Travel experts from the Washington Post answer readers’ questions about travel issues.
Q: How do you make the best of travel when you’re sick? There is a joke in my family about my wife getting sick any time we travel abroad. Usually, it’s just a cold and cough. She refuses to cancel the trip and usually spends the first one to three days in a medicine fog, but then gets better and the rest of the trip is fine. Obviously if you’re planning several months in advance there’s no way of knowing that a person will be sick. But when it happens do you think it’s better to cancel (we always get trip insurance) or to forge ahead and deal with it?
A: Whether you cancel or go depends on the severity of your illness and your destination. Obviously, if you are in pain or contagious, you should cancel. If you simply have a cold or ate something funny that will pass in 24 hours, you should consider going. Of course, if your trip is, say, hiking and camping in Patagonia, you will need to be in good heath. So you might want to postpone. If you are just lounging on a Caribbean beach, the sun and water might dry up those sniffles. Just remember to bring any antibiotics or meds with you, so that you don’t have to run around a foreign city looking for a pharmacy.
Q: We’d like to travel from Washington to New York to see “An American in Paris” and “Hamilton” on Broadway. We thought we’d take the train, see one evening show, stay overnight, and return home after a matinee of the other show the next day. Do you have any suggestions for reasonably priced lodging? What’s the best way to get show tickets? Any other tips?
A: What a perfect NYC outing!
For budget lodging, check the family of Apple Core Hotels or the Pod. Also Chelsea Inn or Chelsea Savoy. Years ago, I stayed at the Tuscany — A St. Giles Hotel, near Grand Central, and rates were pretty reasonable. You might also consider AirBnB for your own pad. NYC’s tourism office also lists hotel deals, and you might find packages combined with theater tickets.
For shows, the easiest way is to buy tickets through the venue or theater company in advance. If you are willing to gamble on same-day tickets, you could try the half-price TKTS booth in Times Square, South Street Seaport or downtown Brooklyn. Download the app to see the day’s offerings.
Q: When is the best time of year to visit Alaska? I heard a lot of activities shut down in the wintertime.
A: The state quiets down during the dark winter months. Most people visit in the summer, but I prefer the shoulder seasons (spring/fall) because there are fewer crowds (mainly the cruising hordes). I traveled in late September and had some rain and some sun, and tons of wildlife (my visit overlapped with the salmon spawn, which brings out such local diners as bears and eagles).
Q: My nephew is getting married in August and has asked for my help planning his honeymoon to the Caribbean. He’s asked me to find an all-inclusive deal at an adults-only resort. He’s looking to spend $2,000 to $2,500 for five to seven days. My travel agent is recommending Cancun, but I was hoping for more options. Any suggestions?
A: The Yucatan Peninsula, which includes Cancun, is a good choice. But I’d head a little farther south from Cancun to Playa del Carmen or even Tulum. Prices are reasonable, and it’s not quite as busy as Cancun. Your travel agent is likely recommending Mexico because it’s typically cheaper to fly there than to Jamaica or the Dominican Republic, islands that also have a good selection of all-inclusive resorts.
Q: My friend and I are looking for a long weekend where we get away for some warmth. Puerto Rico is one of the first destinations that pops to mind, but we’re very flexible. Any advice on where we might be able to get a good deal? We’d love to keep it under $800, flight included.
A: Flights to Puerto Rico are typically reasonable. And if you’re willing to stay off the beach, you may be able to do it for under $800. Most other Caribbean islands will cost more because of the flight costs. But look into Nassau, Bahamas. Also, a discount carrier called Norwegian Air Shuttle is offering inexpensive flights from Baltimore-Washington International to Guadeloupe and Martinique. Or you could just go to Florida, although you’d have to go at least as far south as Fort Lauderdale on the East Coast or Naples on the Gulf Coast to have a good chance of truly warm weather.
Q: My husband is interested in science of all types: astronomy, nature, chemistry, geology, etc. Do you have any suggestions for a trip that would include substantial science? Bonus points if it includes culture and history for me. For example, a favorite trip for the two of us was to Iceland where he could enjoy geology, glaciers, etc., while I got a small European capital city.
A: How about an “academic” trip? Check science-y organizations, institutions and educational centers, which often offer tours with a side of culture. The Archaeological Institute of America, for instance, offers science-meets-culture trips, such as the Pyramids and Temples of the Yucatan and Trade Routes of Coastal Iberia. Many tour operators organize astronomy tours in Chile, or closer to home: Astronomy Adventures has star-gazing tours in Santa Fe, a great city even when the stars are hiding.Caribbean - New York City - Latin America and Caribbean - New York