- The Washington Post
The Washington Post's Travel section writers and editors recently discussed stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts:
Q: My family would like to do a tour through Slovenia, the country of my grandfather's birth. We are looking for a tour that would be good for multiple generations - adults in their 40's and in their 70's. Do you have any suggestions for finding tours since Slovenia isn't your typical travel destination?
A: Actually, Slovenia is growing in popularity. Many travel groups offers trips there, such as Trafalgar, Kensington Tours and Intrepid Travel. I would check out the different itineraries and see what works best for your multi-generational group. You can sign up whole hog or assemble your own independent tour "inspired" by theirs.
- Andrea Sachs
Q: Our family (six adults, six kids, from age 6 months to 12 years old) would like to spend Dec. 22 to Dec. 29 in Cancun, Mexico, in a resort that is kid-friendly. We're open to going the all-inclusive route but have concerns because we are all vegetarian and don't really drink. Any suggestions of all-inclusive resorts we should consider or is a non-inclusive resort with a self-catering option the best way to go? We are willing to spend $8,000 for four people for the week, for tickets and stay. Is that doable? We will be traveling from the Washington area.
A: Don't do an all-inclusive. You'll be paying to cover the imbibers and buffet lovers. There are lots of companies that specialize in villa rentals, such as Mayaluxe and Luxury Retreats, which may work for you. Or look at hotels that are not all-inclusive and that offer accommodations with multiple bedrooms, such as Fairmont Mayakoba.
- Carol Sottili
Q: I live in Pennsylvania which was given an extension for the Real ID drivers licenses, but I have business travel coming up and I'm wondering if my drivers license will be accepted in Arizona airports? Or should I bring my passport? The government websites are all over the place. The Pittsburgh airport site says the drivers license is OK because of the extension, but what about other states?
A: Even though the extensions are state-by-state, TSA's acceptance of driver's licenses is nationwide. But it's always safe to bring your passport because sometimes the directive doesn't make it to all ears.
Q: I am researching travel groups for a trip to Europe on my own. While I don't mind traveling alone, I feel that being a part of a group will provide me with some "checking in" and safety for my first Europe trip. I don't mind traveling with a non-singles group and paying an additional single room fee (or even sharing). I am 50ish, and I do not want to travel people much younger or older. Determining if a group is credible is really difficult. Web reviews are unreliable at best and often sound like they are written by their Mom or competitors. Do you have any suggestions for travel group companies and how to safely research them?
A: Unfortunately, there's no Good Housekeeping seal of approval for tours, but you might want to check to see if your tour operator is a member of the United States Tour Operators Association, a nonprofit trade organization. That's usually a good sign.
- Christopher Elliott
Q: I did a tour of Italy with Tauck and would highly recommend it. I was also a solo traveler, in my mid-40s, and the ages ranged from late 30s to late 60s (if I had to guess). It is more expensive than other tour companies, I believe, but I thought it was totally worth it - very nice accommodations that were centrally located, excellent planning of the trip (including sufficient down time for us to explore on our own), and nice perks, like private museum tours and the like.
A: Yes, Tauck is a great operator. I'm a fan.
Q: Any 80th birthday travel suggestions for someone who is fairly immobile, but does not use a wheelchair?
A: You might enjoy a river boat cruise in Europe or the States. The boats move at a slow pace, so you can see the gorgeous scenery without getting off.
Q: It's been a long time since I've had to rent a car. I'll need one in March for a visit to SFO, and the less expensive options are from companies I don't know anything about: Fox and Sixt. Anybody have any experience, good or bad, with them?
A: I've rented from Fox in Los Angeles, and I wasn't a fan. Lines were long and the car models were not my favorites. But the price was right. If you're a Costco member, try its rates. Also, try going through the airline you are flying - they sometimes offer good car rental rates for passengers.
Q: I am glad to hear that some airlines are finally cracking down on Emotional Support Animals and requiring medical documentation up front - the situation has unfortunately been abused by too many passengers, thereby casting aspersions on those few passengers who actually need service animals or other ESAs.
A: You're right, there's been way too much abuse. The Department of Transportation has failed to act, but now at least one airline has. I wonder if other carriers will follow.
Q: Funny, I've never encountered an ill-behaved service animal or pet-in-a-carrier in an airplane cabin (or in the airport, for that matter). Have I just been incredibly lucky, or are these horror stories quite rare?
A: Yeah, the joke is that you encounter more ill-behaved passengers than animals. But your point is taken. Most animals that fly are quiet and well-mannered.