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Your "Flight Crew," sitting from left: Christina Talcott, Andrea Sachs, Cindy Loose. Standing from left: Scott Vogel, K. C. Summers, John Deiner and Carol Sottili. (Julia Ewan -- TWP)

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The Flight Crew
Washington Post Travel Section
Monday, January 28, 2008; 2:00 PM

The Post's Travel Section Flight Crew will take your comments, questions, suspicions, warnings, gripes, sad tales and happy endings springing from the world of ... the world. Of course, the Flight Crew will be happy to answer your travel questions -- but the best thing about this forum, we insist, is that it lets travelers exchange information with other travelers who've been there, done that or otherwise have insights, ideas and information to share. Different members of the Crew will rotate through the captain's chair every week, but the one constant is you, our valued passengers.

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We know you have a choice in online travel forums, and speaking for the entire Flight Crew, we want to thank you for flying with us.

Submit your questions and comments before or during today's discussion.

You may also browse an archive of previous live travel discussions. For daily dispatches, check out Travel Log, the Travel section's new blog.


Andrea Sachs: Welcome, travelers, to your favorite, most escapist hour of the week. (Sorry "American Idol.")

Today's topic is international travel. Specifically, we want to know, in light of the weakening dollar and the fear of a recession, are you still traveling to distant lands? If so, what is the draw, the sacrifices, the overall appeal? Why are you not staying home?


Washington, D.C.:

Hi! I enjoy reading the Travel Blog, and try to check it once a week. I do have some concerns, however, about the corrections policy -- or lack of such a policy. Twice, I have seen other people point out obvious mistakes in the blog entries, i.e., "United Airways" instead of "United Airlines" and describing an underwater burial service as being a scattering of the ashes instead of using a small urn.

While these errors are noted in the "comments," no attempt is made by you folks to make the corrections in the actual blog entries themselves. You should be doing this, with bracketed comments to indicate the corrections. Otherwise, people will not see the corrections unless they go to the extra bother of clicking on the "view comments" link and going to that page.

Thanks for your consideration of this request!

John Deiner: Hey, DC. Excellent point: We need to be more diligent here to fix things within the blog when we make mistakes, and I promise to be on the lookout. (We said "United Airways"? Yikes). Thanks for the nudge, DC, and keep on reading.


Mill Valley, Calif.: Has anyone had any problems getting Clear Fly's customer service to respond? I have called a few times and they promise to call back with info but never do. Applied in Sept. '07, can't find out what if anything is the problem. Any suggestions re getting an answer from them?

Cindy Loose: That surprises me; has anyone else had this problem with Clear Fly---they're the folks who arrange for you to pay to go through dedicated security lanes at various airports.


Washington, Dulles: Hi guys!

Do you know if it's ok to take aerosol cans (like hairspray) on board in hand luggage? Are they subject to the same rules as liquids? I'm attempting to travel carry-on only for the first time!


Cindy Loose: Do not take the aerosol. Basically the rule is 3-1-1, meaning no liquid gel or aerosol container more than three ounces, in one, one-quart zip top bag, and take it out of your carryon for inspection before reaching inspectors in security line.

Go to www.tsa.gov for more detail--it will help you and everyone get through the line faster and could prevent the confiscation of something you value.


Bethesda, Md.: Any advice for shifting our son to Pacific time for a week? He'll be 10 months old when we travel to San Diego in March. He did great on the plane on a recent trip to Alabama, but didn't make the switch to Central time for the duration of our trip. No big deal for a one-hour difference, but a 3 a.m. wakeup won't be a pleasant vacation for any of us.

Scott Vogel: How well I remember those days. Truth is, trying to get a baby adjusted to a new time zone is not unlike changing anything regarding a child's bedtime: methods can be tedious and often unsuccessful. Having said that, you've got time on your side. Well in advance of your trip, start shifting your child's bedtime earlier (only by a quarter-hour or so each day) until he or she is going to bed at roughly the same time as a suitable PST bedtime (assuming that doesn't wreak havoc with your EST life!) Also use light to your advantage. Expose your baby to the sun as soon as you land in the West.

Would love to hear from other baby time zone veterans out there with fresh ideas!


Vienna, Va.: We're preliminarily thinking about a safari for our honeymoon. Do you know of any reputable companies that do this? We really haven't even started our planning, but I was sure you might have some great suggestions! Thanks!

Andrea Sachs: So much depends on where you want to safari, since companies often specialize in certain regions. But for luxury, Abercrombie and Kent (www.abercrombiekent.com) are top-notch. I have also worked with International Ventures (www.internationalventures.com)and 2Afrika (www.2afrika.com), and Thomson Safaris(www.thomsonsafaris.com) comes with a big seal of approval. Also, check ASTA's travel agent list (www.asta.org), which lets you find a specialist in your region.


Silver Spring, Md.: I'm going to be traveling by plane with my cat to Texas, and I've never traveled with a pet before. Do you have any tips?

KC Summers: Hi SS. First off, know that the Humane Society of the United States recommends against transporting your pet by plane if at all possible. Too many things can go wrong -- pets can get lost, dehydrated, panicked, etc. And if you must fly with your pet, don't put it in the cargo hold -- put it in an approved container that fits under the seat in front of you. The Humane Society has good tips for pet air travel at www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/caring_for_pets_when_you_travel/traveling_by_air_with_pets.


Washington, D.C.: I'm off to Quebec City to ski. I have the flight, I have the hotel... and that's it. Any tips or suggestions? How important and easy will it be to rent a car?


Cindy Loose: Quebec City is a fun place with lots to do; check out our stories at our archives--You don't have to pay for them if you go to www.Washingtonpost.com, then click arts and living, then travel then you'll see ways to pull up archived stories.

Don't know where you plan to ski---unless you're talking cross country through city parks I assume you mean you'll be skiing outside Quebec City. I suggest you contact your hotel about whether they provide transportation or can suggest public ways. The city is quite compact and a car isn't necessary, but I assume your ski destination is some distance from downtown.

While in the city stroll along the pathways in front ofthe Hotel Frontenac, see if the toboggan run between the hotel and the river is of interest--I love it. Museums, ice skating are two other attractions worth considering. Since they are celebrating their anniversary, they might have some free special events; I'd check out their tourism site.


10009: Hi Flight Crew,

A friend and I want to take President's Day weekend and get away someplace warm to celebrate her 35th birthday. We're willing to tack a day or two on to the trip but no more, and as I'm in N.Y. and she's in Chicago, would like someplace we can both get to via direct flights. We've thrown around Vegas and Mexico but thought you could offer some other suggestions! Thanks.

John Deiner: Hey, 10009. I'd discard Vegas myself. It can still be mighty chilly there in late February.

I'm a Floridaholic myself, so I'd suggest the state's west coast, perhaps Sanibel Island. Lots of nonstop flights from Chicago and NYC to Tampa/Fort Myers, etc. That's pretty much the midst of peak season, however, so anywhere that's warm you'd want to start planning for pronto -- plus you want to beat spring breakers wherever you go. To that end, you could also hit the Keys or Lauderdale and environs in the east.


Washington D.C.: We are planning a desert road trip in California to see Joshua Tree, the Salton Sea, and Anza Borrego park. I'm thinking it would be great to wrap up a week in the desert with a couple of nights of oceanside plushness. Aside from the Hotel del Coronado, any suggestions for a great waterfront place within an hour of San Diego to wash off that sand and dust?


Carol Sottili: Sounds like a great trip. Hope the weather clears up. Lots of rain in San Diego recently. If you like chains, the Manchester Hyatt down in Seaport Village is very nice and centrally located. It overlooks the harbor. In Pacific Beach, look at the Pacific Terrace Hotel (www.pacificterrace.com) and Tower 23 Hotel (www.tower23hotel.com). If you like quirky, try the Crystal Pier Hotel (www.crystalpier.com) in Pacific Beach. In La Jolla, the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club is right on the sand (www.ljbtc.com).


Bethesda, Md.: My husband and I will be in South Africa from July to November, volunteering at a small Anglican college in Grahamstown. We will have a week or two off in September, and would like to travel somewhere nearby while we have the chance. But where? Swaziland? Mozambique? Madagascar? We're both well past the backpacking stage, but still moderately adventurous. Opinions/ideas from you and the chatters, please!

Christina Talcott: I'm so jealous! I just got back from SA and am already dying to go back. I considered taking trips into Mozambique, Swaziland or Lesotho, but there was way too much to do and seeing South Africa itself - Cape Town, the winelands, Durban and Johannesburg could easily fill a whole week each, and the game parks (I visited Hluhluwe in KwaZulu Natal, which was phenomenal and reasonably-priced) are terrific. Since you'll be in Grahamstown, driving the rest of the garden route to Durban, and using that city as your jumping-off point to explore KwaZulu Natal's Drakensburg mountains, game parks and quaint towns of the midlands, would be my choice. If you're keen to explore nearby countries, I've heard great things about driving the Sani Pass to Lesotho, visiting the dunes and beaches of Namibia and renting a villa in Mauritius. Any chatters have other southern African advice?


KC Summers: Folks, I completely forgot to say that we have Richard Morin with us today, ready to answer any questions or comments you may have about his wonderful Belize fishing piece that ran yesterday. Here's your chance to get the real scoop on bonefishing, Belikin beer, jaguars and other Belizean delights, so ask away.


Central Va.: I enjoyed the article last week on cruises .. has anyone thought about reporting on the newest trend, European River Cruises? We have just booked our first trip and found that most of the ships are booked solid for the summer already. Our travel agent told me that he is already booking trips for 2009 as the most desirable cruises are already sold out for 2008.

Scott Vogel: Thanks for the tip! European cruises of all types (river cruises included) are hot right now. That's in part because -- as my colleague Andrea Sachs reported in the Post last week -- cruisers pay for their trips in dollars and therefore avoid currency surprises (at hotels, restaurants, etc.) while abroad. As you note, European cruises are extremely popular, however. Experts suggest that travelers try to book passage in May or September (somewhat slower periods) and that you be flexible with dates. If all else fails, be patient. Major cruise lines like Carnival are adding Baltic and Mediterranean itineraries all the time.


Washington, D.C.: Just booked a trip to Turkey. The package seemed like a great value for the money, especially when compared with Europe (flights, some meals, 12 nights hotel, transportation between 4 cities, added on 4 optional day tours, and services of a tour direction when & if I need him/her) all for $2000 total including taxes & fees. Any tips (beyond the common sense stuff) for a 30 yr old woman traveling alone?

Andrea Sachs: Besides the usual (don't walk alone at night, dress conservatively, etc.), you should check out the tips at Journeywoman (www.journeywoman.com), a resource for solo female travelers. Besides good advice, the site also lists real stories from women who have traveled in specific regions and countries. Also, be sure you are well-versed in the common customs of Turkey. You might, for example, want to browse through the Turkey edition of the "Culture Shock! Guides" series.


Arlington, Va.: I want to second the rant on public transport to Dulles. I do live in Rosslyn where I can catch that moderately convenient bus that stops somewhere at Tyson's Corner and a Herndon parking lot. Obviously, I would prefer Reagan National but often a trip to the west coast and the Southwest covered areas of New England require bus and Metro to Dulles and BWI. I have friends who come from out-of-town who wonder why a national capitol can't justify rapid transit from the airport to town as they do, at whatever prices they do charge, in London, Paris, and Amsterdam.

Christina Talcott: Hi Arl, thanks so much for writing in! There've been so many responses to that blog entry (http://blog.washingtonpost.com/travellog/), and I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who thinks we need a better way to get to Dulles and feels bad for tourists trying to bumble their way through the options available.


Sacrifices: My sacrifice in 2008 is that I only plan to go to Europe once, instead of 3 times (like 2007). Unless some huge fare cuts happen, or something.

On the other hand, my second 2007 trip to Europe was to Portugal which was as cheap as Italy was five years ago. So that could be a second trip again in 2008.

Even going to Canada isn't cheap anymore.

Andrea Sachs: Maybe you can make that once last for a month?!?


Columbia, Md.: Well, back to your opening question...

I've got about 50 euros and 100 UK pounds stuck away from past trips. Leftover foreign currency usually "burns a hole in my pocket" and prods me to start planning the next trip. But with today's devalued dollar, that Euromoney isn't burning a very big hole in my slacks!

Andrea Sachs: You can turn it into jewelry, charge twice as much as the pound/euro itself, and make enough to pay for a trip abroad.


Alexandria, Va.: Hello Flight Crew,

I have a slight problem: Heading to Maui this summer (family there) that's not the problem... Flying 12+ hours with three boys 2,5,7. Should I fly to the west coast (LAX/SFO)(spend the night) or fly out of one of the hubs and direct into Maui? The other problem is five tixs to Maui but that's mine... Thanks,

Scott Vogel: First piece of advice: just keep telling yourself "Maui is at the end of this nightmare." Kidding. You may well have a great trip. My personal view -- again, I'm open to others -- is that the 2-year-old, in particular, should only have to endure one ascent and descent in an airplane. Then again, I'm the type who likes to get the flying part of a trip over with ASAP, especially with kids. So I vote for traveling to a hub and getting a direct flight, if possible.


Pittsburgh, Pa.:1. "In light of the weakening dollar and the fear of a recession, are you still traveling to distant lands?"

I hope so! I'd like to make my fourth trip to the Azores later this year. While Portugal uses the Euro as currency (which was only worth 89.5c on my 1st visit there in May 2002, sigh), the country's still reportedly the best tourism deal in western Europe. If I arrange my trip as economically as reasonably possible, I can afford it; last time I did all my own bookings (international and local air travel, lodgings) online.

2. "If so, what is the draw, the sacrifices, the overall appeal?"

I have distant cousins and numerous friends I've made there whom I enjoy seeing. I also have further genealogical research to do in the archives, plus I like to try to improve my halting Portuguese language skills (and a good many of the natives like to practice their English on me!). The climate's temperate year-round, and the scenery's still unspoiled (see their recent #2 National Geographic Traveler ranking out of over 100 island tourist destinations on environmental/sustainability criteria). In terms of "sacrifice" (ha!), I'd rather stay in a clean but modest pensao (popular among Portuguese tourists) than at a hotel aimed at prosperous foreigners; I buy fresh food for snacks at local mercados and bakeries, and take other meals in local cafes where the natives eat (breakfast is normally included in pensao rates). I figure, why travel all that way just to meet primarily other foreigner tourists and live like an American?

3. "Why are you not staying home?"

Life is short.

Andrea Sachs: All excellent reasons, and totally worth the investment.


Flyover, IN: I'm on an international trip right now. I had a chance to go to Dubai and I've taken it. For me, it's a chance to explore an ancient culture and try to understand a different part of the world. Dubai seems be an easier entry into the Arabic world for a westerner. I'm watching my pennies and dirhams which can be tough in a place like this.

Andrea Sachs: Hope you find an oil well while there and you can enjoy the country like a sheik.


Silver Spring, Md.: Another honeymoon question: My fiance and I are getting married in November. Which would you choose? Turks and Caicos, Maldives, or Aruba?

KC Summers: I vote for the Maldives, based on the president of the three-foot-high country being on NPR this morning talking about their desperate measures to keep from going underwater by rising sea levels. They're frantically building walls and barriers and even a whole artificial island. So it's really a case of go now, before the place disappears.

But aside from that sympathy vote, the answer to your question really depends on what you like to do. If you like wind sports (windsurfing etc) and gambling, and don't care much about lush green vegetation, Aruba would be perfect for you. If you like laid-back places with not much nightlife, plus fantastic diving and snorkeling, Turks & Caicos would suit. And the Maldives, of course, has some of the best diving in the world, with amazing visibility underwater and great instructional programs.

Anyone want to weigh in on this?


Anonymous: The item in this weekend's Q&A about mosquitoes in India, and the admonition to avoid getting bitten at all, brings to mind just how many diseases traveler's can get from mosquitoes. While a small number of reported cases of yellow fever (carried by mosquitoes)in Brazil made many news reports, dengue fever is much, much more prevalent in many countries,including Brazil and India, and there is no vaccine. The only prevention is to not get bit by the mosquito that carries it (which is active during the day). The CDC Web site's traveler's health section is a good resource. Happy travels!

Scott Vogel: Thanks for the reminder re mosquitos. They really carry a smorgasbord of diseases, more than even I thought. Another thing I learned: just because you're traveling to a city, don't think you're immune. Those little creatures have adapted to most every temperature and environment.


Capitol Hill: My wife and I are traveling to Istanbul and Athens this fall and are looking for a good place to stay. Any suggestions on good areas to stay that would serve as a good jumping off point to see these cities and be able to get a hotel for under $200-2500 a night?

Andrea Sachs: Wish I could pull that answer out of my hat, but unfortunately, I have never to either place. Any chatsters have suggestions?


Raleigh NC: K.C., thank you for first recommending NOT flying with a cat. I am severely allergic to cats. Severely. I was on a flight about two years ago where I was seated a row ahead of a cat-lover that HAD to have her cat on board. No, the cat wasn't directly under my seat, but under the seats in my row. It was a very full flight, and we were on the plane for about 4 hours total., and I did not realize the cat was there until about 20 minutes into the flight, when I started reacting. Sneezing, watery eyes, itchy throat. And the flight attendant could not get anyone to change seats. About 45 minutes before landing, I started wheezing, and when we landed, had to go straight to an emergency room for an asthma breathing treatment. Not fun. PLEASE, people, do not fly with animals!! Many people are allergic, and frankly, you cat's comfort is secondary to my (ant others) health.

KC Summers: One more reason not to fly with your cat... The airlines' usual answer to problems like this is to have people change seats, but as we see here, they won't always move.


International Travel: The dollar goes up and down. If you wait to travel only during up times, you'll miss out.

When I studied in Italy in college 20+ years ago, we watched as the dollar sank from 1500+ lira to just at 1000 lira. As if being a poor college student wasn't bad enough! But, I still found ways to travel through Europe and have the experience of a lifetime.

Now in our 40s, we want our daughter to experience the wonders of travel and other cultures. So, we may need to suck it up here & there, but we still go.

It's still important to see all the U.S. sites, but it's easier to plan those, especially for long weekends, than it is to plan for overseas travel.

Just my $.02

Andrea Sachs: Your two cents are worth a million. I completely agree with your logic.


Don't put the cat under your seat!: Are you kidding? I am highly allergic to cats; if I saw one nearby me, I'd go ballistic.

Leave the kitty home, please.

KC Summers: Another vote for no kitties on board.


Washington, D.C.: Boy is this annoying: I just booked a flight on airtran on the web special fare ($114 each way for a 1 stop flight) and when I selected seats discovered it was going to cost $5 to select any available seat and $20 for an exit row with more legroom. Not surprisingly, all of the exit row seats were empty. I haven't used airtran in a while, but it was the cheapest out of DCA this time... But when did they start this practice of charging for a seat???? Yuck. This now makes it more of a last resort than before.

Carol Sottili: They've been charging for preassigned seating since last summer. This practice is commonplace among European discount carriers, and expect it to become more common here. There are strong opinions in both camps. Some travelers argue they would rather pay a rockbottom fare with no extras, saying they shouldn't have to pay for stuff they don't want (seat assignments, checked bags, snacks, etc.). Others would prefer paying more as long as they aren't asked to pay extra fees. You did say Airtran was the cheapest out of DCA - if it was more than $10 cheaper, you could have added seats and still come out ahead, right?


Washington, D.C.: Any suggestions on fun activities in Ft. Lauderdale in March for kids? Thanks!

John Deiner: You mean besides the beach? Make 'em swim!

No, there's a ton of fun stuff for kids in Fort Lauderdale, among them Butterfly World (www.butterflyworld.com), which has at least 5,000 butterflies under glass at all times. It's supposed to be a wonderful, relaxing time for all. There's also the Museum of Discovery and Science, with a 3-D Imax theater, and any number of fanboat rides in the Everglades. And we've heard great things about Wannado City, which is kids central. Young'uns can pretend to be a firefighter, chef -- and, according to its Web site (www.wannadocity.com), even a bailiff.

Any other ideas out there?


New York, N.Y.: In response to today's question - yes I'm definitely still traveling although I am definitely aiming for places where the dollar isn't too weak -- Thailand, Vietnam and Turkey are my options for my big trip this year. I love to travel and the expense definitely makes me think about it a little more, but it would never keep me from doing it completely!

Andrea Sachs: Wise idea--travel in countries where our currency is worth more than peanuts.


Silver Spring, Md.: I know that Toronto doesn't qualify as far away, but with the decline of the U.S. dollar, compared to the 40 percent bonus of 10 years ago, I figured I'd have a hard time keeping to my budget during a recent trip. Much to my surprise, I found good deals for hotels, and by avoiding the current Toronto hotspots, I ate well for prices that seemed better than D.C. Like your reporter, Cindy Loose, I found great little venues for music, with tickets less than $20 bucks a pop. A couple of weekends ago, I saw three of my favorites in one weekend, Willie Nile from New York and Toronto's Kat Goldman and Kirsten Jones. So, if Europe, has become too expensive, why not consider a weekend trip to Canada? One problem, however, is that the regular fares to Toronto are much too high for a 90-minute trip -- $400 to $550. Got to look for the last minute weekend fares (United has had quite a few to Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa) and sale fares that sometimes reduce costs by 50 percent or more. By the way, I loved your recent story on Toronto. Your author is right. Toronto is a major international city with beautiful and expensive new hotels and facilities, but a place where you can still find an interesting and unusual venue that you can't find anyplace else, including NYC.

Cindy Loose: One measure of how the city is growing--direct flights from Europe, Middle East and Asia. I.E. people are coming from far, far away.


Arlington, Va.: My in-laws are not well enough to travel, so I need tickets for my family to visit the UK this summer. Right now travel for July or August is over $1000 each. Is there any hope of a sale or fare war? Any other suggestions?

Andrea Sachs: There is no way of knowing if fares will rise or fall, but most likely, peak summer season will stay high. One way to reduce prices is to fly to a less convenient airport, say Gatwick vs. Heathrow. Or, if you find a cheaper fare to another European city, you can then take a budget airline to England.


Washignton, D.C.: I am lucky enough to use a frequent flier miles ticket in June to Buenos Aires and Rio! However, I need to book a flight or some method of travel one way between BA to Rio. I have no idea about the local airlines or trains or even the distance between those two cities. Any suggestions from someone out there on a fun, easy, affordable way to get between the two?


Cindy Loose: It's a far piece between the two--a bus would take at least 24 hours, probably a lot more.

Unless you have tons of time to take a cruise between the two, plan to fly. The trick will be buying a one way ticket online; you might have to go to a travel agent to buy that before departure. But airlines to try: Varig (www.varig.com) or Tam at tam.com.br or www.transbrasil.com.br.


washingtonpost.com: Aruba: Windy and Breezy With Chance of Gusts, (Post, Feb. 23, 2003)


Washington, D.C.: Maybe you could make a list of countries that either use the U.S. dollar or that peg the value of their local currencies to it? That would make a nice overview for potentially affordable destinations.

Andrea Sachs: Great idea. We will think about it.


Toronto-Bound: Thank you for last week's articles on Toronto. I was already thinking of going this spring and your article was what I needed to go ahead and book my flights/hotel. I'm very much looking forward to the trip.

Cindy Loose: Have a good time.


Takoma DC: I flew Southwest this weekend for the first time since the new system where you get a number for your place in line. This was also the first time I'd checked in online ahead of time. Why is the only way to check in ahead of time online? Why can't they provide a phone option? I wonder because, while I was away for the weekend, I didn't have internet access, but would've loved to get that out of the way (I suppose this means they would have had to print my actual boarding pass at the airport). I dunno...I guess I just don't understand the point of checking in that far ahead. Is it to get a commitment from me that I'm actually flying?

John Deiner: Hey, DC. Ah, Southwest and its wonderful boarding policy. First, I used the new system for the first time last week, and I actually really liked it. Not perfect, since there's still that weird crush to get onto the plane and the mess of people scampering for seats once you get on, but it's all much more orderly, and I liked talking to the people around me.

But that 24-hour check-in policy is still an aggravation. I suspect you have to do it online for security reasons, though I'm not quite sure. (What's the word, folks? Any idea why you HAVE to do it online?) But you don't need to check in online so you can print out your boarding pass. You can do that when get to the airport -- plenty of kiosks available for you to do it once you arrive.

And the reason you're checking in that early is so that you can secure your place in line in that rush for seats. You know, A Group rules the world, while C Group sits in middle seats and has to cram their bags in the overhead (if they fit at all).


Pittsburgh, Pa.: Fiance and I have decided to book our honeymoon to Aruba, which will be late October/early November of this year. We are staying at an all-inclusive (the Occidental Grand Aruba). We're pretty active people and not good at sitting around on the beach reading all day. Hubby-to-be and I are both golfers, and we've already booked a tee time at Tierra del Sol.

Everyone says we'll want to relax and be lazy after all of the wedding craziness, but we'd go nuts sitting on our butts for a week straight. Any suggestions for other things to see and do on Aruba?

KC Summers: Aruba's big on water sports -- windsurfing, kitesurfing and such -- so that should keep you busy. Plus, there's a national park with lots of caves and places to explore. Also, casinos galore.

Anyone else got Aruba tips for our honeymooners?


Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: Due to the weak dollar, I'm spending my vacation in Argentina this year, where prices still seem to be good for Americans! (Of course, the plane ticket down there was another story...)

Andrea Sachs: But it's like Harvard: Once you are in . . .


Budapest: Hi! I'm leaving for Budapest on Friday. What would you guys do/see there if you had three days?

Christina Talcott: I always like walking tours, which you can usually book at your hotel or hostel. On your own, you can get a travel guide, like the DK Eyewitness series or any others with walking tour suggestions. Then bundle up and stroll along the Danube, taking in all the historic buildings that line the river separating Buda from Pest. The baths at the Gellert Hotel are a really unique experience, with a soak in the Turkish-style pools followed by a massage. Walk around City Park, visit Castle Hill and take in the sights and sounds at Great Market Hall. Other suggestions out there?


Native Californian: To the chatter who mentioned visiting Joshua Tree: You don't say what time of year you'd be there, but unlike the other two spots, it's in the high desert, so can be pretty chilly at night this time of year, and even into March, at least for camping outdoors. Not sayin' you shouldn't go -- the trees typically bloom in late March, as I recall, and in places extend for as far as the eye can see! -- but do a little more research so as not to be disappointed. BTW, I believe the nearest town is 29 Palms, where there might be motels and restaurants; that's where we went for water, since there's very little in the actual park.

Andrea Sachs: Thanks for the advice!


Herndon, Va.: Hello, Mr. Morin, I thoroughly enjoyed your fly-fishing article in Sunday's Post!

Frankly, I was surprised that the former Director of Polling (who deals with statistics) has written such an eloquent and picturesque piece which made me want to hop on a flight for Belize immediately! Thanks so much!

KC Summers: Rich says:

Hey, when you go, give me a call. I want to join you, particularly when the weather's hovering in the 30s here in Washington.


Maryland: When are the best (cheapest) days of the week to fly Air Jamaica or another nonstop flight from BWI? We would probably be going in March. Thanks!

Cindy Loose: I'm not aware of prices being higher or lower according to the day, but if I had to guess, I'd say that if there is a difference, the most expensive time would be the most popular time, i.e. leaving on weekend.

Unless you want to pop for help from a travel agent, I'd say experiment by going online and trying different days. Lots of sites will do that kind of search for you for domestic flights--if you say you're flexible will tell you what days are cheapest. But I don't think anyone does that for overseas flights.


Arlington, Va.: Hi Flight Crew! I have an opportunity to go to Athens, Greece this April, but all the flights seem to be $1000+. Is this typical for that time of year? Can I hold out any hope that they might come down? Thanks!

Carol Sottili: That's the going rate right now. It seems high, but airfares to Europe are not cheap this year. You could try pricing it by flying into London and then taking Easyjet to Athens - may be cheaper, but you'd have to get from Heathrow to Luton, I believe.


Salt Lake, Utah: Cindy, I don't know why you said 'don't take the aerosol', and then went onto explain it's ok as long as it fits the 3-1-1 rule.

I travel frequently for business and carry on a lot, so as a female/product junkie, I have taken great pains to find my favorite hair and skin products, including an aerosol hairspray, gel and more -- in allowable sizes. I've no problems to date.

Just compliments on how much stuff I actually cram into my 1 quart, eagle creek brand/faa approved zippered bag.

Cindy Loose: I guess I was assuming, since he was asking if aerosols were included in the three ounce rule, that he was thinking of taking an aerosol that was larger than three ounces.

But you are right; you can take an aerosol if it fits the overall rule about three ounces or less.


Belikin: I stayed at Victoria House a few years ago and loved it. Any ideas were I can get a Belikan in the D.C. area? Or should I just go back? They had this wonderful tea, too -- sorrel I think?

KC Summers: From Rich:

There *are* some distributors in the U.S. I've searched for Belikins in some of my favorite stores here in D.C., but haven't found one yet. Can anyone out there help us??

And I'll try the tea!


For the trip to Maui: I dont know how much cost is a factor, but what I would try to do is do a long trip during bedtime. I dont know how it works for schedule but there are direct flights to hono from the big hubs in the central and eastern time zone. I dont know when they do those flights but that is an option.

Scott Vogel: Another thought regarding the long trip to Hawaii with kids.


Bethesda, Md.: A friend and I are graduating in May and want to teach English abroad for a year before embarking on our "real" careers. Do you (or any of the chatters) know of any reputable teaching programs in Seoul, South Korea or have any advice otherwise?

Christina Talcott: Hi there, the JET program in Japan is a terrific program, but I don't have any names of programs in Korea. Have you looked on transitionsabroad.com or visited your school's career office? Any chatters have info for Bethesda?


Recent honeymooner: For the honeymooners-to-be, I am a huge fan of Aruba. There is nightlife (and GREAT restaurants) and beach/water activities if you choose them, but you can also get in plenty of low-key beach time. The "low-rise" hotels tend to be less crowded w/families/kids. We honeymooned in Aruba in November and stayed at the Bucuti Resort (a "low-rise"). The resort offered a great honeymoon package and catered to couples--we didn't want to leave. Congrats!

KC Summers: A vote for Aruba for our honeymooners. Thanks much.


Oak Hill, Va.: Hello! My husband and I live in northern Virginia and will be celebrating our 25th anniv. come October. Any suggestions for a couple who want to stay within the confines of North America and who also enjoy being near water and, perhaps,fishing -- the lazy kind -- where you drop the worm in and wait and see . . .

Andrea Sachs: How about any of the Great Lakes? Maybe rent a little cabin with dock access on Lake Michigan? Or if you like rivers, maybe head out to Big Sky country.


Alexandria, Va.: I have a question about the Galapagos cruises. Are any of them completely non-smoking? I know most don't allow smoking in the cabins and dining rooms, but allow smoking on deck. My asthma makes me very sensitive to smoke, even in open areas. I recently read a trip report where the couple reported being driven off the deck by the amount of smoking going on. Any ideas on how to avoid getting on a trip with a lot of smokers, if there aren't non-smoking cruises? Thanks.

John Deiner: Good question, Al. And I'm at a loss here...I would guess that most cruises will allow smoking on an open deck, though, geez, why befoul the Galapagos? Be aware that some of the ships/yachts/schooners/whathaveyou are rather small, so you may not be able to dodge the smoke.

As for how to avoid a large group of smokers, that's a good one. I was lucky when I sailed there -- there were about 25 of us onboard, and no one smoked. Anyone out there with a good suggestion for our friend in Alexandria?


Boca Raton, Fla.: Stuff in Ft. Lauderdale.

Depending on the age, they can go kayaking in some of the state parks.

But down here in March, the beaches and pools are the best thing for the kids.

John Deiner: Thanks, Boca...good stuff.


Downtown D.C.: Re: Traveling with Cats. I lived abroad for a year and could not leave my cats behind. They had to travel in cargo, which freaked me out completely but they seemed absolutely fine with it. The important thing is to do the research ahead of time, some airlines have much better records with pet transport than others, and get them checked out by the vet ahead of time. There may be some risks, but there are risks in everything in life.

KC Summers: Well, true. Except they could die. But yeah, do your research. For example, don't fly them during certain months when the temp in the cargo hold is either freezing or too hot. (Some airlines have their own blackout dates.)


Columbia, Md.: I'm an older (much older) student looking for suggestions on a relatively inexpensive trip to Toronto for myself and my husband. I want to take in a particular stage production playing up there, "Evil Dead: the Musical," which opens on Valentine's Day and closes on April 5. I wouldn't mind staying over the night and seeing a bit of the town. What suggestions would you give for transportation to Toronto? Are there any particular hotels near the cultural district that would be good and not too steep? Our budget is a bit constrained.

Cindy Loose: Given we're talking major city you're looking at at least $125 a night; for a nice hotel you'd be looking at $145 if you found a sale at someplace like the Sutton Place. I mentioned in the story the cheapest place I could find, which was hostel-like.

As far as getting there: Fares tend to be higher than they should given how close it is, but a lot of winter sales have been coming up, for $250 or less. ($500 is normal without a sale.) The alternative is to fly cheap to buffalor and rent a car, but that's not a good idea if you only have one night.


Washington, D.C.: Hi travel dears,

Can you please repost the link to the site that lists all the cheap European carriers and where they go? I'm looking to see how best to go from either Rome or Naples down to Palermo or Agrigento without taking the long, long train (it was fun the first time, but I want to explore other options). Many thanks!

Andrea Sachs: We can't recall running such a list recently, but here are some helpful Web sites:

www.Flybudget.com, www.Whichbudget.com and www.attitudetravel.com


Washington, D.C.: I know that you are the FLIGHT Crew, but do you answer Amtrak questions as well? Why is it SO expensive to get from DC to NY? Can I find a ticket that starts somewhere before DC on the line and ends after NY that is (probably) less expensive and then just get on/off in DC/NY? I'm not a business person -- the demographic that these exhorbitant fares seem aimed at -- I just want a cheap(er) way to visit the family and not have to get in the car. How is it that Europe has such an advanced train system and here we can barely get 250 miles in three hours?


Cindy Loose: I'm a huge fan of trains, so understand your pain. European trains are more highly subsidized than ours, that simple.

Have you tried pricing tickets at times that are not attractive to business travlers? Fares vary dramatically by time and day, so that might offer some small relief.


Liquids/Gels to Paris?: What are the international regulations, please, with liquids and gels? Specifically, flying direct into/out of CDG. Thank you!

Christina Talcott: Hi there, I'm afraid international travelers to and from CDG in Paris have to follow liquid/gel rules almost identical to America's: 100 ml (3.4 oz) containers in a 20cm x 20cm (8in x 8in, or 1-liter) baggie. From www.aa.com:

Small quantities of liquids are permitted in hand luggage. These liquids must be in individual containers with a maximum capacity of 100 ml/3.4 oz. each.

The containers must be packed in one transparent re-sealable plastic bag that does not exceed 20 cm x 20cm (8 inches x 8 inches) or equivalent to one liter capacity per passenger.

Exemptions to the liquids rule apply for liquid medicine or baby milk/food (if a baby or small child is traveling).

All liquids carried on must be presented separately to the screeners at the security checkpoints for examination.


Online check-in: I too have been in a situation where I want to check in but don't have internet access while traveling. An important thing to note is that you don't have to print the boarding pass ahead of time, you can do that at the airport, which makes it somewhat easier. For example, one time we were able to check in using our BlackBerry, which held our place in line even if we had to print the pass later. But you could also call someone and have them check in for you. Who will know?

John Deiner: Yeah, I think that's a real popular way to do it...to call a friend. I know I do when I don't have access to a computer. But that Blackberry idea is excellent.


New York, N.Y.: To the Buenos Aires/Brazil traveler, do not take Varig!!! Last year, I booked a frequent flier ticket to Rio and Salvador, and like you, the only thing I had to pay was one way betweeen Rio and Salvador. That portion was ticketed by American Airlines, but not on them and on Varig.

Well, Varig wound up having economic problems and canceling nearly all their flights and my ticket was canceled. I wound up buying another ticket on TAM with a 13-hour layover. I spoke to someone at Varig three times, and their suggestion was to show up at the airport in Rio and see if another airline would put me on a flight. Riiiight.

On the upside, Buenos Aires is absolutely amazing and Brazil is fantastic as well.

Cindy Loose: Hey, thanks for the first hand Varig insights. Brazil has also had air traffic control problems, but what can you do?


Metro From Dulles: May I note that people landing at Dulles are given very little guidance as to how to get to the Metrobus. It may have something to do with the commerical operations that run Super Shuttle and the like, but people end up paying hefty fares to get into the District because they don't see the options clearly.

Christina Talcott: Thanks for your two cents! I agree.


Last MInute Prez Weekend Deals?: This is probably crazy, but do you think I might be able to find any non-expensive last minute President's Day weekend deals to anywhere warm? Arizona, Florida, Carribbean, etc? It turns out that might be my last free weekend before starting a new job...

Andrea Sachs: If you can do last-minute, you very likely can snag a deal. Check travel Web sites like Travel Zoo, SideStep and Smarter Travel for specials.


Washington, D.C.: Going to Madrid for work. I have two days off. I've been to Madrid and seen the fabulous city. Is there anything you suggest for a short way away?

KC Summers: Yes, Toledo is a great day trip. It's an ancient fortress city with a beautiful cathedral, great shopping and some interesting galleries. Plus an El Greco if I'm not mistaken. Another choice: Segovia. But really, two days in Madrid is not enough to see and experience even a smattering of the fabulous art, shopping, tapas, etc etc.


Washington, D.C.: To book some flights, what does it mean that they are "subject to government approval"? Is this about having a more open airspace? If I book that might it not take off, or does it mean I might be barred from the flight because the government thinks I'm shady? I've never seen this before!

Carol Sottili: It means that the flight has not received government approval. In other words, the airline has petitioned for a flight on that route, but hasn't received the final OK. I haven't seen the "subject to government approval" line very often, but it may be more common in light of the tentative open skies agreement between the European Union and the United States (this would allow more foreign carriers to fly here, and vice verse). You still may be barred from the flight if you look shady, but it will have nothing to do with this particular line.


Washington, D.C.: What's up with all the cat haters? Aren't people with allergies responsible for seeing that their needs are accomidated? I have a friend who is deathly allergic to peanuts and she calls ahead to let the airline know this before she travels. As long as cats are permitted to travel in the cabin, the highly allergic should take the initative to ensure that they are not seated by a cat. There may situations where people have no choice but to transport their pets by air (such as overseas moves). They should not be forced to endanger their pet's lives just in case someone with an allergy is traveling on the same flight.

KC Summers: The cat fight is heating up....


S. Rockville, Md.: I'm still headed abroad this year, just trekking north, like so many others have already suggested. We won't be flying, we'll be taking the RV and camping near Toronto and Niagara Falls. While the dollars are basically at par, it won't feel like a bath, and the camping will help keep overall costs down. But now that you've blown the lid on Toronto, I have to hope people around here have short memories and will forget about it by July and August when I go to escape the DC summertime!

Cindy Loose: I think they'll still be room for you in Toronto; camping sounds really fun.


Southwest's boarding policy?: I can walk a little, but to navigate an airport require wheelchair service. I've never flown Southwest before, but am contemplating a trip to California. Would they allow a partially-impaired older lady traveling alone to board first? I couldn't handle the zoo-like conditions referenced by other posters here.

Andrea Sachs: Yes, they have priority boarding for those with special needs. Check with an agent at the gate for assistance.


Tampa, Fla.: My husband and I would like to travel to Sedona, AZ in June for about a week. Can anyone recommend places to stay? Enchantment is way too expensive, but we want to stay somewhere really nice and romantic (but not a B&B).

We would like to visit the Grand Canyon and I hear it is about a two-hour drive from Sedona. If we head out early in the morning, it could be a great day trip, but my brother-in-law says that we might want to stay overnight -- he stayed two days and said that they were busy the whole time. Problem is, we don't want to have keeping checking in and out of hotels. Is one full day there enough?

John Deiner: Hey, Tampa. Let's throw this out QUICKLY to the chatters... don't have a good Sedona lodging option up my sleeve myself.

But I'd vote that one day is not enough at the Grand Canyon if you can stay for more than a day. Depending on when in June you're going, it may not be too difficult to book a night there, particularly if it's in the early part of the month before all the kids get out of school. You can easily spend a day exploring the South Rim -- and it's tiring! Plus, being able to see the sun/stars over the canyon is enthralling. You really need to see it at various parts of the day.


Anonymous: I flew with my cats to Brazil and to Mozambique when I was in the Foreign Service. Cats must be very small to fly in the passenger section. Cargo hold is fine if you and the airline are careful. Need to be sure the animal can fly if temps are over a certain range, and that the cargo hold will be pressurized, among other things. One's vet and the Humane Society should be able to give useful tips. Check with your airline way, way in advance.

KC Summers: A vote for the cargo hold.


McLean, Va.: I'm severely allergic to screaming infants. the last time I flew there was an infant two rows away from me. he/she had a respiratory infection, including clogged ears. You can imagine the screaming. if the infant could have talked, he/she would have yelled: DON'T TAKE ME ON A PLANE. I agree. Infants don't belong on planes.

Cindy Loose: Dear, dear. Suppose their parents are moving abroad? A good orphanage is hard to find these days.


Linthicum, Md.: Hi, Crew,Not for the chat, but I'm a Sunday afternoon volunteer at BWI and I want to second the passenger who wrote in awhile back about the guy who plays some sort of concertina outside the Southwest baggage area all Sunday afternoon, and plays the same snippets of the same songs over and over and over again. Aparently that's his only day there, but that's also the only day I can volunteer! You said you were going to get COGO to check this out. Can you please give them a nudge? Unfortunately ear plugs are not an option when you are trying to help the traveling public! Thanks.

Andrea Sachs: Yep, we are still on it. Don't give up yet.


Euro zone:

My family still comes to visit me even though it's pricey. If they let the euro-dollar exchange rate keep them away, they'd miss out on their grandkids -- and you can't put a pricetag on that!

I live in the Euro zone and the exchange rate has been great for us (going from the euro to the dollar) on my last visits home to the U.S. I also shop online and have my visitors from home bring me goodies!

KC Summers: Glad this miserable situation is making somebody happy!!


Turkey: For the woman traveling to Turkey: It really is a country friendly to Western tourists. In fact, in one particular beach town on the coast, ALL of the signage and road signs are in English ONLY! WHen I was there (and my husband is from there), there really weren't many customs you had to watch out for, and just about everyone spoke English very well and was happy to speak to you. When visiting mosques, they normally ask women to cover their heads, but at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, they don't even ask you to there since it's mostly a tourist destination.

If you're travelling to the bigger tourist areas, I would feel perfectly safe being alone. But be warned about the cabbies there, especially in Istanbul! They make NYC cab rides appear to be casual strolls.

Andrea Sachs: Thanks for the tips, Turkey!


D.C.: Any suggestions on a beach destination in the north of Costa Rica? There's about 30 beaches and we don't know which one to visit.

We're going in March.

KC Summers: If anyone can answer this in two minutes, please help.


Winter Beaches: I hope this gets in.

I desperately need a vacation in a warm spot, preferably the Caribbean. Good all inclusive, reasonably priced and adult only. Can you recommend a spot or perhaps a link to a reputable website?


John Deiner: Hey, WB. I stayed at the Golden Parnassus resort in Cancun last fall and loved it...all adult, reasonably priced, nonstop from BWI. Check www.goldencancun.com, or the Apple Vacations Web site.


10th and Penn NW: For the D.C. folks heading to the Joshua Tree, the Ritz Carlton at Laguna Niguel is one of the finest beach resorts I've ever visited.

Carol Sottili: Thanks. Not that close to San Diego, but Laguna Niguel has its own charm.


Another Azores fan:: Another reason to go to the Azores: the VAT (value added tax levied on all purchases) is subsidized by the Portuguese Govt. Mainland is 21%, Azores only 15% A pleasant surprise on our first trip there.

Andrea Sachs: Could the Azores be the new Paris or London? Mull it over!


re: allergies: Am I the only allergic person who brings their medication whenever they travel? I consider my inhaler a security blanket and a good luck charm, and it goes where I go.

Andrea Sachs: Always wise to bring your meds!


Re: SO CA Resort: Hi,

I am just coming back from the Palm Desert area and Joshua Tree National Park/Salton Lake. Couple great options on the ocean are in Laguna Beach/Dana Point Area. The Ritz in Laguna is a classic, and they have great service, as well as wonderful views of the ocean, and access to the beach right in front of the hotel (even in the rain, it was great sitting on our balcony and watch the ocean). Also, they have a new wine/cheese/chocolate bar which we loved! Another option is the Montage, they also have great views of the ocean and are close to downtown.

Carol Sottili: Another vote for Laguna.


Europe or bust!: We're taking a transatlantic to Barcelona and then going to Paris by train in March/April. Why now? Because the cruise has been booked for well over a year, we have saved lots of money, and we've never been to Paris. If not now, when? We may eat cheese sandwiches on a street corner, but we'll still be in Paris.

KC Summers: Somehow when you call it a croque monsieur, it tastes better.


Amsterdam in One Day?: Hello, I am taking a trip to Paris this Spring. We will be there for a little over a week. Do you think it is worth it to take a day trip to Amsterdam? We can get a 6 a.m. train from Paris and arrive in Amsterdam at 10 a.m., and then leave Amsterdam the same day at 6pm. I figured we could just walk around the city and have lunch. Also, should we buy our train tickets in advance? Thank you!

Christina Talcott: Well, if you're feeling up for it, why not? I feel like 8 hours in Amsterdam is better than no time in Amsterdam. Use the time on the train in the morning to have a nice breakfast and plot your day's itinerary, and spend the evening trip back planning the rest of your time in Paris. (I find guidebook-reading and itinerary-making hard to make time for while traveling, so this is the perfect opportunity, no?) And yes, book your tickets in advance, in part so you're not tempted to back out at the last minute once you get to Paris and start having second thoughts. You'll love it!


A good orphanage is hard to find these days.: Put the screamers in the cargo hold.

KC Summers: Heh heh.


Bethesda traveling in San Diego: Here is the reason why I travel overseas: the more I see new places and meet new cultures, the more I understand why we are too quick to judge others. Our understanding of the world is so small, and if we stay in one place, I believe our vision is very narrow. I truly believe that travel is the only path to peace in the world,so the more we see the more we understand, and the less we hate, so I keep on traveling overseas. By the way, increasing Euro hasn't really changed my plans for travel overseas as I think best values are always in non-EU destinations and Europe is way overpriced compared to many other places in the world. So, I am planning to go to Turkey, Peru and Cambodia this year.

Andrea Sachs: Nice trip list. We are envious.


Rockville, Md.: Hubby and I will be attending family events on two consecutive weekends this summer in Western Mass. We'd like to spend the weekdays in between visiting Montreal and Quebec City, where we've never been. How would you divide up the time? In both places, we'd like to stay in a convenient location with great views, while remaining budget conscious (not asking much, right?!). Any suggestions? We've had pretty good success in years past with sites like Priceline. Would you suggest it for these locations?

Cindy Loose: Sure, no problem in checking what Priceline has to offer; sites like that are best for major cities, and Quebec City and Montreal qualify.

I love Quebec City anytime, but Montreal is nice in summer. Q.C. is smaller, quite walkable for most everything but its art musuem. If you're driving, you might consider seeing some of the country sites around Quebec City.

If you're talking five days I'd probably spend three in Q.C. and two in Montreal. Alternately you could spend two or three in Quebec City and then spend a couple seeing the countryside. Personally I'd do the latter but only cause I really enjoy countryside so much. Either way is a good plan.


Couple of tips: To find the Belizean beer, try World Market -- I don't know if they have it, but they've got a great selection of international food and drink.

For the person complaining about Amtrak's high prices, also check Frommers.com -- they often post discount codes that can help bring the cost down. Just do a search on their site.

KC Summers: Thanks for both tips. We're going to pursue this Belikin thing, folks, so keep us posted if you come across any for sure.


San Diego: Hi, I have a red eye from San Diego tonight and have the afternoon free. I did the Balboa Park, Gaslamp district, Seaport Village and Coronado over the weekend. Anything else I shouldn't miss?

Carol Sottili: If you have a car, go up to La Jolla. Or rent a bike and do the Mission Beach/Pacific Beach loop.


Takoma D.C.: Yeah, I understand what's in it for -me- to check in early -- the coveted A group. But what does it do for the airline? (I assume, if they offer this option, it is in their interest.) And you're saying I can check in online and not print my boarding pass? I thought that was the point, to get my boarding pass before going to the airport?

I'm so confused.

John Deiner: Oh, Takoma! Don't be confused!

The point, as far as I understand it, is to secure your place in line and to get into a boarding group. Lots of folks don't check in until they get to the airport, and they're usually in the less than coveted C Group.

You DON'T need to print out your boarding pass in advance. You can do it in one of the kiosks when you arrive at the airport.


Under 3 weeks & counting: and we will be off to Italy!! So yes -- we are still traveling. Upside -- we pre-paid for everything (love Orbitz, etc) so we had a better exchange rate than we are faced with today. But really - even though things are 10% more -- its 10% -- if we couldn't afford that much more -- we wouldn't have booked the trip. We have at least two more trips this year -- although they will be in the U.S. -- a mix of helping the domestic economy, concerns over increasing prices (airfare because of fuel -- not exchange rates), and what was next on the list of where we wanted to go.

Andrea Sachs: Great to hear that your passport is not being turned into a coaster.


Re: Increasing Euro: I am actually very happy to see people are looking at options other than Europe with the changing currency rate. I don't understand why most Americans think Europe is the only safe and interesting/cool place to visit. It is way too expensive (and has been for years), too touristy in most major cities, and you have to wait in line with others to see anything important. Why can't people see there are many other places on earth, safe, interesting, incredible, and different? (sorry for the went, but this is from a 35-year-old woman who's traveled alone in Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Western US and has always received a question of "Why are you going there?")

KC Summers: You won't hear that from us, hon.


Deep Valley, USA - Toronto "budget" hotel: For the person looking for a Toronto hotel, try the Bond Place Hotel. Shows up on lots of packages from the usual suspects, and has its own site: www.bondplacehoteltoronto.com.

Andrea Sachs: Thanks for the site.


Can't we all just get along?: Seriously, comparing the needs of people on an airplane vs. those of an animal says it all. I'd still like to think the welfare of the human beings will take priority. Not advocating animal abuse, just common courtesy.

We'll all live longer.

KC Summers: Apparently, no, we can't all get along.


Re: Safari: Micato Safaris is another wonderful safari operator, they won many awards over the years, and if you like you can also visit a local village where they contribute to the community and see the kids who go to the school they built.

Andrea Sachs: Thanks for the suggestion.


Annandale:"If so, what is the draw, the sacrifices, the overall appeal? Why are you not staying home? "

Because home's only half as valuable as a couple of years ago, too.

Andrea Sachs: Nicely said.


Grand Rapids, Mich.: My boyfriend and I are trying to plan a vacation this spring or fall. We were looking into going to Turks and Caicos but would like some info since neither of us know anyone who has been there. What time of year would be better? Is it even worth going to?

Cindy Loose: The beaches and the water around T and C is fantastic. Much of the land itself if a bit barren--don't be thinking tropical flowers everywhere. But I liked T and C alot, especially if you would want to do a little island hopping. Grand Turk is all small properties with lots of open land. Nicest resorts are at Provinciales, which I've probably misspelled but you get the idea. They are rather quiet places; don't be expecting tons of things to do besides water sports.


Andrea Sachs: Time's up, unfortunately. But thank you so much for showing us that staying home is never an option (take that Euro!). See you next week.


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