Q I am traveling to London this summer and would like to purchase theater tickets in advance. How can I find out what will be playing in the various theaters?
A The Society of London Theatre (011-44-20-7557-6700, www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk) is the place to go. You can search London theater offerings by date, theater, genre, age suitability, etc. In July and August, it lists 16 shows, including long-playing shows, such as "Les Miserables" at the Palace, and new offerings, such as "Hobson's Choice," which is scheduled to open July 2 at the Young Vic, and "His Girl Friday," set to open June 5 at the National Theatre Olivier. You can buy tickets through the organization to most shows; the Web site also lists links to individual theater box offices.
You can also purchase tickets for summer theater performances through Time Out London (011-44-870-840-1111, www.timeout.com), which publishes event guides for many major cities. Another good source is the British Tourist Authority's London Planner, a monthly guide to theater and events in London; call 800-462-2748 to subscribe.
We'd like to honeymoon in Hawaii in late spring 2004, but I can't figure out which is more cost-effective -- cruising or a hotel package. Any advice?
A cruise would be less expensive than an upscale beachfront resort in Hawaii and may also save money if you want to visit several islands. But a room at a more modest property, especially if you're content to stay on one island, would cost less. Let's price out a few options.
* Most major cruise lines offer a Hawaii cruise, including Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, but we can nix most of them because they don't offer late spring itineraries. Celebrity and Royal Caribbean offer Hawaii cruises in late May, but they leave from Ensenada, Mexico, or travel to British Columbia, which would mean a steep airfare price. Norwegian offers a May cruise that starts and ends in Honolulu. The Norwegian Star, a new ship that holds 2,200 passengers, visits the Big Island, Maui, Kauai and Fanning Island in Kiribati, south of Hawaii. The rack price is $1,200 per person, but travel agents often offer sales of $800 per person.
* A name-brand beachfront resort is going to cost at least $200 a night for the room alone and, unlike a cruise ship, you'll have to pay for meals, which are generally more expensive in Hawaii. The various Sheratons, for example, often offer deals; a room at the Sheraton Waikiki, for example, was recently advertised for $205. Info: 800-782-9488, www.endlessescape.com.
* If you don't mind rustic accommodations and sharing bathrooms, there are cheap alternatives. Arnott's Lodge near Hilo on the Big Island, for one, costs $47 per night for a room with a shared bath, or $57 a night for a private bath. Info: 808-969-7097, www.arnottslodge.com. Or you could stay at a bed-and-breakfast or a condominium. The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (800-GO-HAWAII, www.gohawaii.com) can provide lodging alternatives. Another good Internet resource is www.hawaii.com.
Is there a mailbox at Dulles Airport? I wonder whether there is a reason, perhaps security related, for not offering any mailboxes in the public areas.
Mailboxes were removed from Washington Dulles after Sept. 11 for security reasons, according to Tom Sullivan, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Part of the problem was that mail carriers were no longer allowed to get into the concourses, where several mailboxes were located. Sullivan said the airport authority is currently negotiating with Thomas Cook, which operates a money exchange booth at the airport, to accept letters and packages. Thomas Cook operates two mail facilities at its booths at Reagan National Airport, which had a full post office in the old terminal until it was closed for economic reasons in 2000.
At BWI, mailboxes were removed after the anthrax attacks but were recently reinstalled and can now be found on the upper levels at piers B,C,D and at the International Terminal.
Edgar Mendez Chacon of Alexandria didn't think my suggestion for a budget tour of Australia, a 45-day tour with Panorama Holidays for $4,650, qualified as an inexpensive option (Travel Q&A, Jan. 19). "I was in Australia in December and took a two-week trip from Adelaide to Darwin. We stayed in dormitory accommodations and permanent campsites that had showers and toilets, and the total cost for the trip was about $675," he said. He recommends Adventure Tours, which offers trips throughout Australia. Info: fax 011-61-8-8132-1375, www.adventuretours.com.au.
Correction: I misplaced Interlaken in last week's Postscript; it's in Switzerland, not Austria.
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