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TOP QUESTIONS

Most Frequently Asked Travel Questions Answered

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

If we've told you once, we've told you a thousand times . . .

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And now we're telling you once more. Yes, it's that time again, when we take a look at the questions our readers send in all year during our weekly online chat, pull out the most common ones, and compile them in one place. With answers, of course.

So, read, heed and go. And if you don't see your own questions addressed below, join us (most) Mondays at 2 p.m. on http://www.washingtonpost.com/travel and ask away.

QCan you suggest a local getaway, B&B or regional spa?

AYou 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, and our regional getaway page, The Long Weekend, which runs in the Sunday 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. And check our nearby states' tourism Web sites: Maryland Office of Tourism, http://www.mdisfun.org; Virginia Tourism Corp., http://www.virginia.org; West Virginia Division of Tourism, http://www.wvtourism.com; Delaware Tourism Office, http://www.visitdelaware.com; New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism, http://www.nj.gov/travel; Pennsylvania Tourism Office, http://www.visitpa.com.

The mid-Atlantic region has many spa options, with different types and price ranges. In Virginia, choices include Lansdowne Resort, a corporate conference center in Leesburg; Kingsmill Resort and Spa in Williamsburg; and the venerable Homestead resort in Hot Springs. In West Virginia: the upscale Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs. In Maryland, the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michael's and the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge. In Pennsylvania: the Spa at the Hotel Hershey in Hershey, the posh Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, the Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford and the earthy 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.

When's the best time to go to . . . ?

There are, at minimum, three questions embedded here: When will I find the best weather? The lowest prices? The smallest crowds?

First, weather: Several Web sites give average monthly temperatures for areas all over the world, such as http://www.weatherreports.com, which charts average temps in 70,000 U.S. locations and 6,500 overseas destinations. If you hear that your destination has a rainy season, do some research: That can mean anything from constant downpours to short periods of showers between sunny skies.

For the best prices and least congestion, avoid traveling during school holidays, if possible. (Many schools this spring are breaking somewhere between March 23 and April 13.)


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