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You Ask, We Answer: Your Favorite Questions

Las Vegas sights, including the fountains at Bellagio, can take your mind off the desert, maybe even the slots.
Las Vegas sights, including the fountains at Bellagio, can take your mind off the desert, maybe even the slots. (By Ethan Miller -- Getty Images)

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Sunday, February 4, 2007

The things you ask. And ask again. And again.

Don't get us wrong. We love assisting our readers in any way we can during our weekly online chats, and we learn as much from you as you do from us. But since we last ran this list of the most commonly asked questions a few years ago . . . well, many of them remain high on your priority list. Sure, everyone now wants to know if they can carry Jell-O onboard a plane, but we still get a multitude of queries on local spas and budget Paris hotels.

We've dusted off the list and updated the answers, plus added a few new questions. If you don't see your own travel questions addressed below, join us (most) Mondays at 2 p.m. for our  live online and ask away.

Q. Can you suggest a local getaway, B&B or regional spa?

A. You bet. Once you've narrowed down your choices -- beach? mountains? city? country? -- here are some resources that will get you there.

First, check the Travel section's Escapes features, which run Wednesdays in the Style section. Go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/escapes for the archive of local getaways (organized by state) and other Post articles about regional attractions and bed-and-breakfasts. Also, our neighboring states have gotten their online tourism acts together; for a look at how their Web sites compare, see Page P4.

The mid-Atlantic region has many spa options, with all different types and price ranges. In Virginia, choices include Lansdowne Resort, a corporate conference center in Leesburg; Kingsmill (ditto) in Williamsburg; and the venerable Homestead resort in Hot Springs. In West Virginia, you can visit the upscale Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs. In Pennsylvania, there's the Spa at Hotel Hershey in Hershey, the posh Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa in Farmington, and the rural spa retreat St. Joseph Institute in Port Matilda.

At such sites as Spa Finder ( http://www.spafinder.com/), Spa Addict ( http://www.spa-addicts.com/) and Spa Magazine ( http://www.spamagazine.com/), you can search by region and type of spa experience and use filters to identify those spas that provide slippers or include weight-loss programs.

What are some cheap hotels in Paris? In London? In New York?

The range of lodging options in these cities is as wide as the Sahara, and what one traveler considers "cheap" might be pricey for another. In general, however, to find lower-priced accommodations, start with online hotel discounters. For U.S. cities, go to Kayak ( http://www.kayak.com/), an aggregator that links to the sites with the most competitive rates. Also try Quikbook ( http://www.quikbook.com/) or Hotels.com ( http://www.hotels.com/). For hostels, check Hostels.net ( http://www.hostels.net/).

For Paris, London and other European cities, Expedia ( http://www.expedia.com/), EuropeHotelsOnline.com ( http://www.europehotelsonline.com/) and Venere ( http://www.venere.com/) are well worth a look. Frommer's Budget Travel magazine ( http://www.budgettravelonline.com/) and Lonely Planet guidebooks ( http://www.lonelyplanet.com/) often have good suggestions for low-cost guesthouses, B&Bs and hostels.

Other cost-cutting tips: Look for hotels outside the city center or in more residential areas, and consider booking an air-hotel package.


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© 2007 The Washington Post Company


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