Japan

I had to cancel my last trip with terminally ill husband – no refund from operator

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☉ My husband and I booked a Jet2 vacation to Malcesine on Lake Garda on May 24th. We canceled the trip due to TV coverage of “apocalyptic and devastating” flooding in northern Italy, especially Verona, where we were planning to land, as well as many other places we were going. We decided we couldn’t risk going where people were walking in waist-high flood water. On May 20th we called Jet2 and asked to cancel. It told us that we were not entitled to any refund due to the very close proximity of our scheduled departure date.We then called our insurance company (AllClear) who was sympathetic but told us because the Foreign Office was not advising people not to Travel, we can’t reimburse the cost of the vacation, but it does reimburse 50% of our insurance. This may be our last vacation together as my husband is terminally ill and we are very disappointed by Jet2’s lack of empathy. Can you help me?
Catherine Fripp

Floods in northern Italy caused death and destruction last month, but tour operators are under no obligation to offer refunds or alternative trips as the Foreign Office (FCDO) is not advising travel. Jet2 confirms that the absence of an FCDO consultation means your cancellation is subject to their normal terms and conditions – therefore no refunds – and there is no insurance against “unwilling to travel”. As the travel industry tries to make up for losses suffered during the pandemic, companies are unfortunately unable to issue refunds on compassionate grounds only.

We had a fantastic vacation in Canada last year, especially in the Rocky Mountains with their amazing mountains and lakes. We would love to have a similar holiday but closer to home with great hiking and scenery and are considering the Dolomites or Madeira. The budget for the three of us (two adults and a teenager) was around £7,000. What do you suggest?
sandy church

Pack your walking boots and take a trip to Alta Badia in South Tyrol, Italy, where ski slopes are transformed into a summer playground, criss-crossed by hiking trails and fabulous mountain huts, surrounded by spectacular sawtooth shaped peaks. Stay at the family-run Hotel Diamant in San Casciano, with biking and hiking trails on your doorstep. A week in July with half board, plus flights and transfers from Gatwick, starts at £1,873 per person (inghams.co.uk).

Pack your walking boots and head to Alta Badia in South Tyrol

Achim Thomas/Getty Images

☉ My mother is 92 years old, in good health and travels frequently. Her only wish now is to have lunch at Le Train Bleu at Gare de Lyon in Paris. We live in Suffolk so the train is probably the best option for travel. Should we spend the night in London or Paris (or both)? Do you have any recommendations for comfortable hotels nearby with walk-in showers?
Helen Allerby

Spending a night in both London and Paris is the most relaxing way. You could stay at the Pullman Hotel next to St Pancras (B&B double or twin from £333 mid-July; pullmanlondonstpancras.com) and catch the Eurostar the next morning during social hour. Book guaranteed assistance through the Contact Center at least 24 hours before your trip, which will entitle your mother to assistance to and from the train, including expedited check-in and luggage handling (eurostar.com). Half an hour by taxi from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon and the magnificent Belle Époque Train Bleu, there is a lift at the entrance. Book your table in advance (le-train-bleu.com). Stay in elegant Riesner, on a quiet street nearby, for about £213 for a superior twin at B&B (hotelriesner.com). Both hotels have elevators and walk-in showers.

Inside the restaurant Le Train Bleu at the Gare de Lyon

Inside the restaurant Le Train Bleu at the Gare de Lyon

alamy

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☉ Before joining the cruise ship, we had three days in Tokyo. Recently, I heard from a friend that credit cards cannot be used in some places when going to Japan, because his name and card number are not embossed (it is a smooth card). Is it correct? Also, are there any attractions that we must book before we arrive?
michael barnett

According to the Japan National Tourism Organization (japan.travel), I think your friend must be very unlucky because a “smooth” credit card is not a problem. However, it does suggest that contactless payment does not work with cards issued outside of Japan (so remember your PIN) – you should also get some money as it’s still a cash culture and you need it to enter shrines and temple. As for must-reads, the striking, immersive digital art gallery teamLab Planets Tokyo is my top recommendation (£18; planets.teamlab.art). You will be wading, so wear shorts (towels are provided).

Are you having a holiday dilemma? Email traveldoctor@thetimes.co.uk

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