I Got a Refund from Airbnb for a Cancellation in Austin Due to Hurricane Harvey

About a month ago I made reservations on Airbnb to stay in a cute little apartment in Austin, Texas, over the weekend of Gay Pride, which was scheduled for August 26th and 27th. I was planning to drive down from Dallas on Friday the 25th after work and drive home on Sunday. As that Friday approached the ominous forecast about Hurricane Harvey looked like it might put a damper on things.

When I woke up on Friday morning, it was to news stories about the imminent threat of the hurricane as it approached the coast. People were evacuating Houston, and Austin was under alert for heavy rains, flooding, and loss of electricity, especially if the storm continued on toward Austin. There had been a run on supplies at supermarkets in Austin and the surrounding areas, leaving shelves empty. I decided to cancel my reservation. A few hours later the organizers of the Gay Pride fest announced that it was canceled as well (it has been rescheduled–more on that below).

After going through the process of canceling, I wrote a note to the landlord to say that I hoped he would offer a full refund due to the extenuating circumstances. He replied with a standard line: sorry, but we have a cancellation policy for a reason, and we will not be offering a refund.

The Airbnb policy in this situation appears to be that you have to wait 72 hours before you can open a dispute. I did so. When I went to the contact me page on the Airbnb website, I wrote a simple note explaining the situation and asking that they offer a full refund. There were notes on the site asking customers who were submitting requests that were directly related to Hurricane Harvey to save these things, in case the company wanted them as proof that the cancellation was related to the hurricane:

  • News coverage describing how the area around the listing was affected
  • Emails from local authorities advising you to evacuate, or warning you to stay away from the area

I did have some of those things, such as the news report I linked to above, but there was no way to provide them, and it turned out that I didn’t need to. Within 12 hours, I had received a response apologizing to me for the trouble, and offering a full refund, no questions asked. If you were planning to visit Austin for Gay Pride, and you canceled your plans, write to Airbnb and request a refund, even if your host (like mine) refused to provide one!

Regarding Austin Gay Pride, the parade has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 30th, and the festival will take place on Saturday, October 21st. It looks like I will miss the festival, but I do plan to make the parade!


Do I Need to Buy a Pass to Enjoy Southern Decadence?

Put simply: NO

The first thing I would tell you is that you DO NOT NEED TO BUY ONE OF THE PASSES—especially as a first-time visitor. The first time I was planning to attend, I worried about this and wondered if I should spring for one of the VIP packages at the Bourbon Pub, but please rest assured: you do not need a pass. Each venue has its own calendar of events for that weekend, and they each try to make it seem like you need a pass (guaranteed admission! No waiting in line!), but you can have a great time without ever attending any of those events. There are several websites . . . → Read More: Do I Need to Buy a Pass to Enjoy Southern Decadence?

What to pack for a trip to New Orleans

I love New Orleans! It is honestly my favorite city to visit in the United States. The culture, the food, the architecture, and the feel of the place make it a wonderful place to spend a few days or a week, absorbing a culture that is unique to this awesome city. But there are some things you might want to know, and some things that you can take with you that will make your trip that much more enjoyable. I will put a list of items at the end of this article, but I first wanted to point out a few things you might not think of.

The first thing to know . . . → Read More: What to pack for a trip to New Orleans

Basis by Elysium Health: My Experience After One Year

I previously wrote a post when I started using Basis by Elysium Health exactly one year ago today. I wanted to update with my experience using this product over the last year. My old post includes a link to request a working coupon code that will give you $10 off your first order–click the link at the top of that post and it will take you to the Elysium website. FYI, the discount will not show up in your cart until AFTER you have created an account by entering in your address, email address, etc.

My experience has overall been quite positive. It is a bit odd to try to quantify this, . . . → Read More: Basis by Elysium Health: My Experience After One Year

Pure For Men Is Not a Scam, but It IS a Rip-off—Save Your Money!

If you have opened Grindr or spent much time looking at the gay press lately, you have probably seen some ads pop up for a new product called “Pure for Men”. It is a product that promises to “Keep your runway clear for landing” (a clever tag line—these guys are great at marketing—which is good, since the success of their product is mostly due to that marketing). Pure for Men is basically a bulking laxative that promises to make your bowel movements more easily and completely eliminated from your body, leaving your lower colon “clean”—and ready for bottoming. No more enemas or shower wands—several customers have said they just shower and . . . → Read More: Pure For Men Is Not a Scam, but It IS a Rip-off—Save Your Money!

Gay Guys on Dating Apps are So Sensitive

Guys on dating apps are so sensitive. They don’t seem to understand that it can’t always be a match. When I have to turn someone down, I always do it politely by saying “Sorry”, and then I go the extra step of following up with an “I statement” that makes clear that it is about me and not them. They never seem to appreciate my polite gesture. For whatever reason, “Sorry, I am not desperate” always sends them over . . . → Read More: Gay Guys on Dating Apps are So Sensitive

Baderbräu Brewery Taproom Now Open in the South Loop/Bronzeville Neighborhood of Chicago

The taproom at Baderbräu Brewery has finally opened after months of delay. I work nearby, and I have been keeping my eye on it for a year now. I was finally able to stop by and try a beer this afternoon and I enjoyed the space. The taproom does not offer food currently, but they do have menus available from several local area restaurants that will deliver. They had 10 beers listed on tap (only Baderbräu brews, no guest taps currently), but I believe that only 8 of them were actually available. Three of the beers were available in cans: Baderbräu Pilsener, South Side Pride, and High Noon, their hefeweizen. The . . . → Read More: Baderbräu Brewery Taproom Now Open in the South Loop/Bronzeville Neighborhood of Chicago

On Fat-Shaming Wentworth Miller and Taylor Lautner in the Gay Community

I was inspired by a post I read by out gay actor Wentworth Miller last month, in which he broke down the things that were going on in his personal life at the time a photo was snapped of him that showed some weight gain. The photo was later turned into a cruel meme. He revealed in his powerful letter that he had been suicidal at the time the photo was taken. It is a visceral, emotionally raw piece of writing, and it is well worth a read.

A few weeks later, I saw another fat-shaming meme, but this time aimed specifically at the gay community. It featured young heartthrob Taylor Lautner . . . → Read More: On Fat-Shaming Wentworth Miller and Taylor Lautner in the Gay Community

The Best Dishwasher for a Small Apartment–I Love this Thing!

When I was looking for a new apartment in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, I saw many options at many different price points, based primarily on size and amenities. I consider a dishwasher a non-negotiable, must-have item, though, because I absolutely hate to do the dishes, and I hate having them clutter up the sink or counter. I had previously rented a beautiful vintage apartment that came without a dishwasher, and on that occasion, I solved the problem by purchasing a full-size roll-away dishwasher. I later sold it on Craiglist for almost what I had paid for it, when I moved to an apartment that came with a built-in dishwasher.

My favorite . . . → Read More: The Best Dishwasher for a Small Apartment–I Love this Thing!

BASIS by Elysium Health (including coupon code)

EDIT: If you want to receive the coupon code to receive a FREE MONTH of Elysium Basis, which is only available to friends and family, please contact me to request the link, and I will email it to you as soon as I can.

I recently saw an article about BASIS by Elysium Health. The gist of the article is that one of the world’s leading experts on aging, MIT biology professor Lenny Guarente, has banded together with some Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to bring to market a product that he believes has a great deal of potential to slow the process of aging in the human body. The process of taking his . . . → Read More: BASIS by Elysium Health (including coupon code)

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