breaking news

NFL owners adopt new policy to address anthem protests

Talk Travel: Are two weeks enough time to tour the world?

The Washington Post's Travel section writers and editors recently discussed stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts: 

Q: When traveling around the world, is it better to get a package from an airline alliance or roll your own plan with better flexibility on destinations? Are more stops better than fewer and how long should layovers be to get at least a sample for each stop? What I'm getting at, is two weeks too short a time to do this, even if it is just for bragging rights?  

A: I took an around-the-world trip in 2016. I spent 20 days in seven countries, but you can definitely circumnavigate the world in less time. I tried to book the trip myself, but for convenience and cost, ended up booking through AirTreks, which specializes in these kinds of trips.  

If you are taking the trip just to say you did, then you don't need much time at each destination. But, honestly, that seems like a waste. I would pick, say, five places and spend anywhere from 24 to 72 hours in each place. Some carriers include a free layover, such as Icelandair, KLM, Japan Airlines and Tap Portugal, so that's an easy way to add in another stop.  

- Andrea Sachs  

Q: In late March is it really warm enough, even in Florida or places like Cancun, Mexico to spend time by the pool, in the water or on the beach?  

A: Florida is a big state, and you may not find swimming-warm days in its northern cities in late March. I'd opt for places south of Fort Myers on the West Coast or south of West Palm on the East Coast. Cancun should be warm enough.  

- Carol Sottili  

Q: I am heading to Las Vegas with a group of friends mostly for climbing in Red Rocks. On non-climbing days we are planning on visiting Zion, Grand Canyon and Death Valley national parks. Are there any other must-see places/must-do activities within four hours of Las Vegas? We'll be there from March 7-16 and have a rental car.  

A: Make room on your list for . . . Lake Mead, Mt. Charleston and Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, Valley of Fire State Park and Hoover Dam. If you are a shoe or public art fan, take the Zappos campus or downtown tour.  

- A.S.  

Q: I've traveled recently on Air France and SAS, and I found that I had to pay extra - after ticket purchase - to choose seats in economy class. When I buy my tickets online through Kayak, for example, these additional costs are not included in the prices listed. Is this a new trend that will spread to all airlines?  

A: It's not necessarily a new trend, but I think more airlines are doing it, and they're being more aggressive about it. I really wish they would find another way of making money.  

- Christopher Elliott  

Q: I've been tasked with finding a Christmas destination for my family of 22 somewhere warm. We have people coming from every time zone, so I'm aiming for one of the Mexico cities with lots of direct flights (Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun). We're considering an all-inclusive, but I'm having a hard time finding ones that have rooms to accommodate the families of five (two adults and three children). I see that Club Med has "family rooms" with a two-room set-up, but many all-inclusives have a max of four per room. The Club Med is likely out of our price range, so are there other properties or brands that offer larger rooms for families?  

A: Very few all-inclusives will accommodate families of five, and they're going to be expensive around the Christmas holidays, plus many will be sold out by now. In the Cancun region, for example, look at Generations. You may want to talk with a travel agent or one of the tour operators, such as Apple Vacations or Vacation Express. Or consider renting a villa.  

- C.S.  

Q: What is the benefit of using a qualified travel agent rather than directly through the cruise line? I've done a couple cruises previously and had no issues booking through the cruise line, but now that I'm considering another one in April (to Cuba on Norwegian), I'm wondering if I should contact a travel agent instead.  

A: A few reasons: A cruise specialist knows the industry well, has cruised many times, and can match you to the right sailing. Also, many cruise agents have access to exclusive prices that you may not find online. And finally, a good cruise agent can help you if something goes wrong on your vacation, arranging for transportation to the nearest port if you miss a connection, for example. But a word of warning: Agents take a generous commission from your cruise and are often incentivized to sell certain cruises. You should always do your own research and ask lots of questions.  

- C.E.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Travel

How does Carnival track its cruise ships? New high-tech center relies on big data

When Hurricane Irma struck last September, 16 of Carnival’s cruise ships were sailing the Caribbean. The Carnival team scrambled to reroute ships, rebook passengers embarking or debarking, and set up new port calls out of harm’s way.  Next time a storm threatens, the task will be easier, thanks to a new, state-of-the-art fleet operations...
Close to nature (and a nice pool) in South Carolina

Montage Palmetto Bluff 477 Mount Pelia Road;  From $340.  A traditional resort that has modernized its Old South feel, South Carolina’s graceful Montage Palmetto Bluff has been called one of the world’s most romantic hotels. The property opened two new restaurants in 2017 and added a third, serving...
Disney Cruise Line returns to favorite destinations in 2019

Disney Cruise Line has announced a wide range of itineraries for 2019. The line will return to several popular destinations and home ports, including Bermuda, Bahamas, Baja, Canada and the Caribbean. Bookings open on May 24, 2018.  Highlights of the 2019 lineup include the Disney Magic’s return to New York in September. She’ll sail...
Florida's funky Hollywood is ready for a final close-up

Sometimes you have to see a place before it changes drastically, while it's still on the right side of your economic, ecologic, emotional or aesthetic tipping point.  I learned this in 1989 on my first trip to magical Bali - well after the 1960s hippie/surfer invasion when you could live simply for almost nothing, but before the explosion of opulent...
That free frequent flyer seat may be easier to book. Here’s why

Airlines are making it easier for frequent flyers to redeem their travel rewards, as major carriers work harder to keep their most loyal customers happy, according to a seat availability survey released last week.  American Airlines showed the biggest improvement, rising from the bottom of the pack to ninth in the annual survey, with members of...
More Stories