Life on holiday is a world away from real life. Gone are the domestic duties, the work stress, and the numbness that comes with daily routine.

Unfortunately, getting away from home doesn’t guarantee things won’t occasionally go wrong. From tiny annoyances and small disappointments to major bummers and full blown debacles, shit still happens, whether you’re in Ballina or Brazil.

In these situations, the only thing you can really control is how you go about making a complaint. And while whinging often comes naturally, there’s a right and wrong way to go about letting people know you’re unhappy. Here are three easy steps to effective grumbling, should you need them in the future.

Step 1
Check your expectations (and the fine print) before leaving for the airport. While you’ve spent good money to see Peru and the anticipation has been building for months, or even years, that doesn’t mean you get to become an unreasonable dick as soon as immigration stamps your passport. Remember, you get what you pay for, and things are always going to be different in foreign countries, which is why you travel in the first place.

Pose questions rather than making demands. Think negotiation rather than confrontation.

Step 2
Hiding behind a keyboard, firing off angry emails, can feel deeply satisfying, but if you’re ever unhappy with any service (be it airline, hotel or Balinese masseuse) you need to let them know as soon as possible. For the best result, know the outcome that’ll make you happy, visit the help desk of your hotel (for example), and explain your problem in real-time, because then there’s a far greater chance of walking away happy.

Step 3
Remain calm and keep chatting, calling or emailing the relevant customer service rep. Pose questions rather than making demands. Think negotiation rather than confrontation, because asking, “Would you be happy with this?” gets better results than screaming, “I want my money back!” If you don’t get the response you’re after, ask to speak with a supervisor, and take your complaint up the chain. If you’re not getting any response at all, jump on social media to make your voice heard. And failing all that – if you believe the issue’s serious enough – you can take the official route and get in touch with a relevant government body.

Happy complaining!

Image: Furious about the lukewarm temperature of your cuppa tea? You’ve come to the right place.


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