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Aussie traveller $4000 out of pocket after non-refundable 'mistake'

The tour around the US was cancelled due to low booking numbers, leaving Tailah Pearson in a frustrating bind.

Pre-booked holiday tours are meant to take the stress out of travelling. After paying the up front costs, you just sit back, relax, and leave the company to do all the organising and logistics.

Tailah Pearson, a young traveller from Melbourne, thought this would be the case when she recently booked a 17-day trip across the US in April with tour-guide company Topdeck. However much to her surprise, was notified the tour was cancelled for not having "enough people" sign up for it.

Now Tailah has $4000 worth of flights and non-refundable accommodation that she subsequently booked, and three weeks of empty time that was meant to be spent on the tour.

Screenshots of Tailah taking from her TikTok video. Tailah has blonde hair and is wearing pink glasses.
Tailah Pearson has $4000 worth of flights and accommodation booked on top of the tour. Source: TikTok

Tailah paid for flights to and from the US separately and organised her own accommodation for the beginning and end of her trip. In between, the coach was meant to drive Tailah from New York City across the country to Los Angeles — stopping at iconic places along the way. But after cancelling, she doesn't know what to do with all the extras she's paid for. "I wasn't aware they could just cancel it," she told Yahoo News Australia.

Traveller sharing her 'mistake' with others

Tahlia didn't realise her Topdeck tour wasn't 100 per cent locked in after she made the booking. Looking back, she admits that buying the flights and extra accomodation as non-refundable was a mistake.

"At the time it was a few hundred dollars cheaper to book the non-refundable [accommodation], so I booked thinking, 'well, you’re not gonna be cancelling this, you’re going'," she explained.

Tahlia may be able to change her flight dates, but her accommodation only allows one date change, otherwise, she will lose that money entirely. "[I'll] probably have to pay more with the price fluctuations though," she added, lamenting that she originally booked well ahead of time in an attempt to save some money.

Yahoo has reached out to Topdeck for comment but has not yet had a response.

Do you have a story about your travels? Contact reporter Laura Koefoed at laura.koefoed@yahooinc.com

A promotional shot showing TopDeck travellers (left) and a map showing the west coast route of the trip (right).
A promotional shot showing Topdeck travellers (left) and a map showing the west coast route of the trip (right). Source: Topdeck

Frustrated with lack of options

Topdeck has no other trips in the US during her originally booked time, so determined to get her money's worth, Tahlia says she will likely get a refund for her Topdeck tour and either do the trip on her own or go with another touring company that has availability around the same time.

Despite the new plan, the whole experience and the lack of options she's been left with, has left her feeling "pissed off".

"They gave me the option to book the same tour at a different date but the other tour dates are $1000+ more as it's during the summer," she said. "They wouldn't honour my original booking price".

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