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Travel Q&A: Hiking Across England, What to Do With Luggage, Senior Travel

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By K.C. Summers
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, April 12, 2009

Q. Are there any tour companies you can recommend for a coast-to-coast hike of England? Do you think it's best for weekend hikers to do the hike with a guide rather than to attempt it on their own?

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Melanie Russell, Arlington

A. Long-distance walking is a wonderful way to experience the English countryside, and the 190-mile Coast to Coast Walk from Cumbria to Yorkshire is especially scenic, crossing three national parks. It generally takes 10 to 14 days to do the whole thing. Just be aware that the route is not signposted and that there are some fairly demanding stretches: steep grades in the Lake District, bare and exposed stages in the North York Moors, according to the Web site of the Ramblers (http://www.ramblers.org.uk/info/paths/name/c/coasttocoast.htm), a nonprofit British organization that promotes hiking. The group says experienced long-distance walkers should be able to tackle the trail on their own, assuming they're in good shape, have map and compass skills, and take the proper clothing and equipment.

Those new to long-distance hiking should consider a guide; the Ramblers Web site has many recommendations, including Wayfarers (http://www.thewayfarers.com), Contours Walking Holidays (http://www.contours.co.uk) and Let's Go Walking (http://www.letsgowalking.com). The site also has info on luggage carriers, tourism centers, maps (essential) and guidebooks (ditto).

I'm flying to Australia and have a 12-hour layover at LAX. I'm hoping to leave the airport. What can I do with my luggage?

Georgia Riedel, St. Leonard

As at most airports, lockers and oversize-item storage rooms at LAX are a thing of the past. But an off-site company called LAX Luggage Storage (http://www.laxluggagestorage.com) has stepped in to fill the gap. It picks up your luggage at curbside, stores it and delivers it to the appropriate terminal when you're ready to leave. Cost: $6 per day for a medium-size carry-on bag, plus a $10 pickup and drop-off fee per piece, plus a 10 percent airport fee. So you're talking a minimum of $17.60 to store one bag.

Another option: If you're planning to rent a car to get around during your layover, store your luggage in the trunk.

Your Turn

In response to the reader looking for quality travel opportunities for her recently widowed mother (Travel Q&A, April 5), Mary Ginn of Oakton recommends going with small groups "so I can meet other people and not feel restricted because I am traveling solo." She especially likes Overseas Adventure Travel (http://www.oattravel.com) and International Expeditions (http://www.ietravel.com). Joan Elias Gore of the University of Virginia says the school's Travel & Learn Programs sponsor trips led by U-Va. faculty and vetted guides. "We travel domestically and internationally, and our participants are adults of all ages, including many single older travelers," she said. Info: 800-346-3882, http://www.virginia.edu/travelandlearn. And Jim Seeley of the Fun & Fitness Travel Club (703-655-4205, http://www.fun-fitness.com) says his dues-free organization specializes in hosted exercise-theme cruises for seniors and offers free roommate matching.

Send queries by e-mail (travelqa@washpost.com) or U.S. mail (Travel Q&A, Washington Post Travel section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071). Please include your name and town.


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