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Sunday, October 15, 2006

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LIQUID/GEL WATCH

Bottle, Baggie Etiquette

How many ways can you confuse the new rules about bringing liquids and gels through airport security? Lots, apparently. Security lines in many airports have been jammed as a result, said Darrin Kayser, spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration.

The rules state that you may bring through security as many three-ounce (or smaller) containers that will fit into a one-quart zip-top plastic bag. Here are common mistakes:

· Emptying liquids and gels into the bag. "It happens," Kayser says. Reader Butch Titcomb of Chester, Va., reports that he witnessed one case in Charlotte in which a woman had poured her toiletries into separate baggies and carefully labeled each "shampoo," "hand lotion," etc. She told security she had weighed each bag to make sure it wasn't more than three ounces. Officials let her through, but don't count on that.

· Putting large bottles into the bag, then claiming that all but three ounces has been used. "Security officials don't have scales and can't be expected to weigh each container," Kayser says. "That would create very long lines."

· Bringing more than one quart-size d bag per traveler.

· Bringing huge plastic bags. Quart-sized baggies are 7.5 by 8 inches, and the box is labeled "quart-sized."

· Bringing bags that fold at the top . Zip-top bags have a little piece of plastic that fits into a track, like a zipper.

· Bringing mesh bags . Yes, you can see through a mesh bag, but that's beside the point. You must use a zip-top bag.

Questions? Check the TSA Web site: http://www.tsa.gov/ .

STORM WATCH

Yes, You Cancun

You'd have to look closely to find evidence of Hurricane Wilma's devastation of Cancun a year ago. An extensive beach recovery project has been completed along the Mexican area's 12 miles of coastline, and all but a handful of Cancun's hotels and attractions are running at full capacity, says Lourdes Salazar, spokeswoman for the Cancun Hotel Association.

Not only have property owners made repairs, but many are making improvements : A complete overhaul of the golf course at the Hilton Cancun Golf and Spa Resort is expected to be completed by December. The Ritz-Carlton Cancun has a new culinary center. The J.W. Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa features a redesigned pool area and lobby. And the CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort has a new children's playground area. Both Marriott properties have been outfitted with windows designed to withstand Category 5 hurricanes.

Even though the current storm season has been less treacherous than last year's, those bound for Cancun before the hurricane season officially ends in November should ask their hotels what measures have been taken to protect or evacuate guests if necessary.

As for post-hurricane rate breaks, you're out of luck. With strong bookings at most hotels through the holidays and beyond, CoGo could find none offering significant discounts.

TRAVEL TICKER

Shop for bargains at a New York City fundraiser Nov. 9 and 10. For access to "Lucky Shops," you pay $65 the first day or $40 the second (if bought in advance) and get discounts while raising money for infants and toddlers. Details: 866-458-2598, http://www.luckyshops.com/ . . . Call from London to the United States for as little as 4 cents a minute with a new phone card. Details: http://www.visitlondon.com/ . . . Call 877-FIND-ATM to get a text message on your mobile phone telling you the closest ATM that accepts MasterCard.

BARGAIN OF THE WEEK

Hail Vail

United has a sale to destinations throughout Colorado's Rocky Mountains for travel through Dec. 15. The round-trip fare from Washington Dulles to Eagle County Airport near Vail is $339, including taxes; the fare usually starts at about $477. Buy by Thursday Oct. 19 at www.united.com, or pay $15 more by calling 800-864-8331; seven-day advance purchase required. Cheapest fares apply to Monday, Tuesday and Saturday travel; blackout dates are Nov. 22 and 26.

Reporting: Cindy Loose, Gary Lee

Help feed CoGo. Send travel news, road reports and juicy tattles tocogo@washpost.com. By fax: 202-912-3609. By mail: CoGo, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company


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