Q My friends and I enjoy going on trips to watch baseball. Are there any package tours for winter ball in places such as the Dominican Republic, Venezuela or other Latin American countries?
A Four countries -- Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Venezuela -- have professional winter baseball leagues that compete in the Caribbean World Series each January. The season started in mid-October and runs until early January. Many of our major leaguers who hail from those countries head home to play in the winter.
The Puerto Rico Professional Baseball League has six teams, including the Santurce Crabbers, which play at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, and three other teams within a cab ride of the capital. The Dominican Professional Baseball Winter League (www.beisboldominicano.com) has seven teams, including the Escogido Lions, which play in Santo Domingo. The Mexican Pacific League (www.ligadelpacifico.com.mx) has eight teams, including one in Mazatlan. And the Venezuela Professional League (www.lvbp.com) has eight teams, including one in Caracas.
Tickets are easily available, so you could book a trip to the destination of your choice and buy game seats there. For packages, Sports Travel (800-662-4424, www.sportstravelandtours.com) will put together a customized tour including airfare, accommodations and game tickets.
Reading the details of airline fare rules and restrictions, I noticed a section labeled "Co-terminals" that said certain groups of cities are considered to be the same point. For instance, US Airways's fare rules for a flight from Washington to New York's LaGuardia says LaGuardia is considered the same as EWR (Newark), HPN (Westchester), NYC (covers LaGuardia, JFK and Newark) and ISP (Islip). Does this mean that the same-priced ticket can be applied to any of these airports? I'd prefer flying into Westchester, but flights there can be prohibitively expensive.
I'm afraid you didn't discover the fine print that unlocks the secret to the cheap seats. This rule applies only to trips that include stopovers.
Terry Trippler, an expert on airline rules and editor of Terrytrippler.com, gave this example of how this rule would be applied: "If you travel New York to Boston to Syracuse and back to New York, this is a circle trip with two stopovers (Boston and Syracuse). If you decide to fly into Syracuse and out of Utica, it is still just two stopovers because the rule reads that Syracuse and Utica are considered the same point. If you decided to fly into Syracuse and out of Rochester, it is now three stopovers because this rule does not consider Syracuse and Rochester the same point. The fare would not apply."
By flying from airports that are considered the same point under this rule, you'll pay less, but it's still not going to be cheap. On the trip detailed by Trippler, for example, you'd pay half the round-trip fare between New York and Boston plus half the round-trip fare between Boston and Syracuse plus half the round-trip fare from Utica to New York. But if you flew out of Rochester instead of Utica, each leg of the trip would be priced as a one-way fare, which would be much more expensive. Isn't airline pricing fun?
My significant other and I want to elope in Nova Scotia next year. How difficult would it be to get married there?
Not difficult at all. All you need is $100 cash and a passport to apply for a marriage license, which is available from dozens of "deputy issuers" located throughout the island. Then you must wait five days between the date of application and the date of issuance. You must be 19 years old to be married without permission. If divorced, you must have proof of divorce and if widowed, proof of death of spouse. You do not need to be a resident, and no blood test is required. The Vital Statistics Office in Halifax will provide a list of judges and clergy to perform the ceremony. For more details: 902-424-4381, www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/paal/vstat/paal307.stm.
Several travelers to Vietnam agreed that safety is not a major concern while traveling there (Travel Q&A, Oct. 6). "I have been to Vietnam for multi-week trips twice in the last three years and the [U.S. State Department] consular information sheet greatly overstates the issue of street crime," said Lewis Lorton of Columbia. "With the same precautions that one takes in any city, the traveler will be perfectly safe." Lorton said tour companies and hotels are plentiful in Vietnam and are often cheaper if you just walk up instead of making reservations. He also says Internet cafes are "innumerable and cheap."
Sara Cormeny of D.C. said she recently took a trip with Untours (888-868-6871, www.untours.com) to Prague and Budapest and would recommend its Vietnam tour. "As thirtysomethings with international travel experience but very little foreign-language skill, this was the ideal way to go to a couple of locales that are off the beaten tourist track," she said. "The prices are excellent and the service level high." A two-week tour to Vietnam with air starts at about $2,000.
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