Traveller Letters: Airbnb hosts can refuse refunds despite border closures

AN AIRBNB IN MY BONNET

Due to the recent border closure for NSW with Queensland, we had to cancel our Airbnb booking. What a surprise and disappointment to be told you only get 50 per cent refund with the rest up to "your host". Our request for a credit to use elsewhere in NSW, was ignored. The current refund policy states a full refund, due to extenuating circumstances, such as COVID, is only possible, if you have a doctor's certificate stating you have COVID. Our Cairns host would only refund 50 per cent, less the cleaning and  service fees. When other accommodation and airline providers are providing 100 per cent refund or credits, I find it extremely disappointing and would encourage others to check the refund policy before booking.

Trish Lynam, Lake Macquarie, NSW

LETTER OF THE WEEK

BARBIE DOLL

Not daring to leave Victoria recently, we booked a cabin at Murtoa, close to the Silo Trail and the famous Stick Shed (check the museum too). This tiny town has developed comfortable, sparkling clean cabins, suitable for two to four people after both hotels stopped offering accommodation. Lakeside, barbecue your meals or take a short drive to the Horsham Club (pack a hotplate ). Let's applaud strong communities doing it tough.

Carol Griffiths, Doncaster, VIC

NO TOWN LIKE ALICE

I had a recent trip to Alice Springs as a lone traveller and as usual did most of my bookings on-line. However as COVID restrictions were changing, I decided to get in touch with the Alice Springs tourist centre.  I highly recommend them - not only could they book a cheap hire car for me (all online efforts had failed), but they had great advice from the height of the water to wade through in Ormiston Gorge to a list of bird guides to tour the local bird hot spots. The flowers and birds were in profusion in perfect July weather. I would go back in a heartbeat.

Hilary Johnson, Northcote, VIC

WAIT. THERE'S A KETCH

I would like to reassure my namesake from Northcote, Victoria ("Damage Control", Traveller Letters, July 31) that much of my travelling was driven by the wind, in either a small wooden 1937-built yacht or a larger 1986 ketch, now sadly languishing in Crete. My souvenirs are mainly works by local artists and craftspeople and while I don't need them, I am sure the makers appreciated the income. Real travel can be an antidote to parochialism and privilege, a challenge to comfort and complacency. Demanding our government implement long overdue actions regarding climate change is something we all need to do at every opportunity and ultimately, at the ballot box.

Lesley Walker, Gordon, NSW

TRUE BRITS

Two of my favourite travel series presenters not mentioned in Ben Groundwater's story, (Traveller, July 31) are both British. I really enjoy Simon Reeve as a presenter and journalist with his insightful political and cultural views of countries and regions that I may or may not ever get to visit. Steve Backshall is the second one that I really enjoy for the sheer escapism and extreme remoteness of his destinations. Both provide vicarious travel at it's best and inspiring for travellers who may want to target less-travelled pathways when the time is right. In Steve's case it's the sheer adventure without any risk.

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Vicki Copping, Oatley, NSW

ROMAN TIMESLOT

May I add just one more TV series to the list by Ben Groundwater: the BBC series Italy Unpacked, where Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli and British art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon share what they know about, respectively, Italian food and society and Italian art and history. It is a series of delightful trips to smaller towns and less-familiar country spots in Italy, full of witty banter and serious exchanges between two men who speak each other's language and are happy to travel with, and learn from, each other.

Mirna Cicioni, Brunswick East, VIC

GAG ORDER

I recommend Travel Man with English actor Richard Ayoade on SBS On Demand, in which he visits places around the world accompanied by a different comedian in each episode. There are nine series of several half-hour episodes each. Quirky, revealing and not your usual tourist guide.

Gara Baldwin, Maroubra, NSW

GREAT SCOT

Secret Scotland (SBS on Demand) is a favourite with this household. The presenter is the effervescent elf Susan Calman, previously best known as a stand-up comic. Her enthusiasm and self-deprecating humour are a delight, and she is upfront about personal matters (she's gay and was formerly a lawyer). There are brief visits to Scotland's attractions, both famous and obscure, with access all areas and history in digestible servings. And the people she meets may start out stiff-necked but soon succumb to Susan's charm. Best moment? The Scottish dance class, men in kilts, the Scottish accents – a few of them indecipherable and Susan's – umm – distinctive dress sense. Scotland plus Susan – what's not to like?

Sandra Alexander, Clovelly, NSW

HAVE YOUR FILL

I would like to add the Netflix show, Somebody Feed Phil, to your list of excellent travel shows. Although it is primarily a food show, it does an excellent job of highlighting the sights and tastes of many different cultures.

Peter Miniutti, Ashbury, NSW

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