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Travel Photo The Flight Crew, from left: John Deiner, Carol Sottili, Steve Hendrix, Anne McDonough, Gary Lee, K.C. Summers, Cindy Loose, Andrea Sachs. (Melissa Cannarozzi for The Post)
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Talk About Travel
Hosted by the Flight Crew
Monday, May 12, 2003; 2 p.m. ET

The Post's Travel Section Flight Crew -- pictured at right -- 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.

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.

You may also browse an archive of previous live travel discussions and a list of frequently asked questions.

The transcript follows.

Editor's Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.


The Flight Crew: We were delayed by a fire alarm, but let's go. I have a $65 Tilly hat for the person who helps us most. Cindy


Reston, Va.: I'm going to Seattle. One day I plan to drive east on I-90 to Vantage, just to see the scenery. Does anyone have a recommendation of where to grab lunch in the Vantage area?

Also, I have one dinner unplanned. I will be in the downtown Seattle area. What do you suggest, besides steakhouses, since I'll already be going to Daniel's Steakhouse one night.

The Flight Crew: We don't know Vantage. Can someone help?


Alexandria, Va.: Hi guys,

Mont St Micheal, France, is it doable in a day ? We're thinking of renting a car and drive from Paris and back same day. Is this worth it ? Or would you recommend another site to visit ? (We'll do the usual tourist spots in Paris, and want to take a side trip outside Paris) Thanks for your helpful Travel Section as always ...

The Flight Crew: Gary Lee says you could do Mt. St. Michel in a day but it would be a very long day and you probably wouldn't have time enough to see what you wanted there. For an excellent day trip outside Paris, I suggest Versailles. If you'e been there, Chartres, which has the oldest stained glass church in the world and other sites, would make for an excellent day long outing.


Washington, D.C.: My partner and I are looking into traveling to Vietnam over the winter holidays. Any tips on traveling there would be welcome. I also wonder if there are travel agents who specialize in Asian trips in the area. Thanks!

The Flight Crew: My best tip is: skip Saigon and go to Hanoi instead, unless begging and Americanized attitude is your thing. Aside from Hanoi, I really loved the beaches around Da Nang, and the day trips out of there to Marble Mountain, Hoi An, elsewhere. There are tons of Vietnamese travel agencies in N. Va., but I haven't used them so can't recommend one. If someone else has, please chime in. Cindy


Falls Church, Va.: Travel section:
Spring has our family again thinking towards our annual family camping outing. We go every summer to tent-camping sites in Virginia: in past years we've done Big Meadows and Todd Lake (in GW Forest west of Staunton). We'd like to avoid RV-accessible sites, but still have access to hot showers and toilet facilities. Do you all, or any of the chatters, have recommendations for someplace new this year?

Secondly, has the Travel section ever published a camping guide of sorts for the region? If not, any plans for the future?

The Flight Crew:
We're thinking of doing a list of car camping sites for Escapes, FC. And this would be a great time to gather suggestions from the chat universe?

Chatter? Where do you camp?


Forest Glen, MD: What's the cheapest way to get to Key West? I have to be there for a wedding the first week in July. From fares that I've priced, it seems cheaper for 2 people to fly in to Southern Florida on Southwest and then drive a rental car the 4 hours to Key West, rather than flying all the way in. Am I missing an airline that goes directly there for less money? I don't relish a 4 hour each way drive, no matter how scenic the drive, but with my own honeymoon coming up in October our travel budget is pretty strained. Are there a lot of tolls in the travel that I'm not taking into account?

The Flight Crew: I don't think there is a cheap way to Key West; it's just not traveled in enough volume to get a low fare. I don't remember big tolls from last time I was there, but if memory is failing me, someone chime in. In addition to Southwest, check out JetBlue's fares, and all the competitors too. You never know what's going to pop up on the majors to Florida; July isn't exactly prime time. Cindy


re: dinner in Seattle: Go to Salty's. If you are staying at a hotel have the conceirge call--they may send a complimentary limo for you. The restaurant in on the water across from the city, so you have a beautiful view of the skyline.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


Fire!: Stop, Drop, Roll.

I hope that's helpful enough for the hat!

The Flight Crew: Sorry, it wasn't a real fire, and if it had been, your advise is too late. You'll have to try again. Cindy


Arlington, Va.: Hi Flight Crew,

I know this get this question ALL the time, and said so in the most FAQ, but PLEASE, PLEASE help me out. (Maybe you can post this question for the chatters). What districts should I concentrate on to look for hotels in Paris ? (Any recommendation ?) I'm not into the club scenes. I'll be there for a week to do some sight-seeing, museums, a day trip to Versaille. So anything convenience to the public transportation is a plus.

Thanks

The Flight Crew: Arlington: Francophile Gary Lee says, first of all, almost every arrondissement is well-linked to the public transportation system. If you want to be on the Left Bank, the 6th has great small hotels. The 14th is also good, and slightly more affordable than the 6th.


Alexandria, VA: I loves me Tilley Hat. Is this the new vented one?

The Flight Crew: It's the long awaited new vented one! I don't want to give it away. Tilly is the name of the company in Canada that makes em, and the name of their hat. They're advertised in the New Yorker mag.


Bethesda Maryland: Hi,
I am going to Prague, Vienna and Budapest in July, and am wondering if these countries are in the EURO system, or if they are still using their own currency. Also, any must sees in these countries?

The Flight Crew: Vienna uses Euro, but Eastern Europe hasn't officially gotten into the club yet. Cindy


WashDC: I really, really want a Tilly Hat so here you go: The top 3 restaurants in Vantage, Washington plus other stuff to do:

http://www.vantagewa.com/dining.html

The Flight Crew: I really, really want the Tilly hat too. Keep in touch as we go along, DC, but that was helpful. Cindy


tolls to Key West: There are a few toll roads south of Miami, but there are alternate routes. No tolls on the road that goes through the Keys.

The Flight Crew: Thanks, that was my memory too, but then sometimes memory fails me.


Chile Question: I'm in very early planning stage for trip to Chile. Is there any tour that goes to Punta Arenas? Is it feasible to do Punta Arenas and Santiago area both in a week? What is your opinion of Copa Airlines? Thanks.

The Flight Crew: Gary Lee, who was just in Chile last month, says, yes, you can do Punta Arenas and Santiago in one week. Both are highly recommendable. Copa is a good, efficient airline. Don't know of a good tour operator but maybe someone else there does.

Cheers

Gary


Mount Vernon, VA : For the Seattle-bound traveler, Ray's Boathouse is highly recommended, both for view and for food. Can anyone help me with restaurants in downtown Denver?

The Flight Crew: Thanks. Denver restaurants anyone?


Dupont: Hiya. I know that Tom just wrote a postcard to Amsterdam restaurants, but does anyone have any other recommendations? I'm off for a long weekend soon, and 3 recommendations isn't nearly enough! Indonesian food is at the top of my list, and I'm also looking for any nice patio spots for lunch or an afternoon coffee or beer and people watching.

Thanks!

The Flight Crew: Help!


Arlington, VA: Last December, I flew from Fort Lauderdale to Key West and back by Cape Air. While the trip wasn't cheap, it is enjoyable to fly that part of the country in a small plane where you can actually see things on the ground. I flew Jet Blue from Dulles to Lauderdale and that was cheap and non-stop.

The Flight Crew: My guess too is that Jet Blue would be the cheapest, and being direct is worth alot. I don't think Cape Air is in their budget, but maybe someone else can use the tip.


for Washington State info: Why not ask a reference librarian for the state of Washington:

http://wlo.statelib.wa.gov/services/vrs/

At the least they can hook you up with local tourist information sites.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


Deep Valley USA: Seattle dining: lots of wonderful Thai and other asian choices, and lots more.

Check out reviews by Matthew Amster-Burton from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer at http://www.mamster.net/food/. The reviews are near the bottom of the page.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


Northern Virginia: I've got a 12-hour layover in Los Angeles and I was wondering if it would be worth it to go into the city for a few hours. If so, how would you go about it? Thank you.

The Flight Crew: Gary Lee says: most definitely. One thing I did was to take a blue van from LAX to the Getty musuem, spent three hours or so there and had a van pick me up and take me back to LAX. You can choose any locale or neighborhood in the city, and have the van drop you off and pick you up at an appointed time. It beats hanging around in the airport lounge all day.


Washington, D.C.: This question is more geared towards the female flight crew members, but I'm wondering how you all feel about traveling alone (national and international travel)?

The Flight Crew: Hey D.C.--There are places where I wouldn't feel comfortable traveling as a single woman (even with a buddy, I found Turkey--which I absolutely LOVED and would return to in a nanosecond--to be a place where I never fully relaxed; Marseille is probably the only place in France where I could say the same); if I was there by myself, I would definitely seek someone out at my hostel and/or hotel to pal around with. But in general, you're talking to a diehard solo traveler advocate. You see and experience things in a very different light when by yourself: there's no one to have to accommodate, no one to say they want a fancy schmancy restaurant when all you want is to dine al fresco with some local street food. While you have to be careful (particularly as a woman), I'm always more adventurous when I head out on my own. I spent most of last year on the road, the first half in China and Vietnam, the second going west from Hungary, and while I started out solo I was rarely alone. Fellow travelers are much more open to people who are by themselves than those traveling with someone else: for five weeks a friend from home traveled with me, and I met fewer people during those five weeks that at any other time in the trip, because with a built-in buddy there's much less incentive to make efforts towards others. The friends I made the rest of the time were also all on the road by themselves, and the relationships we forged were, I think, that much stronger for it.

Even when traveling with people I make it a point to spend time by myself, both for mental health purposes and to make coming back together in the evening that much more fun. I mean, if you experience the exact same thing as your traveling companion, what is there to talk about over dinner?

The one downside about solo travel that I see is that if you're at a beach, there's no one to watch your stuff while you swim. But the rest of it--eating alone, wandering the city or countryside with your camera as a companion, going to see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in the middle of the day just cause you feel like it--these are all amazing experiences that just don't happen the same way when you're with someone who knows you from your non-traveling life. I say, go out alone and be amazed at the friends you make along the way.
Any one want to weigh in on this?
-Anne


Bethesda, Md.: As I am unemployed and dying of boredom I thought I would break up the job search monotony by planning a European backpacking tour. When is the best time to take such a trip? I have no desire to go in the summer when swarms of tourists would be there, is fall a good option? I was in Paris the first week of November and it was perfect, how is the south of Europe that time of year? Also, how much should I budget for such a trip (per day - hostel, food, museums, etc.)? How expensive is it to get open-ended airline tickets (I don’t know how long I would like to stay)? Is it better to buy a train pass or fly between countries using the low-priced airlines? Are there any books or other resources that you recommend?

Oh, and are you hiring?

The Flight Crew: The bargain airfares have helped alot for travel around Europe, but I think trains are still likely to be a better buy, esp. since you might take some overnights and save some hotel room bills. Consider a pass: to see prices for individual trips or passes for certain periods, go to www.raileurope.com.
Yes, fall is a great option. I'd ideally go before Nov., cause you might get wet dreary weather in the north. Sept. and Oct. should be something like this area weather wise, and even warmer of course in the South.

Budget---I'd figure you should plan to pay about $25 for a decent hostel; food will depend on whether you buy from a grocery store or restaurant. I think you should join the hosteling group (www.hiayh.org) then leaf through their booklet for specific hostels where you might want to stay. Cindy


Good restaurants in Denver: Amdega in LoDo; Barolo on 6th Ave. Both are excellent with wine lists to match. Carmine's on Penn is a good family style in the area of Cherry Creek.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


Silver Spring, Maryland:
I have a friend who read an article in the Travel Section recently about a Bed & Breakfast in Middleburg, Virginia. It was formerly a farm -- can you give us the name?

The Flight Crew: Hmm, I don't think that was us. We haven't written about Middleburg lately. But there are lots of great B&Bs out that way. I love a place called Buckskin Manor in Purcellville, near wineries and antiques shops (and Harpers Ferry). For more on B&Bs, try Middleburg Online, www.middleburgonline.com, or the Loudoun County Bed & Breakfast Guild, www.vabb.com. -- KC


Arlington, Va.: Submitting this early and hoping you can help!

I am planning to travel between Amsterdam and Paris on the train this summer. It will just be a simple round-trip. Can you point me to a website or a US-based phone number through which I can buy my ticket in advance? Thank you kindly!!

The Flight Crew: Go to www.raileurope.com, or traintraveling.com/europe. Cindy


GloverPark: Re flying into Key West: Just checked Frommer who says: Several regional airlines fly nonstop (about 55 min.) from Miami to Key West; fares are about $120 to $300 round-trip. American Eagle, Continental, Delta, and US Airways Express land at Key West International Airport, South Roosevelt Boulevard (tel. 305/296-5439), on the southeastern corner of the island.

But gee that's after you've flown to Miami, changed planes etc. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale last JULY and rented a car and drove down. It was hot, but still we got a convertible -- and it IS a lovely drive.

The Flight Crew: Thanks


WashDC: I really, really want a Tilly Hat!

http://www.adventure-center.com/GAP/frame_apd.htm

Patagonia Dreaming and a number of other tours include Punta Arenas.

I used this company for tours in China and Cambodia and sent friends on tours with them to the Middle East and France, so I know they are reputable. They work with several tour operators focusing on adventure travel.

The Flight Crew: D.C., you're getting closer.


Re: Drive to Key West: It's not a 4 hour drive, more like 3 hours, but try to avoid peak driving time each way, like sat. morning and Sunday afternon.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


Photo Contest: Hey troops,

I see the photo contest is on again. It also says only one submission per person on the web site. Is this a change from previous years? I have submitted a couple (3 or 4) for some time. Hope I wasn't breaking the rules!!!!

The Flight Crew: Actually, last year's contest was also a one-print-only contest. So be glad this is an anonymous chat, wouldn't want to have to revoke any prizes you may have won! (Before you get all excited, there's no cash prize for the contest. But the winners do get the chance for everyone who picks up a Washington Post to see their magnificent camera work in print.)
-Anne


Alexandria, Va.: Which one of the three local airports (National, Dulles or Baltimore) is the most user friendly. I haven't been flying for quite a long time and really don't want to experience a horror story. Amtrak to the Midwest is also an option for me. Thanks.

The Flight Crew: For pure convenience, National remains arguably the most user-friendly airport in the country (gates close to the curb, theoretically reachable within ten minutes from downtown DC--if you catch every light). Of course, you can't get the longest flights from there and tickets are usually more expensive.

Dulles and BWI have discount airlines keeping prices down, but are more remote and often more thronged. BWI, in my experience, is getting better in terms of moving people through and I appreciated during the February blizzard that they opened up the new daily lot at long-term prices. Dulles is just way-the-hell-out there with reliably slow bus service from the economy lots. And while I'm ranting, both BWI and Dulles have a screw-the-customer approach to taxi services, allowing only one vendor, the one that pays them a fat fee, to pick up passengers while the many independent drivers head back empty. Ask anyone who has waited for half an hour at Dulles at 2 a.m. for some Washington Flyer taxi to arrive which airport they prefer--they'll say National, where a cab is cab.

--Steve


Paris Day Trips: Mont St Michel can be done as a day trip but it's best to base yourself in a closer town like Bayeux so you can spend more time there. If you do go, catch the free tour of the abbey- the guide is hilarious.
One of my favorite day-trips from Paris, especially in the spring/summer time is to Giverny, Monet's house. It's beautiful and very easy to get to by train. Just take the train to Vernon, and hop on the waiting bus and it'll take you to Giverny and the American Impressionist Artists Museum. The gardens are beautiful and I came back with photos that I swear look just like a Monet painting.

The Flight Crew: Thamks, responds Gary. I love Giverny, too, and think it makes a nice day trip.


Washington, DC: For the Paris hotel-seeker, I recommend Hotel Du Levant on the Left Bank. It's a lovely place and centrally located. I'm staying there in two weeks and got a price for a single for 69 euros a night with breakfast included. Here's the website - www.hoteldulevant.fr.

The Flight Crew: Good tip, says Gary. Thanks!


LAX layover advice: I'd recommend heading to the beach if its a good day, Venice is only a 15 minute drive from the airport. Or checking out a tour of the TV studios in Burbank. 12 hours is a long time, and there is so much to see in LA. But be sure to allow extra travel time for traffic getting back to the airport, it can be a real hassle. Have fun!

The Flight Crew: Thanks, says Gary.


great camping news: OK, maybe this isn't a suggestion so much, but I'm going back to Greenbrier this memorial day weekend and the MD state parks have the greatest websites (not something I say too often). You can see the camp map, select your campsite and loop after seeing how far the sites are from the facilities and other sites, and it only takes a few minutes online. Could not be easier or more informative. Hurray for MD state parks!!!

The Flight Crew: We prefer to say "Huzzah" here (K.C. is devote Victorian), but we're share the sentiment. Thanks.


Washington D.C.: I'm going to a wedding in Ketchikan AK in July, and have some free time, so I thought I'd turn the trip into an extended Pacific Coast vacation. I'd like to go to Vancouver, since I was born there and haven't been back since I was 1, and I know that Ketchikan is a big stop for cruise ships; is there any way I could take a half-cruise from Vancouver to Ketchikan, go to the wedding, and then take a half-cruise back?

Also, I'm open to suggestions for things to do on the west coast (including Cali, Washingotn, Oregon) while I'm out there; if you all had a couple of weeks to kill, what would be your, say, three top choices for things to do?

The Flight Crew: Sure are lots of cruisers stopping in Vancouver, and lots of charters to nearby islands, so my guess is that you could do that, but I don't really know. However, call the Vancouver folks at 800-HELLO-BC.

For West Coast highlights, I'd say spend a few days in Vancouver; it's a cool city. Take a moonlight kayak tour one night. Go see the salmon hatcheries and the suspension bridge outside Vancouver. The theater in Ashland, Oregon, has always been on my list. Any other suggestions? Cindy


Washington, DC: For the Amsterdam restaurant-seeker, check out www.timeout.com/amsterdam/rest.xml which has a large listing of restaurants with mini-reviews.

The Flight Crew: Is this the same D.C.?


Vienna, VA: My aunt is planning to visit her brother in July in Southern California. My uncooperative uncle wants them to fly into Burbank or Ontario and not LAX because he doesn't want to deal with traffic, but the only fares my Aunt can afford are to LAX. Do you know of a bus or other kind of shuttle that could get Auntie from LAX to BUR like we have here with BWI/IAD/DCA? Any idea of how much that would cost? I think a taxi might be too crowded with 2 adults, 2 teenagers and luggage and they don't want to rent a car.
Thanks!

The Flight Crew: Is your aunt flying from the East Coast, because fares on JetBlue and Southwest are competitive with those on major carriers flying into LAX. Try Primetime (800-733-8267) for airport to airport service. Call for prices.--andrea


otm alexandria: for the Seattle questioner: I don't know Vantage, but east of the city try the Snoqualmie Falls Lodge - it's gorgeous. and for dinner in town, there's a restaurant called "Hiram's by the Locks" - good seafood, and there's a salmon ladder outside where you can watch future dinners leap upstream!

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


Laurel: The Florida mainland extends 50 miles beyond Miami, where I-95 ends. You can do 30 of those at highway speed, but you'll have to take Florida's Turnpike to Florida City (the last mainland town) and pay two 75 cent tolls .

Anyone going AROUND Miami will pay 75 cents at four tollbooths by catching the turnpike south of Ft. Lauderdale.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


Rosslyn, VA: What are some of the better beaches in the South Beach/Miami Beach area? Any of you ever daring enough to give Haulover a try?

The Flight Crew: Rosslyn: Gary Lee says: I love South beach itself, for people watching and North Beach as a rustic venue. I have never tried Haulover but more for lack of interest than lack of daring.


Solo travel...: I find that if I have the right companion that it can't be beat - I want someone I can say did you see that, isn't that awesome, and know that they'll respond too. But with the wrong companion - not interested, different energy levels, different tastes - whew boy, much better to be solo. Been lucky to have a very good companion almost always.

The Flight Crew: Agree with you that picking the right companion makes or breaks a trip. That's one of the things I love about meeting people on the road: if things don't work out, no worries, and if things go well, who knows, maybe the next few months will be spent in their company.
-Anne


Alexandria, Va.: Husband and I are planning a very modest trip, a weekend getaway to see Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. We'll be staying at a nearby lodge. Question: is there anything ELSE to do in that area that we shouldn't miss? Any particularly good restaurants? If anyone has done the 3 hour landscape-and-house tour, would appreciate knowing how difficult the hike is. We called but the person on the phone was somewhat vague on that point.

The Flight Crew: I really enjoyed the restaurant in the Summit, I think it's the Summit Lodge. There is a second FL Wright house nearby too called Kentuck Knob, or something like that. Nemocolin, a fancy resort, has several restaurants on the grounds---the main one is upscale and pricey, but others are more sandwich/burger types. If you can afford one spa treatment, you can spend a whole day in the spa's fab pool, sauna etc. I don't think the tour in Fallingwater is terribly strenuous, but you should be able to do stairs. Cindy


Downtown Seattle eats: Oh boy, memories of eating at Lowe's inside Pike Place Market, by the window and seeing the cargo ships inch their way into the harbor on windswept grey and rainy days, the humidity of the kitchen behind me pouring the best fish and chips and chowder west of the mississippi.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


TO UK During the Day: Hey! What can you-all tell me about jets to UK that leave in the MORNING instead of 7-9 pm. I HATE that jetlag from the overnight trip. Has anyone ever tried the UK during the day flights? What airlines offer them?

The Flight Crew: The only airlines going during the day out of D.C. area are United and British Airways, and it's a great way to beat jetlag. Cindy


DC: Going camping next month inspired by a wpost article. Are there any recommendations from staff or chatters for good backpacking tents? I am willing to spend up to $250 or so...

The Flight Crew: DC, Steve here--purchaser, renter and borrower of many tents--with a specific recommendation for a two-person model: look for the Clip Flashlight by Sierra Designs. It's been something of a standard for a few years, very light, simple to pitch, in your price range (sometimes on sale at REI. Not roomy at all, but a neat design. My first one (the old sleeve design) lasted almost ten years, all over the world.

--Steve


Denver restaurants: If you're up for something unique, try Tommy Tsunami's Pacific Diner (www.tommytsunamis.com/) in downtown Denver. When I was there, they had a sushi bar and an extensive dinner menu, including many Asian specialties. The atmosphere is fun and offbeat. The Chilean sea bass and wasabi mashed potatoes were outstanding.

Although it's outside of Denver, The Fort restaurant (www.thefort.com) in Morrison is worth the trip. It's a recreated fort serving buffalo meat and other Western specialties. The food and service are as good as the view. The Fort is the destination restaurant in the Denver area -- President Clinton hosted a dinner for the Summit of Eight (Tony Blair, Helmut Kohl, Boris Yeltsin, etc.) there in 1997.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


Washington, DC: Traveling alone is wonderful, but there's nothing like having someone there so you can point out the funny and different things!

The Flight Crew: DC--There's no denying that it's great to have someone to share the experience with. I just love the fact that that someone can often be a person you meet along the way. And as a previous chatster pointed out, sometimes a person from "real," i.e. non-traveling life won't see the same things as funny or different. Some people are just not meant to travel together, and sadly that often becomes apparent only once the trip has begun.
-Anne


Herndon, Va.: I'm posting early as I have meeting this afternoon. My husband and I are about to celebrate our 35th anniversary (June 1) and are looking into a few different tour companies for a European trip. Currently, I have brochures from Cosmos and Globus and have seen the websites for Trafalger and Collette. Have you or any of the posters used these companies? What were your experiences? Are other other companies out there that I may have overlooked that offer 'relaxing' tours? Thanks so much for your help!!!

The Flight Crew: We have not tried out any of these tours, though they are the biggest names in the industry. I do have a friend who took a trip to Italy with her mom on Globus. She said the trip went smoothly but she wasn't thrilled with the guide, who not exceptionally helpful (best tip: how to get back to the hotel), or the other travelers, who were fuddy-duddies (complained that they had to pay for the toilets). But perhaps some other chatsters have first-person accounts.
Anyone??--andrea


Dupont: National is "10 minutes from downtown DC (if you catch every light)"?

Tsk, tsk, crew... Why, oh why, would anyone ever drive to National from downtown DC? It's a great airport not only because it's managably small and clean, but also because you can quite easily hop public transportation to get there and back--in 10 minutes and for $1.10!

The Flight Crew: Good point, Dupont. I do use Metro to National regularly. But this is a famous boost among frequent travelers in DC (the taxi, limo set), that you can make National in ten minutes if the lord is with you and the lights are green.


Re: camping: We like to combine our love of camping and water in the summer. One of my favorite places to go is Buggs Island Lake (also known as Kerr Lake Resevoir). It border VA & NC and is about a 4 hours from NoVa. The Army Corps of Engineers has great camping sites set up there, large, roomy sites, many of which are lakefront (we usually bring our boat).

Some parts of the campground have RV hook-ups, but there are whole other sections that are RV free.

ReserveUSA has lots of good campsites:

http://www.reserveusa.com/jsp/commonpage.jsp?goto=/
nrrs/va/norb/newindex.html

The Flight Crew: Sound like a bona fide tip, Re:C. Thanks.


Lone traveler advice: You really do get a different feel for place when you travel there alone, even within the US. In my experience, the wait staff are more friendly and outgoing, and you get an overall feeling of contentment, especially if you're seated on a great outdoor cafe at sunset in Atlanta. Being by yourself gives you the opportunity to reflect on things quietly and gives you a new appreciation of your life. That evening really sticks with me, even years later. So my advice, travel by yourself, have a meal by yourself, and see what you think...of yourself.

The Flight Crew: Thanks for weighing in on the domestic side of things. And I like the introspection: traveling, whether solo or not, certainly does bring out aspects of you that lay dorment when living everyday life.
-Anne


Lyme, Ct.: Who remembers a few years ago that we were advised to lock our luggage because it turns our airport personnel were stealing from luggage. Now, for security, we are told to keep our luggage unlocked. So, I thought I could ask the TSA people to lock my luggage after they search my bags, which they did until my last trip. Now, they tell me they can't lock the bags in case they need to double check later on. Don't we have a right, as consumers, to request our bags be protected from theft?

The Flight Crew: No; you have the right to take off your shoes, raise your hands to be wanded, have your personal items confiscated because they have a sharp tip. You have the right to line up and shut up and keep moving, and these days, that's about it. Cindy


Arlington, VA: Key West in July?!?!? Ugh, that's going to be one hot wedding. It's actually kind of a nice drive down from So Fla to Key West, but onse you get there having a car is sort of a pain since parking is hard to come by.

The Flight Crew: It will be a hot wedding. Do you really know and love these people that much? Cindy


Arlington, VA: The person going between Paris and Amsterdam by train should also check out www.thalys.com They have specials and other info there. Probably cheaper and more helpful than rail europe.

The Flight Crew: Thanks. Cindy


For Seattle bound: I agree with the other responder that Snoqualamie Lodge would be excellent for view/food. In Seattle, I highly recommend Flying Fish in Belltown or Wild Ginger in Pikes Place Market.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


Deep Valley. re: Fallingwater: The three hour Fallingwater tour is not strenuous at all; the landscape part is flat flat flat and the stairs are the only hard part. You do a lot of standing around, but nothing strenuous.

There's essentially no restaurants nearby except in those resorts and lodges.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


re: Fallingwater: The conservancy offers a range of half-day hikes around the area to teach more about the fauna. It's a great introduction to see how the house fits into the surroundings.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


Chile: Why would you want to do Punta Arenas and Santiago in one week? That's like doing DC and then traveling to Boise in one week - I use that example because of both distance and interesting things to do in the smaller cities. Instead of going to Punta Arenas, that person should go to the lake district and Chiloe or go to San Pedro de Atacama. The latter isn't as easy to get to but it's worth it.

Depending on time of year, you could also go to the beaches - like Isla Negra which is not so far from Santiago - even if the weather is cold, still go, it's so cool.

Punta Arenas is not that great. The best part about it is that it's somewhat close to Torres del Paine but not that close. ANd it's freeeeezing....

The Flight Crew: Gary says: I believe the question was if one wanted to go to Punta Arena in one week, could one. The answer is yes. My own recommendation for a week in Chile for a first time visitor, would be to make Santiago a base (there is LOTS to do there) and do day trips to: the wine country, Isla Negra, Valpariso, Vina del Mar, and so on. A more ambitious traveler could go to San Pedro in Atacama (a three hour flight and one hour drive from Santiago.)
That's what I did for an out of Santiago excursion. I loved it, but felt if I had just done Santiago and the surrounding sites that would have been fabulous enough.


dupont circle west: for the person going to Prague-Vienna-Budapest....

any chance you are driving or have access to a car? the czech republic is beautiful outside the capital but few people explore it. a short drive would get you to numerous castles, but if you are going toward austria, then i'd highly recommend you stop in Hluboka and Cesky Krumlov (a Unesco site...hopefully restored from earlier flooding...but absolutely beautiful). a three hour drive south from Prague takes you into the rolling sumova foothills along rivers and you'll see a castle or pretty little town almost every other bend in the road.........and then you can put peddle to metal and fly to vienna thru nice austrian towns.

alternatively there are also lovely towns and castles south of Brno (which might be a more direct route to Vienna). Mikulov and Valtice are nice places to stop for some Moravian wine cellars and castles........

have fun!

The Flight Crew: Thanks


Beach in Miami: I really enjoyed Key Biscayne which is just 10 mins from downtown Miami. Wide open beaches, palm trees, and very quiet when I was there in March. Great place if you want to get away from the throngs of people in S Beach.

The Flight Crew: Thanks for the tip, says Gary.


For Seattle Traveler: I definitely recommend Wild Ginger, which I believe is on 3rd, in the middle of downtown and a few blocks up from the waterfront. Great Thai/Fusion, and it's always booked up. Also recommend Il Bistro in the Pike Street Market. Great Italian.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


Silver Spring: I took Super Shuttle, Prime Time and others from LAX to Burbank many times over the years. One can rent an entire van for a family, but it's more difficult leaving from the airport since reservations can't usually be made in advance. An alternative, if the family in Burbank can drive a little ways to get the visitors, is to take the inexpensive "Flyaway" bus to the company's terminal in Van Nuys, just a few miles from Burbank; or take two taxis from there. Busses come on a regular schedule, are inexpensive and comfortable.

The Flight Crew: Thanks, says Gary.


Maui Upcountry: Thanks for the article on Maui upcountry - brought back beautiful memories of my honeymoon in Maui. Hubby and I rented a car and drove up the mountain, had a picnic along the side of the road with a view above the clouds overlooking the beaches far below. We also visited the winery and tasted the pineapple wine and yes, the flowers in that area are absolutely lovely. Of all the places I've visited, I yearn for Maui the most - thanks.

The Flight Crew: Thanks


washington to burbank: I have flown from Dulles to LAX before, and when I book on travelocity, I always get a note that I could save X dollars by flying into Burbank instead. Might check there.

The Flight Crew: thanks, says Gary.


Solo Travel: I love travelling solo. I have had so much fun that way and met so many wonderful people. Heck, it's how I met my fianc้. I would never have been able to go off with him if I had been travelling with someone else. You just need to be very aware of your surroundings. I used to plan a lot of things so at least I'd have an idea of where I was going instead of staring at a map all the time. It's not for everyone though. Sometimes it did get a little lonely. But the other times I spent meeting new people, talking to natives, and just plain having fun, was the best time of my life. You may hear a lot of horror stories but I assure you that's really a very small number. I advise trying it at least once. You may end up loving it as much as I did.

The Flight Crew: Amen! (And congrats on the fiance. I love hearing stories like that. You literally never know who you're going to meet on the road). One thing I found is that I--a usually museum-adverse person who shames her family with a lack of interest in organized culture--ended up devoring Berlin's museums because it was rainy and I was lonely. Had I been with someone else, I think my normal anti-museum attitude would have reared its ugly head. Thankfully, I came out of myself long enough to realize the amazing opportunities I was missing. (Hope Mom and Dad are reading this and noting my change of attitude...).


Been there, done that: Haulover beach isn't the meat market it would seem...rather, a more eclectic mix...hippies, older folks, younger people who know the deal, European tourists, and others who just want to chill out on the beach and get tan (uh, with no tan lines, that is.)

There used to be an older guy who was like the mayor of the beach--he would pass out flyers to the newcomers (they knew who you were if not by face, than by tan lines!) and warn again lewd behavior, etc. Basically just a bunch of "naturalists" who wanted to keep a clean reputation and not have it ruined by people who thought they were coming for more action than that.

The Flight Crew: Interesting insider tip, says Gary. Thanks.


London-bound New Yorker: My friend and I are taking advantage of the cheap-o airfare and hotel deals and going to London for the first time in a couple of weeks. We're going to have three full days. My goal is to see a real variety of neighborhoods, visit a good outdoor market, and go dancing at a club. Doing my usual travel research has been hard because there is just so much information about London! (I usually go to less documented places, I guess!) So, what are your suggestiongs for my modest travel goals?

Thanks!

The Flight Crew: London is like New York -- it really is a city of neighborhoods. There are lots of guides out there, or just to use the books you like, or movies as a guide. E.g. for fans of Virginia Woolf, Bloomsbury, near the British Museum, is a natural; Austin Powers fans and aging '60s swingers can head to Chelsea (I love it for its great galleries, boutiques and cafes); hipsters and Hugh Grant fans like Notting Hill for its bars and street life. Knightsbridge and South Kensington are very posh and also have great museums and shopping; Mayfair is even more elegant than that. If you want a market, Camden Market is lots of fun, and Camden is great to walk around in, with lots of bars and cafes.

Clubs, I can't help you. Chatters? -- KC


Wash: I would never send a loved one to BWI.

The Flight Crew: I don't get the BWI-phobia. It's my airport of choice(mainly because I live in Montgomery County), and I've flown out of there maybe ten times in the last year. I've had a few meltdowns (including one inexcusable snafu about what counts as a bording pass that actually caused me to miss a flight), but nothing worse than I get at other airports. --Steve


Somewhere, USA: I'm going to VA beach for a week starting the Sat. before Memorial Day. When is the best time for me to leave to avoid nasty traffic? Early in the morning? After lunch? Thanks! (btw, leaving from Reston, I can't seem to enter my city and state in the window)

The Flight Crew: Can you leave the weekend before? There is no really good time to leave, since everyone is going to get out of work early, thinking that no one else is doing the same. Ha! I would say either really early, like 7 or 8 am, or really late, like after 9 or 10. Also, check with AAA for any traffic disruptions, or even back-road options. Don't forget to pack water and magazines in case you are stuck for a while. --andrea


Blacksburg, VA: Re: day trips from Paris: I heartily second your recommendation to go to Chartres. We just got back from our third trip to Paris and went to Chartres for the first time. Now we're wondering why we waited so long. The trip takes just over an hour by train (from Gare Montparnasse), so it's a great day trip. The cathedral is breathtaking -- I liked it so much better than Notre Dame -- and there were no crowds. Try to take the English language tour with Malcolm Miller, an English gent who obviously loves the cathedral. The tours meet up right inside the front of the cathedral -- at 2 p.m., maybe? Can't remember exactly. The crypt tour is also worthwhile. It's all in French, but even I, a non-speaker, got a lot out of it. It lasts about 20 minutes and costs a couple of Euros. You can buy tix at the Crypt Shop just around the corner from the cathedral.

The Flight Crew: Thanks for the endorsement, says Gary.


Baltimore, Md.: Considering Nantucket for a 3-4 night vacation but have no clue what to expect in cost. Planning to fly to Providence cheaply on Southwest, but it seems silly to rent a car since we'd be able to walk/bike/public-transport around the island. Are there shuttle services from airport to ferry depots? And how much can we expect in lodging costs for middle-of-the-road accommodations?

The Flight Crew: We need Nantucket help.


Alexandria, VA: For camping: Try Deep Creek Lake in Maryland - it's a bit farther than the Shenendoahs, but there are many, many state and national forest sites up that way.

The Flight Crew: Thanks, Alex.


Bethesda, Md.: Do you all know anything about the Blue Water House in Lewes, Delaware? My family of 5 is trying to plan a 3-4 night beach respite in early July but we're neophytes on the whole Lewes/Bethany/Rehoboth area.

The Flight Crew: We don't know it; does someone?


Re Paris day trips: In addition to Chartres, I enjoyed day trips going both east and west by train from Paris. To the east: Epernay, where you can tour several champagne houses without making prior reservations and enjoy a leisurely lunch. To the west: Rouen, to see the cathedral that fascinated Monet and sample the best of Normandy's seafood, cheese, and apples.

The Flight Crew: Thanks, says Gary. Good tip.


blue bell, pa: Will be in a meeting and cannot participate in live chat......
Love your travel chats and print articles. Want to mention we completely revamped our late August Maine vacation (our first trip to Maine), after reading Elise Hartman Ford's 5/4/03 article "Maine Street". We'll be spending time in Camden (staying at "A Little Dream"). An added bonus: our stay coincides with the Annual Windjammer Weekend!
Question: we're spending 2 days/1 night in Portland. Have booked the Banforth in the old port area. Can anyone endorse? Our flight home is via Portland airport. Are there past articles on Portland?

The Flight Crew: Banforth in Portland, anyone? This is getting too specific for our expertise, but maybe not for that of our viewers. Cindy


Laurel: On a visit to Fallingwater, also try...

Ft. Necessity, which also offers next door an historic tavern from the early 1800s on the National Road. The sites are essentially a history of the linking of the east with the Ohio valley in the days before the C&O canal and B&O railroad.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


dupont circle west...one more time!: for the fallingwater people...

a lovely state park, ohiopyle, is very close by to fallingwater and you can go whitewater rafting there for a very affordable prices. you can also rent bikes and bike along a new trail, as well as go hiking in the park. it has miles of trails, and two along a loop in the river (inner loop and outer loop) it's a lot of fun especially if the weater is sunny!

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


downtown seattle food: if you grab a taxi and go up Eastlake you'll see Bandoleone...an excellent latin fusion restaurant with incredible choices. meals are 16 to 25 bucks and well worth the price

The Flight Crew: I think our Seattle traveler should be eating well, thanks to all this advise.


dupont circle west again: for the camper...check out campmor.com they have a HUGE selection of camping equipment at prices well below retail. they also sell some slightly imperfect stuff on their website and are a BARGAIN!!!!

woohooo great outdoors!

The Flight Crew: Campmore has the Clip Flashlight 2-person for $169, and the roomier (but heavier) three-person model for $189. Thanks, Dupont.


for the vancouver/ketchikan-bound: first of all, what a lovely trip. remember to bring a raincoat. ketchikan is beautiful but rainy.

i can recommend how NOT to get to ketchikan from vancouver. my family and i took a trip from vancouver to prince george, b.c., along the picturesque fraser river valley. it is beautiful, but not 10-hours beautiful. and we followed that up with a crowded, uncomfortable overnight bus from prince george to prince rupert, on b.c.'s coast and the launching point for our alaskan ferry trip up to kethikan. check out the alaskan ferry system, at http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/index.html, which doesn't have direct trips from vancouver to ketchikan, but does have from prince rupert to ketchikan. perhaps you can find another way to prince rupert?

i firmly believe that ferry is the way to arrive in southeast alaska. the cruise ships are treated with some disdain by the locals, and the ferry affords a more realistic look at how travel in that area has been done for years.

best of luck!

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


Kensington, Md.:
Hi! I enjoy Travel Trivia, but I really have to wonder how some people could think that Bali is a country ("Mali and Bali")? And how could the Washington Post publish that as a popular and correct answer?

Unless I'm mistaken, I don't think Bali has ever been independent in modern times -- always part of Indonesia or the Dutch East Indies.

The Flight Crew: Aren't we picky. Actually, Kensington, if you read the column closely you'll see we didn't say those people were right -- that's why we didn't pick it as a winning entry-- but the pairing was too cute not to mention it. -- KC.


P.S....: Great new picture - y'all look fine as frog hair!

The Flight Crew: Er, thanks?


Re Women Solo Travelling in Turkery: I felt the same exact way as you and I was with a guy. What made you feel so uncomfortable.

The Flight Crew: Part of it could have been that I was 18, and while I'd traveled a lot before then, it was mostly England, France and Italy. My friend (also an 18-year-old girl) and I just got a lot of unwanted attention, even though we followed the obvious guidelines like no shorts or tanktops (or even short sleeved shirts--and this was during a major heatwave). Not a single bad thing happened to us, and we met some amazing people along the way (if anyone's headed to Cappadocia, don't miss Goreme, and say hi to Murat for us), but there was just this sense that we didn't want to separate even for a minute (something that drove my independent spirit nuts). Again, it just wasn't relazing. But it was amazing.
-Anne


Honeymoon Help!!!!!: My fiancee and I are spending two weeks in Hawai'i for our upcoming honeymoon. As a gift, I'd like to splurge on our last night, which will be on Oahu. I've narrowed it down to either Turtle Bay or Marriot's Ihilani. We've both been to Oahu several times so we're not looking to do touristy things... just enjoy one last day outside, on the beach, etc. Which would you or other chatters recommend? Thanks!

The Flight Crew: Be quick, clicksters -- anybody have a fave here?


Searching for Vacation Rentals: Thanks for this great chat. Do you know of any good on-line resources for looking for vacation rental homes? Specifically in Southern Cal. I've got my bookmarks for all things OBX, but for this west coast adventure, I'm not sure where to start.

Thanks!

The Flight Crew: I started by going to google.com and typing in rentals and southern california. lots of things popped up, but you'd have to wade through them to get vacation rentals. I usually start something like this by calling the local visitors and convention bureau for referrals. Have a great time. Cindy


RE: vantage and seattle: On I-90, 30 miles west of Vantage - stop at a great restuarant in Ellensburg for lunch. It's called The Valley Cafe, it's on 3rd st. and very easy to find. For a yummy dinner in Seattle try the pink door - fabulous food, near Pike Place market.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


19th Street NW: Hello Travel Folks:

I'm headed to the South of France next month and for the first time will be renting a car abroad. Do i need to get an International Driver's License? I've heard both yea and nay.

Also, any recomendations for off-the-beaten-track scenic towns in the South of France, namely between Toulouse, Nimes and Avignon (we pick up the car in Toulouse and then have 3 or 4 days before we have to arrive in Nice).

The Flight Crew: I'm not sure about the driver's license, but near to toulous is Carcassone, which has a gorgeous castle (the setting for nottingham castle in "robin hood: prince of thieves). Near avignon is the can't-be-missed town of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Had my passport stolen in Nimes, but that's probably my fault for going on a carosel with wierd folks around (it was taken on the carousel). Toulouse is wonderful, I've spent about 2 months there and as it's a college town it can be pretty lively at night. Blagnac is a cute little suburb of Toulouse. Enjoy!
-Anne


Re: Mont-St. Michael: We spent the night there after driving from Normandy. I'm not sure how far the trip from Paris is, but you can visit all of MSM in less than 90 minutes. We were bored after walking up and down the ONE street.
Beautiful scenary though! You can see MSM miles before you reach your destination!

The Flight Crew: Thanks, says Gary. I think if you get into the architecture and history, a tour of Mt. St. Michel could easily take a half day...


Poulsbo, Wa.: Long story short: We are a military family with a husband/dad who is returning from a foreign assignment via London in mid-summer. We plan to meet him in London, spend the week together there before we all return home. The timetable won't be certain until the last minute so I'm prepared to go for two weeks and wait till he arrives. Any suggestions on how to find flexible tickets and reasonable lodging to settle in? Will we just have to bite the bullet and pay high rates for flexibility? Should we get trip insurance in case his schedule changes and the trip impossible?

The Flight Crew: Be careful buying trip insurance---make sure your reasons for wanting to possibly cancel are acceptable, cause it's a fairly unusual reason.

As to buying open ended flexible ticket--you have the check prices. It could be that it would be cheaper to buy the cheapest tickets and pay the $100 change fee than to buy a flexible ticket. Most of them are intended for business people who aren't particularly price sensitive.

Cindy


Burke, VA: We'd like to go to the Grand Canyon in early October and need a little information. Is the weather OK then, or is it iffy? Are we trying to do too much by going to Hoover Dam and Joshua Tree the same week? Is it better to fly into Las Vegas, Phoenix, or Tucson?

The Flight Crew: October is a delightful time at the Canyon, Burke. The rim temperatures are usually in the low to mid 60s (cooler on the North rim) and the mid 80s at the bottom. Much better than the deadly (sometimes literally) heat of high summer. I'd fly to Phoenix and drive up through Flagstaff, one of the country's most charming small cites. And I'd pair that list down a bit--give the canyon it's due. (Of course, if you really want to do Hoover, then fly into Vegas. Cheaper flights, too). --Steve


Forest Glen again: Hi, I'm the one that asked the Key West question. Thanks for all the great input. I don't even know these people, they are friends of my fiancee and are coming to our wedding from Iowa, so we are sorta obligated to go. Ughhh, I didn't even think about the heat, I don't tolerate it well at all. Looks like we'll be renting a car and driving. Thanks again.

The Flight Crew: Yeh, but they are leaving Iowa to come to your wedding, and your wedding I presume is not in the heat of hell. Okay, so you have to go. Make the best of it. Cindy


Hey Herndon...: ...I don't have any advice, but we do share a certain anniversary in common! And 35 years? That's a biggie -- make sure the operators know that...they'll be more inclined to do make your visit more special, IMHO. We've recd free upgrades, complimentary champagne at dinner, all kinds of little goodies big and small -- and kindly appreciated. Good luck!

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


Falls Church, VA: For the Vienna-Hungary etc. traveler looking for not-to-miss site:
I can only suggest Vienna:
-roses in the Burggarten
-produce market (like Eastern Market but much larger) at the Naschmarket. Think fresh fresh fruit, breads, sausages, local honeys and cheeses....
-take the slow tram (blue and white, not red and white one) out to Baden. Spa town 1 hr. south of Vienna, public spas and bathhouses, traditional small beislns (bistros), and be sure to take a long walk through the Kurpark. Lovely, lovely.
-Kunsthistorisches Museum (art history museum) in Vienna. Even if you're not an art lover, the building itself is worth the price of admission (around 9 euros). Hapsburg dynasty in all its splendor, gilded ventilation grates, marble, granite, everywhere. Oh yeah. The art collection is amazing.

Vienna is incredible. Enjoy!

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


BWI phobia: I dont get it either, it consistently is cheapr, and significantly so. the parking is fine, there are no toll roads to deal with...the traffic is at a minium (i take the BW parkway, saves time). it is a logical layout for terminals. I also love National.

The Flight Crew: We once ran a special secton entitled: "BWI-Be Not Afriad"! I love that headline.


Washington, DC: Please help. I have never posted before, but I have read the past discussions. I am getting married in late August, and am busily planning our honeymoon. We want something affordable ($3000 or less for the whole trip). We want something warm, with beautiful beaches and sunsets, and we have 8 days and 7 nights to go there. We were thinking of Hawaii, but are afraid that 7 nights is not enough to see more than one island, and are not sure that it is worth the travel time. Bermuda is close but expensive and less exciting. The Bahamas are in hurricane territory, as is much of the Caribbean. Fiji, Tahiti, etc. are too far for a week trip. We do not want to go to Mexico, as we were just there. Please give me suggestions for where you would go. If it is Hawaii, Bahamas, Bermuda, or somewhere we have not thought of, we are open to suggestions. I would say that we are looking for a great deal on a luxurous resort by the Ocean. It does not have to be the fanciest country, area, but a nice hotel, beach would suffice. Thanks.

The Flight Crew: Hate to say it, Wash, but Bermuda's hurricane territory too. So if you're traveling in August and avoiding hurricanes is your main goal, I'd stay away from the Caribbean, Bermuda, the Bahamas and Mexico.

I think Hawaii is too far away. It's such a long flight and you lose a couple of days to jet lag to boot -- just not worth it for a week. But how about Southern California resorts, or the coast of Maine? -- KC


Hershey Park Question: Hello gang. I am submitting this early in hopes of it being posted. S/O and I are taking my 3-year old to Hershey Park in July. Any ideas on hotels that will not break me. My thinking is we will be out more times then in, but I do not want to stay in a shack either. One hotel that someone recommeded was the Red Carpet Inn Hershey -$69/day. I cannot find any reviews on it though. Any ideas gang? Also is Hershey Park better than Sesame Place?

The Flight Crew: Try one of the discounted hotel services online, like Orbitz or www.themeparkhotelguide.com, which lists a host of options for all budgets, plus info about the hotels. Also, the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center offers packages, including entrance and room--so if you do the math it might work in your favor. You might also want to stay a town or two away, since rates are higher closer to the park, such as Harrisburg. As for Sesame vs. Hershey: I'd take a chocolate kiss over a Cookie Monster any day (but, confession, my mom and dad never took my to Sesame Street, only to PBS Land).--andrea


Atlanta, GA: Hoping to get this in before time-

Will be travelling to Ohio in june with a will-be 9-week old child. Is it safe to fly when they're that young, or should I just plan on driving?

The Flight Crew: I think you should check with your pediatrician, but I don't know of any problem. My doc said keep the kid away for lots a people for six weeks to avoid cold and other germs. cindy.


McLean, Virginia: For the poster with the question about the Middleburg B&B, try this:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/travel/escapes/021099.htm

"Stall Tactics" - By Bill Heavey
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, February 10, 1999; Page C09

http://charmingcountryinns.com/inns/usa/va/middleburg
/goodstoneinnestate/goodstoneinnestate.php3

(I really, really want the Tilley hat, also, even though I don't even know what one is! I just like cool hats!)

The Flight Crew: Why thank you.


washington, dc: re: Key West. Was looking for cheap flights myself this weekend. Found that American Airlines has flights for $255/roundtrip from National (connecting through Miami). That's Cheap!

The Flight Crew: Wow! Thanks. Cindy


Falls Church, Va.: Re: Nantucket. For a bus from Providence's T.F. Green Airport to the ferry in Hyannis, Bonanza Bus lines might help you out. It's not exactly a quick trip; I'd imagine it would be 1.5 hours or so. Also think about taking Cape Air to the island from Providence, probably around $100 or more r/t per person. As for transport on Nantucket, I hate to recommend this, as the locals probably hate the things, but get a moped if you're too lazy to rent a bike. Cost would be $30 a day, I imagine. Lodging might be a bit expensive...the Roberts House hotel in town might give you a cheap attic room for $150 a night. Nantucket is not exactly a cheap place to visit. I'd stay on the Cape!

The Flight Crew: Thanks, Falls!


London clubs: Good ones in Piccadilly Circus: Sugar Reef and Red Cube. Swanky but not pretentious, good mix of music. BEST London club I have ever been to, though, was in Clapham. It's called The Living Rooms. Can't remember the exact address, but it had the best mix of music I've ever heard.

The Flight Crew: Thanks!


dupont circle west: for the international driver's license issue in france.

i don't know the legal issues (and i do have an international license which looks like something i could have made at home, it's that official looking!) but i know you don't need one to rent a car in france. i've rented a car AND had a wonderful (no i'm not kidding) experience with the french police when the car went missing. turns out, we parked it on a street that became a flea market on the third saturday of the month (who could know?). anyway, the police happily charged us 90 euros to retrieve our towed rental and never asked for an intl. license in the process.

that said, you can easily get one on 19th street, nw. there is a row of offices that do passports and can make you an intl. license.

The Flight Crew: Thanks for weighing in...


WashDC: I really, really want a Tilly Hat.

The Clip Flashlight Tent is also available on Ebay -- up tp $26 right now (used but excellent condition).

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?
ViewItem&item=3608236684&category=36118

The Flight Crew: Thanks, Wash. But I'd want to make very sure that used tent was in excellent shape. Nothing like a leaky seam to ruin a camping trip. --Steve


washington (the state): From a foodie: restaurants in Seattle proper include: I Love Sushi (guess what their specialty is?), Wild Ginger (Asian fusion, really good, but often crowded), Cascadia (Pacific Rim synthesis cuisine), Canlis (fabulous view and great salmon).

If you can devote literally hours to dinner, and want truly gourmet food (9 courses, 5 matched wines, 5 hours, and $150-170), consider The Herb Farm (www.theherbfarm.com) in Woodinville. One of the best restaurants in the country. While it can be hard to get reservations, you don't know if you don't try... and I've gotten reservations at literally the last minute (once).

Cafe Juanita in Kirkland is very very good--they serve northern Italian gourmet food.

For standard tourist fare done well in the Pike Place Market area, consider Etta's and Cutter's. Etta's is slightly better, but Cutter's has a better view and very good bread, as well as good Dungeness crab and salmon.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


Grand Canyon: I'd suggest flying into Las Vegas and driving to the North Rim (road goes right through gorgeous Zion National Park), which is far less crowded than the South Rim. Can't go there in winter, of course, but the trees may be changing by October. I'd love to go!!! And hit Bryce, if time permits.

The Flight Crew: Good points.


Washington, DC: Buggs Island Lake: We've camped there and fled the next day. Picture camp sites too close together with NASCAR races blaring from every vehicle, cases of beer being prominently consumed (we're not anti-drinking, just like to not have it thrown in our face) at all hours. We brought our canoe to go out in the reservoir, only to be incessantly buzzed and burned by speedboaters and others having no regard for "no wake" zones. We will never go back.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


Backpaker Help: For the person wanting to know when to backpack. I'd definitely say that fall is the best time period. Eastern Europe is cheaper than UK, Paris, and Italy. Northern Europe is higher than Southern Europe. $25 for a hostel is about average in the major cities (London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam) but you should have no problem finding a hostel room in Poland or Romania for $15. It's easier (and cheaper) (and more fun) to do picnics than to shell out money to sit in a cafe.

Go, have fun. It will change your perspective towards so many things. It did for me.

The Flight Crew: Thanks!


Amsterdam: To the person headed to Amsterdam: Cafe Americain (at the American Hotel) has a good brunch buffet on the weekends. Also a has a cute bar, and it's right on a Leidseplein (a busy square full of bars and restaurants.)

Lunch/coffee: Headed to the top floor of Metz & Co., a ritzy department store with a great cafe. Beautiful views of the city and no one rushes you out of there. Good for lunch or just coffee.

Dinner: That one shouldn't be too hard...lots of great restaurants everywhere. For Indonesian, go to Bali restaurant on Leidsestraat. A little touristy, but not too expensive.

The Flight Crew: Thanks for the tips!


i think i can help: the tilly hat must be something special...

In Paris, try the Hotel Lepic, it's a block away from the Cafe des Deux Moulin in Amelie and 2 blocks from Moulin Rouge. There are a million cafes in Paris, but here you an absorb more french charm. Plus the hotel is small and cozy, with narrow staircases (which I thought lent charm) with a great breakfast included.

In Amsterdam, a great indonesian place is on the road between Central Station and Dam Square on the right. Burgundy awning. Sorry I don't remember the name. A great deal for great food. Order the plantains and fish wrapped in banana leaves.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


$3000 for honeymoon : I think, for about that much, maybe 500 more, you could go to one of the million Sandals resorts in the Caribbean. I looked into it and for me it was too pricey, but it seemed that that was the going rate. All the food and dancing and entertainment was paid for i think, all inclusive.

i got turned off by the very nature of how isolating it is from the rest of the population, but for some folks it is fantastic.

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


Silver Spring, Maryland: I've been on Trafalgar Tours several times and have had very positive experiences. Like any tour, there is a down side--you are somewhat regimented and don't always get to spend as much time as you would like in a place--but on the up side, if you're like me and have a limited time to travel, you can get to see a lot of things in a small amount of time (most of our trips have been two weeks). Also, one person isn't stuck at the wheel, and therefore missing out on the scenery.

The Flight Crew: Thanks for the front-line report. Now, do we have any Globus or Cosmos?


BWIphobia: I actually have no problem with the airport itself, but as a car-less citizen, I can NEVER get to that airport and back without either 1/shelling out a pretty penny or 2/having a serious public transportation mishap.

I live in Dupont, and I just spent $50 extra to fly out of Dulles rather than BWI--that's how much that place stinks.

The Flight Crew: I had the same trouble, Phobe. But recently Andrea Sachs told me how to take a $7 MARC train from Union Station. It was easy. --Steve


22314: I heard on NPR that airline ticket prices have reached a 16 year low. Does this take into account taxes, fees, and surcharges? My hunch is that it doesn't and that this is a fake statistic. I've been lured recently by seeming great deals ($148 RT to Canada) only to find that the final price was 55% higher after adding in all the sundry charges. It's a bit disingenuous to say fares are at a 16-year low if you break out all those required fees separately, which are actually part of the cost of doing business and non-negotiable if you want that seeming great deal.

The Flight Crew: I don't know.


BWI ugggghhh: They have the worst parking buses in the known universe, although you can avoid that by springing for a private parking lot.

The Flight Crew: You're right. I park at PreFlight, but they're up to $9/day now. (good service, though).


Bethesda, Md.: Hi, Crew. We're hoping to rent a beach house on the Outer Banks this summer for the first time (yes, I know it's late, but that's not the point), but we're clueless about how much is a fair price. Do you know a good resource for figuring out how much one "should" pay for a nice, oceanfront two-bedroom house or condo in the last week in August? (We know we may not be able to find a two-bedroom house, and would be willing to get a bigger house if it was nice and on the ocean.) Thanks.

The Flight Crew: Since schools around here are starting early, and since that's hurricane season, I'd try to make a deal. Cindy


International Driver's License: I just rented a car in March when I went to France. You only need a valid US Driver's License to rent. To make things easier I would recommend renting through an American base company like Hertz. We had no problems!

The Flight Crew: Thanks.


clubs in london: There is a block of see and be seen type of places around smithfields in central london. Fabric and Bed were the places to be earlier this year (but London changes fast). Akbar in SoHo is also fun and the indian restaurant upstairs (Red Fort) is great. There are also a hand full of flaminco bars just on the edge of soho that show a really different side of the city. Zoo Bar in lecsester square gets the local restarant and bar workers crowd - - always lively, but it can be a bit cheesy.

The Flight Crew: Thanks


The Flight Crew: D.C. who really really wants the Tilly hat, and who researched all kinds of questions, and who helped us despite the fact he/she didn't seem to know anything off the top of his/her head---we have a top for your head. Send your mailing info to loosec@washpost.com.



McLean, VA: About tour companies, as Herndon was inquiring: We have use Vantage Travel, in Boston, for trips to China and a European river trip from Amsterdam to Hungary, which was supposed to go all the way to the Black Sea, but didn't due to reasons I question. Nevertheless, the tours were first rate, although the administrative staff in Boston is a pain to deal with - or has been in the past. I have had some earnest talks with their management people, who recognize that they had/have a problem. We are next going on a Russian river cruise with Vantage, despite the past problems. Vantage is pitched to the older - post-50 - traveler, but the groups we have been with were congenial and anything but old fuddyduddies. So with the caveat about the admin staff, I would recommend their tours highly. Moreover, they are all inclusive, as far as the river cruises are concerned, including all shore excursions. Factor that out, and they aren't all that expensive.

The Flight Crew: Thanks We're out of here.



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