Q: After flying to Fort Lauderdale, I will need to get to the airport in Miami. There will be 4 of us and looking for a convenient/stress free but practical way to make our way to Miami. Any suggestions?
A: Try the Go Shuttle. Should cost about $115 for four people with luggage. If you don’t mind driving, I’m seeing $48 one-way rental car rates at Alamo via Costco.
Q: Looking for an affordable, romantic French hotel in or near the Latin Quarter in Paris for late April.
A: Take a look at Hotel Henri IV Rive Gauche, Hotel Europe Saint Severin and Hotel Residence des Arts.
Q: When you book with any unnamed travel company (like Apple maybe, perhaps) do they have any obligation to check flight delays or does their obligation end with dumping you at the airport? I realize they may have tight schedules for their vans but 12 hours hanging out at an airport instead of on a beach (or home) doesn’t seem like a fair trade, meal voucher from the airline nonwithstanding. Oh, and when asked before departing for the airport they said the flight was on time. Thanks.
A: That’s a little bit of a gray area. They should have checked but they weren’t required to do so. Now that your vacation is over, the tour operator probably isn’t in a position to compensate you.
Q: My father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last spring. He’d like the entire family to take a trip to Ireland next month - it’s on his bucket list. Sadly, his health insurance won’t cover care abroad. Could you suggest travel insurance that would cover medical care there, should he need it? I’ve been researching it, but I’m having a hard time figuring out if a pre-existing condition exemption would cover him.
A: Sorry about your dad’s diagnosis. Glad he’s acting on his bucket list. Go to a site such as InsureMyTrip, QuoteWright or SquareMouth to compare travel medical policies. For example, I found one on InsureMyTrip from GeoBlue for $131 (I plugged in a week in Ireland) that states: This plan does require you to have primary health insurance, but there is no exclusion for pre-existing conditions. Make sure you read the fine print.
Q: I have a seven hour layover in Seattle while en route to Hawaii. I’m planning to leave the airport for a few hours, which I have never done before. Do I just treat my second flight the same way I would any other flight - arrive about two hours early and with my boarding pass?
A: Exactly. Since you are leaving the post-security area, you will have to repeat the screening process, though you won’t have to check in. You can go straight to the security checkpoint. Also, remember to remove any liquids that you might have bought during your adventure in Seattle, and factor into your return schedule any traffic.
Q: I spent 20 frustrating minutes on Delta’s website today to try to figure out how many miles I need for a ticket to Europe. Apparently they don’t publish that information anymore. Are airlines basically discouraging people from using miles for tickets? Is there any point in loyalty to one airline anymore or should I always just take the best price/route and forget about ever getting a free ticket again?
A: I’m sorry to hear about this. Yes, airlines are making it harder to redeem miles for the things you want. No, there’s no point in collecting unless you’re a frequent business traveler and you fly often. Yes, I would book tickets based on price and convenience, not points.
Q: I’m going to Brazil for work, and although I’m not pregnant, I hope to avoid being infected with Zika. What kind of mosquito repellent is the best kind? Big points for not smelling strong. Thank you!
A: The best repellents use either Deet or Picaridin, although the latter probably doesn’t meet your scent criteria.
Q: What’s the easiest and most cost-effective way to get from London Gatwick to London Heathrow? We’ll be arriving at Gatwick around 10:30 pm GMT, and have a hotel booked at LHR that night. We depart from LHR at 11 a.m. the next morning.
A: It all depends on the number of people in your party, but if you are only two, I suggest National Express. Cost is about $36 each and the bus takes about 75 minutes. The train is more complicated and doesn’t offer any savings. And a cab or private car is much more expensive. GreenTomatoCars quotes an estimate of about $158.
Q: I’d like to take a four or five day getaway somewhere warm with my adult son. We have never been to Puerto Rico. Is it easy to plan activities, such as a visit to the National Park there, without a car? Suggestions for where to stay? We are happy to walk and want just a few days downtime.
A: I assume that you are staying in San Juan. If so, most visitors base themselves in Old San Juan or in a resort near Condado Beach - it all depends on your taste in scenery and scene. You will find lots of choices in various budget categories, from simple budget to expensive luxury. An in-town favorite is El Convento, an elegant hotel in a restored 17th-century convent. Most of the beach resorts have similar amenities, such as pools, bars, restaurants, beach access. etc. The hotels typically have an activities desk where you can book outings. You can also book online in advance.
Q: For men, women who can’t bear children, and those who aren’t planning on it, am I crazy to think they don’t necessarily need to worry about Zika any more than the other common illnesses that already plague warm countries? I don’t see anybody saying “don’t travel” because of malaria, dengue, etc. Clearly women who are or are trying to be pregnant should stay away though.
A: You share my thinking on the situation. There are many hazards out there in the world, as you mentioned. If you don’t fit in a high-risk category, then I say: Follow the protective guidelines and go!
Q: I am planning a post-bar trip to Africa for mid-August and would love some advice! The only thing we know we want to do is go on a safari trip so we’d love recommendations on companies, locations and other things to do besides see amazing wildlife.
A: I personally love Namibia. In addition to the wildlife, you can take tours that delve into the diamond mining industry, ride ATVs in giant sand dunes, learn about the German history and more. I also volunteered at a wildlife rescue center, where I slept with a baby baboon (she needed a warm cuddle buddy). My second suggestion is South Africa, with visits to Cape Town, J’burg and Durban.