Q: I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease and, on the advice of my doctor, have started following a gluten-free diet. I have a lot of business travel coming up, though, and am concerned about hotel breakfasts. My company's travel policy generally has folks on my level (middle management) staying in moderate chain hotels that offer a breakfast buffet. It's expected that you'll eat breakfast at the hotel rather than go out for breakfast and submit a receipt for it as part of your expense report. However, I don't think many of these hotels stock gluten-free items for breakfast. What should I do?
A: First, call hotels before you book your room. Ask to speak to the general manager and explain your situation. Perhaps the hotel does offer a few gluten-free items already (a lot of people follow this sort of diet, so you can't be the only guest concerned about this), or perhaps a hotel employee can pick up some items especially for you. I also would talk to your boss or human-resources department about it.
You're following this diet because your doctor recommended it, so the company might be cool with your expensing breakfast. I wouldn't head over to the local five-star hotel for its $49.99 steak-and-eggs breakfast, but if you do a little online research in advance, you can probably find a nearby diner or coffee shop that could accommodate your diet at a reasonable price.
Q: What do you think about people smoking on the beach?
A: If a beach doesn't have rules against smoking, you can smoke there -- just do it politely. Don't, for example, set up your blanket right next to a family with a baby if there is plenty of open space farther down the beach. And, obviously, make sure you don't leave cigarette butts behind. The sand may look like an ashtray, but it's not.
Q: In a recent column, you recommended that couples planning destination weddings make sure there's a "cheap bed-and-breakfast" in town for guests on a budget. We have stayed in B&Bs all over, but have never found a "cheap" one. How does one go about finding a "cheap" B&B?
A: It's all about online research -- and being willing to compromise on luxury and/or location. If you want to visit the Berkshires during the fall-foliage season, you could pay $450 per night for an opulent bed-and-breakfast in Lenox, Mass. Or you could pay $135 per night at a smaller, less formal inn in a smaller town called Housatonic, Mass. The cheap B&Bs are there. It might take a little extra effort to find them.
Email travel-etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at firstname.lastname@example.org. First Published June 17, 2012 12:00 AM