totally guilty of loving to read (and write) about crazy travel mishaps (see: Delta, Expedia, Emirates, my list goes on…). This one, however, is bonkers! It’s a miracle you girls made it out alive. I really hope this bubbles up to page one of Google when people search Outdoorsy and that no one else ever ever makes that mistake again!

    • Alex
      November 13 2017

      Yeah I mean it’s like, vehicles break down and travel mishaps happen, but to have not one but two layers of “we don’t care” to cut through — both the renter and Outdoorsy — is the part that really burns. If there was no power or AC or gas or water in my apartment and my Airbnb guests literally had to go elsewhere to sleep and cook, I would give them a full refund and cry apologizing AND send them a fruit basket. Just make it right, dude!

  • Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate
    November 13 2017

    Funny enough, I had a horror story with Airbnb in California awhile back and I called them, left the house, they refunded me in full AND sent a fruit basket to the next place I stayed, ha!

    • Alex
      November 13 2017

      Omg, that is hilarious! I mean not that you had a horror story, but that I basically described it in unintentional detail! Lol!

  • Sarah
    November 14 2017

    Love hearing this! Everyone that travels a lot, will experience something like this at some point 🙂

    • Alex
      November 16 2017

      Indeed! A true disaster is, at some point, inevitable.

  • caroline nolazco
    November 14 2017

    holy hell! I cant even imagine. I need a drink just after reading this! what a shame companies seem to no longer be customer based anymore. how mind boggling. and go capital one! that’s really awesome you at least got that.

    • Alex
      November 16 2017

      And the sad thing is we couldn’t really drink since we were diving! Ha! We did tuck into a much needed bottle of wine at one point in the trip 😉

  • Paul
    November 14 2017

    This was a total nightmare for sure but I love how you ended this note in a positive way which is “the bright side” of the story. Some people you meet along the way really have that ability to make your day feel a little better.
    Paul recently posted..15 Useful Tips From Experts In Google Maps

    • Alex
      November 16 2017

      Indeed they do. A little kindness goes a long way when you’re having a serious travel struggle!

  • Jessica
    November 14 2017

    Ah, everyone loves a good travel disaster story…It definitely is part dark humor and having the feeling we’re not alone, especially when it even happens to the traveling pros like you! And venting is always good! Sorry that happened to you!
    Jessica recently posted..My Travel Horror Stories

    • Alex
      November 16 2017

      I don’t think anyone on earth, pros included, are immune from the occasional total travel plan meltdown 🙂 Clearly, I should have suspected this one was cursed from the beginning!

  • Mary Beth
    November 15 2017

    What in the actual F?!? My travel disasters are mostly comedies of error, so I thought I’d get a good laugh outta this. But this is ALL error. I literally cannot believe that BOTH the owner and THEN the company gave you such a runaround. GOOD ON YOU for elevating it to fraud protection. I’ve only done it once before, too (slightly similar situation, getting a towing package installed on my SUV so I could go pick up a trailer, only to have it done wrong!), and hate that it had to come to that. But I hated even more being dismissed by the guy trying to take my money when he didn’t deliver to the specifications we agreed to. Anyway, all that to say it burns me up to see you were treated this way! Glad somebody finally made it right…

    • Alex
      November 16 2017

      You are right, there isn’t much comedy in this one! I guess the only humor was in the physical comedy of Heather and I trying to maneuver an absolute MONSTER TRUCK with a trailer behind it for literally no reason whatsoever, haha! That aside… ugh.

  • Ijana Loss
    November 16 2017

    Perhaps this is a message from the universe telling you to learn to drive manual XD

    • Alex
      November 17 2017

      HA that is so true. I think I am going to have my dad teach me next time I’m in Los Angeles 🙂

  • Lara
    November 18 2017

    I’m glad you decided to share your experience and made the most of it. I can’t believe how appalling some companies customer service can be!
    Lara recently posted..Why you should Kayak in Antarctica

    • Alex
      November 20 2017

      I do hope this post helps someone avoid the same disasters we had!

  • Dominique
    November 18 2017

    What a nightmare! It’s so good to see that you pursue your rights, I’m sometimes a bit lazy when it comes to problems like this. I should take inspiration from you and also fight for my rights!
    Dominique recently posted..Mulu National Park – Animals of the Night

    • Alex
      November 21 2017

      Ha, when it comes to the dollar amount, it probably was not worth my time to pursue. But I guess the injustice just fueled my fire!

  • Amy
    November 22 2017

    Wow, that really does sound like a stressful experience, I can’t believe the rude owner and useless customer service staff at Outdoorsy. Out of interest, did you mention to them that you are a travel writer and would be writing about your experiences? I’m so glad you got a refund from your credit card in the end though. It’s also heartwarming to read of all the kind people who helped you along the way. Hope this didn’t put you off camper vans for life!
    Amy recently posted..Exploring with the Lisbon tourist card

    • Alex
      November 24 2017

      I did mention it to Outdoorsy in my second phone call, in the context of, “I’m a travel writer and I have years of experience working in the travel industry and so I know this is not okay.” I guess that didn’t sway them… and neither did this, ha!

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