Talk about Travel

The Pitons on the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia (AP/Scott Sady).
Apr 17, 2017

Talk about Travel is here to help at 2 p.m. Mondays.
Have a travel-related question, comment, suspicion, warning, gripe, sad tale or happy ending? The Post Travel section's editors and writers are at your service.
Past Talk about Travel chats

Hi all, and welcome to Talk About Travel. This week's special issue was devoted to Canada, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Have a favorite Canadian destination? Tell us about it below. Most compelling answer gets a World of Hyatt universal USB travel charger. On to your questions!

Last spring you had an article on Richmond, but I am unable to locate it online. Can you provide a link? We are finally planning our long-delayed visit. Thank you.

I think this piece from last March is what you're looking for -- have fun!

So we're going on a trip that includes a stop in Russia. How long does it take to get a visa? The company provides a web site for the application and helps walk you through the process.

Processing times depend on the volume of applicants, so you never know if it will take three days or 15 working days (typically the max wait time). Moral of the story: Always apply early.

Russia visas are notoriously complicated. I used a third-party service, VisaHQ, to facilitate the transaction. They made sure I had all of the proper paperwork before submitting it to the consulate, and I had no problems whatsoever.

Last week I became a naturalized US citizen, and I will be travelling to Europe for work next week. When I return to the US I will have only my British passport (they took away my permanent resident card when I became a citizen). Could I face problems returning to the US with no proof of citizenship?

You can't travel without a valid passport. If you are  dual citizen, you can certainly re-enter on your British passport, but if you revoked your UK citizenship, then you will need a US passport to travel. If this is the case, set up an appointment with the State Department's passport center for an expedited passport.

I have purchased airline tickets and accommodations for 2 weeks in June in South Africa. Can you make suggestions as to where I may purchase trip insurance? Thank you.

Go to a Web site that compares various travel insurance policies from different companies. Try InsureMyTrip, QuoteWright and SquareMouth

So... what's the best area of Austin to stay in for a short vacation? We don't need it to be a super nice place, location is more important than luxury and we DO want to keep costs down a little. We are okay with hotels or air B&Bs. Also, where do we find the best tacos/mexican food?

You can get some great deals renting from private owners through sites such as Homeaway ( make sure you do your homework before handing over any money). I'd look outside the downtown proper area, perhaps south of Ladybird Lake. I like Torchy's Tacos.  

We're thinking of spending about a week on the eastern side of Sicily, probably in the fall. Any suggestions on what we should plan on hitting, or avoiding?

Even if you stay on Sicily's eastern end, you can visit other places on the island.  Must-sees include Taormina, Syracuse, Agrigento and Cefalu. I wasn't all that enamored with Messina. 

Chatters share their favorite Canadian destinations:

Green Gables gets my vote! It's an old house decked out to look like the Green Gables Anne lived in. You can drink raspberry cordial and walk down Lover's Lane. A fabulous (if slightly cliched) visit. And you can cap it off with ice cream from COWS!

Windsor. Drive across the bridge (or through the tunnel; it's no nevermind), get Canadian beer in Windsor, return. Then again, I was in college in Michigan at the time, and that was 30 years ago. Past due for some more wide-ranging experiences.

My husband and his best friend did a west to east bike ride across Canada about 15 years ago. I'm not sure what they would describe as their favorite spot, but most of their best stories (that don't involve potentially life threatening traffic drama) come from the hospitality they received in small towns across Saskatchewan and Manitoba where they'd pull into town for the night to camp at the town park, then head off to find the nearest place for a beer and dinner. My personal favorite place (anywhere?) is Quetico National Park in Ontario. It's the Canadian side of the BWCAW and it's one of the most spectacular places I've had the privilege of visiting (even with the flies and mosquitoes).

It's the best place in the world. Easy to get around. Lots to see. Beautiful. Not too crowded. Good stores. Great museums. Friendly people. I was born here and have lived here ever since and intend to die here. Come help us celebrate our 150th anniversary!

I've never been to Delaware and I've lived in DC for a couple of years now. Can you recommend a way to visit Delaware using public transportation from DC or VA (bus or train)? Do you have a suggested itinerary? I don’t have a car and can’t drive so renting a car is not an option. I’m interested in culture, gardens, outdoors and of course, food! On that same line, are there other cities besides NY and Philly that you can visit from DC by public transport and enjoy through the weekend without a car? I'm willing to join a tour departing from DC if there is one.

You can take Amtrak to Wilmington and tour the area by foot or using cabs or buses (look for DART signs, or ride the trolley). Winterthur museum and gardens, one of the state's top attractions, is about 15 minutes by car from Amtrak. Delaware is better known for its beer than its food.  Delaware Brew Bus offers tours of breweries, but you will need to call the company to figure out how to access the meeting point.

To visit the beaches, here are some options, from the state's tourism office.

You can take the train to Richmond, Williamsburg, Charlottesville or Norfolk. And Greyhound still goes to most major destinations.

I was kicked off a flight once. It was US Air in Pittsburgh. The stewardess came to where I was sitting and asked for my ticket. I didn't have one because it was an e-Ticket and I was connecting from DC to Columbus. They told me I had to get off bc I didn't have a ticket and escorted me off. It was the last flight out to Columbus so I would have been stuck. I was in tears. The plane left the gate and only back at the ticket counter did they bother to ask me my name. Oops. Wrong person. The plane came back to the gate and I re-boarded using those moveable stairs. Everyone was staring at me like I did something wrong. It was completely humiliating. It still makes me cringe when I think about it. Moral of the story - make sure they have the right person if they ever ask you to get off the plane.

I'm surprised the plane turned around and came back to the gate for you. I always keep my boarding pass handy even after I get on the plane, just in case. I also still print out my tickets, even if I also get boarding pass sent to my phone, because sometimes phones die.  As for checking your ID, that's something that should have been done before you were removed from the flight. But it's not something I would have necessarily thought of as a passenger. Thanks for the tip. 

More Canadian favorites:

Ok, I may have mentioned it here before, but I LOVE Stratford. It started out as a light industrial town, so it isn't just a tourist trap (sorry, Niagra-on-the-Lake, but over 200 years of tourists has made you a little twee). You enter town past a sign that welcomes you to the home of the Ontario Pork Congress. Get to the center of town and you are in a real walkable place. The theater festival is absurdly good. I once saw a musical where the whole cast came out in brand new costumes just for the curtain call. It was worth it. Food covers every thing from occasion dining to grab a quick it. And then the little things. If you are there on Saturday, hit the farmers market with tons of Mennonite farmers selling everything that was still growing on Friday, plus brad and sausage and whatever. Multiple book stores with local interest sections plus copious sale tables for browsing. Several toy stores that encourage you to play with stuff yourself (even grown ups). Kayaks and pedal boats for rent on the river. Walking trails along the river too. Swans nest on the river too, but be careful. I had one nearly open my backpack to get at the bread inside once. Chain stores if you need them further out, but not much visible downtown. The tension leaves my back and shoulders in about two minutes when I arrive in town. Fly to Toronto. There are shuttles to take you back and forth.

I worked one summer in Detroit. I often received Canadian coins in my change; and I saved them in a jar. At the end if the season, we took a road trip to Windsor, and had a dinner at a waterfront restaurant - and paid the bill with coins. We had rolled them in coin wrappers and explained the source of the loot. I also went to the Toronto International Film Festival a couple of years ago. My only complaint - the TTC (subway) didn't open on Sunday until 9:00 am. I think they have changed to 8:00 am now -but I really had to wonder - was is a cultural thing or just a labor union work rule?

We went to Nova Scotia and PEI for our honeymoon, now 25 years ago, and loved all of it. Many great memories. Having to be given a sport coat from a closet with racks of them for forgetful guests to dress appropriately to eat at the Keltic Lodge and the ferry to PEI were two. But the best was driving around PEI (does not take long) and seeing a nurse with her medical bag on a bicycle heading off to see a patient. Simple but memorable.

I was pleasantly surprised by how nice Victoria is. Even though we were there for a short time (cruise stop), it had such a picturesque setting and very good vibe. I would put it as a gem of the Pacific NW and would definitely like to return for a longer stay.

Unfortunately, I have only seen the Atlantic Canadian provinces, Montreal and Toronto, but have loved everything I've seen. However, my favorites were PEI and Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia. Perhaps it was the brightly colored homes or the laid-back atmosphere, but the sky seemed to be a much brighter blue, the water seemed more crystal clear and the adults and children all seemed to be much more comfortable and happy than in the big cities. I love Canada and since reading your article, have put the rail trip on my bucket list!

We love "Parc National De La Jaques Cartier" just north of Quebec city- Not to be confused with the Jaques Cartier Provincial Park on PEI, which is probably also fantastic, but I haven't yet had a chance to experience. We've seen black bear and moose on our trips. Most memorable activity was tubing the river. First there was renting the tube at the park concession, the clerk spoke English, but French was her first language. A couple in front of us wanted to rent a canoe, they spoke Hebrew, another guest spoke English & Hebrew, so interpreted for them, at some point there was a flurry of explanation when they understood "Portage" to mean leave the canoe in the water and run down the trail expecting to regain it after the rapids (or falls.) :-) Meanwhile we thought we were doing fine with understanding the info we needed and set off to tube to a shuttle bus rendezvous. When we finally struggled up to the parking lot just before the last shuttle ferried canoeists back we were ruing setting out so late, until the bus driver looked at us incredulously and asked where we came from, apparently the tubes are only for paddling around the wide gentle area in front of the visitor center. But FYI, you *can* tube down that river and catch the shuttle back.

My husband and I honeymooned in the Canadian Rockies. For our 25th anniversary we went back and this time could afford to splurge a bit more - meals, hotels and art. The very last night I got a call from kid#2 to inform me s/he had used my spouse's car (why use a boring sports utility when you can use a sport coupe) and the engine blew up! We returned with our artwork but had a large repair bit back in the states. Needless to say this has become a favorite family story.

Two favorites (cheating!) because they're two sides of Canada both literally and figuratively: Vancouver, BC, is a world-class city, with great restaurants, an amazing urban park, beautiful views wherever you turn and a truly diverse population that reflects Canada's "salad bowl" approach to diversity. Across the country is Prince Edward Island, rural (its capital city has a population of 36k!), a fantastically homogeneous population largely descended from its Scots, Irish, and French founders that manages to keep many folk traditions alive, beautiful views wherever you turn, and truly, the best potatoes in the world.

Royal Botanical Gardens, in Burlington, Ontario (just outside Hamilton, and en route by car to Toronto). Right now I imagine their spring flowers are blooming, and a succession of plants (including, later in the season, a vegetable garden) continues into the autumn. There's also an indoor conservatory, and a couple of places to eat during daytime hours. In summer there are early-evening concerts in a huge tent on Wednesdays, with a pop-up barbecue grill selling simple cooked-to-order food beforehand. 

West Montrose in Ontario! It's about a 90 minute drive from Toronto, 2 hours from Buffalo, or 3.5 hours from Detroit. It's a tiny area, with a large Amish population - and a great, large flea market 15 minutes away. A college town is a 20 minute drive. The Stratford Shakespeare Festival is an hour drive. But for an idyllic weekend, stay next to the West Montrose Covered Bridge (aka The Kissing Bridge), the last wooden covered bridge in Ontario and the oldest such bridge in Canada. One Sunday morning, when visiting family there, snow was gently falling as a flock of geese took off from the river and an Amish buggy was headed into the covered bridge. My husband says he expects to see that picture on a jigsaw puzzle.

Great article! Made me feel like I was on-board, too... Question -- what are the showers like? I am guessing you push a button and get 1 minute of water? How clean are the showers? Obviously not cleaned after each passenger, though.

Thank you! The shower was surprisingly nice. I did have to press a button, but I figured out the timing and didn't have any stuck-with-shampoo-in-my-hair moments. Most people on my train stayed in cabins with their own showers, so for much of the trip, I had the shower to myself.

The cabin attendants are always cleaning up after the passengers. I left my toothbrush in the bathroom to run out to a stop and it was on my bunk when I got back.

Writers have said that airlines overbook because empty seats lose money but when people cancel flights at the last minute-or sometimes earlier- they're not likely to get refunds. I'm not sure the loss of money is a good argument, what do you think?

Many critics of the policy say it is not relevant to the current state of travel. Back before change fees, people canceled or didn't show up, knowing it wouldn't cost them anything. Few people are no-shows today (unless there was an emergency). It costs way too much to rebook a flight.

Today's code is TT9865. It expires at midnight, so be sure to enter it on Monday to get credit for participating.

My wife and I are planning a European trip next May. I have already booked a two week cruise through Northern Europe but we would like to Eurorail it for another week around Europe either before (or after) the cruise. But we wont need the same clothing for our "vagabond" train trip as we will need on the cruise. Any ideas of where I can stash a suitcase or two for a week or so? Our cruise is starting and returning to Amsterdam. Thanks

Lock Luggage Storage Amsterdam, near the central train station, stores visitors' luggage.

Join some groups on Meetup.com that are focused on day trips, culture, gardens, etc. Often people will meet at a Metro station and carpool from there. There are many members who don't drive and they just pay the driver a small amount for gas.

Great idea!

Even more beloved Canadian destination:

My husband and I had a wonderful two-week trip on a rented Harley-Davidson motorcycle traveling though the Canada's Maritime Provinces and around the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec. We ended our visit in Old Quebec City before heading south back to the U.S. The views overlooking the ocean on the road around the peninsula were mesmerizing.

The Canadian Rockies, Banff and Lake Louise. The most beautiful place on earth, winter or summer.

I have been to Canada (Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland) many times. In October 2015, I went on a Road Scholar hiking vacation that was based on the Quebec side of the Vermont border. We hiked in Quebec on several days, and in Vermont (including Mt. Mansfield) several days, so there were multiple border crossings in carpools. The guards on the American side were very harsh, questioning why 3 or 4 unrelated people were traveling together. The Canadians were much more easygoing. I have been hiking all my adult life, and Cape Breton (Nova Scotia) and Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland are spectacular. And the people are very friendly.

We took ViaRail from Vancouver to Jasper, and while there drove to to Maligne lake and hiked the Moose Loop trail. It was early April, a sunny day, the snow was well-packed on the trail, and we were the only ones there. The peace and beauty of the snow-covered trees and frozen lake was amazing. I also recommend taking the Banff gondola to the top of the mountain then walking to the weather station at the summit - the views are amazing!

Regarding the horrible United Airlines incident, how common is overbooking? Have other chatters experienced aggressive or rude treatment when overbooking has occurred on their flights? How do other airlines handle getting their employees (e,g, pilots, flight attendants) to destinations?

Overbooking is commonplace, but doesn't typically result in bumping.  Last year, several hundred thousand were involuntarily bumped from U.S. carriers, but that's just 1 out of every 10,000 or so passengers. I was on two overbooked United flights last week, and in both cases, the airline convinced volunteers to take an $800 voucher and a later flight: That's the usual scenario. Airlines typically plan in advance to make sure their crews are positioned. In the infamous Dr. Dao case, however, the crew was being moved to make up for a shortfall. 

I've cruised 10 times since 1970, on smaller, older ships, with the max. passengers about 2,000. I like that size ship because I run into the same people and get accustomed to the venues and amenities fairly quickly. I'm considering a cruise next year with a group on a ship that holds 4,000 passengers. The itinerary is great, but I'm worried that there will be too many passengers, too many venues, long lines, too long to tender, etc. for my taste. Are those bigger ships as crowded as I imagine?

Depends where and when it is cruising. If it's one of the newer ships with lots of amenities and you want to go to the Caribbean during spring break, expect a crowd, including plenty of kids. But I'd say give it a try if you're outside of peak travel times. 

I'm going to visit family stationed at Ramstein near Frankfurt for a week next month. I haven't been to Europe before but am really not into history and older architecture. I do love any an all natural wonders, food, and basically walking around a city, soaking up the vibes. Am looking into the Wadden Mud Flats up on the North Sea, and would have a great time just driving through the countryside. I hear there are tulips and windmills in Holland. Anything else that you recommend?

Berlin, Amsterdam and Vienna are walkable cities with lots of personality. For natural beauty, England's Lake District,the Italian Alps (Val Gardena region) and the rural areas near Strasbourg, France are a few of my favorities. 

I was in the post office the other day and a family of four came in with their passport applications. They had read online that the post office has open (walk-up) hours, and one of the family members even called a 1-866 number to confirm that. However, upon arrival, they were told that the branch didn't take walk-ins because they were too busy serving customers and that the family would have to make an appointment. The branch manager was also less than understanding of the family's frustration. Needless to say, the family was not thrilled. According to the branch manager, the information the family read online, as well as the number they called, was not connected to the actual branch in any way--it was simply a generic number (perhaps a national call-in number?). The next available appointment the family could get was at least a week out. I wanted to pass this along as a caution to anyone who's planning on applying for a passport. It sounds like the best course of action is to directly contact the post office branch where you plan to apply so you can find out any directions specific to your branch.

Good lesson to share! It is always best to check the passport times and availability with your local post office in advance.

I know the United incident is fresh on everyone's minds but any thoughts on involuntary denied boarding? I went to California during Christmas time, and lo and behold, due to weather delays, Delta Airlines was looking for volunteers to be re-accommodated. They have a brilliant bidding system where you bid what you're willing to be bumped to and I negotiated with the gate agent to route me through JFK and I flew First class transcon! Voucher + first class (albeit 5 hours than my original arrival time). Flying is already harrowing, might as well make lemons out of lemonade...

Delta started this system back in 2011. And they recently changed their system to allow supervisors to pay as much as $9,950 in compensation. 

I accidently let my passport expire this past February. To get a new one, do I start all over again as someone who has not had one or is there a way to update the previous one?

You can still renew it by mail (as long as it was no more than five years expired).

My boyfriend is going to be stationed there for a bit and I'm going to visit. Naples seems a little less touristy than other Italian cities. Other than getting real pizza and going to Pompeii, what else should I do, see and eat?

Naples isn't one of my favorite cities in Italy, although it does have some nice museums and architecture. Check out Sansevero Chapel Museum, Catacombs of San Gennaro and Galleria Borbonica.  

If a U.S. citizen on vacation is sick how is it handled by the U.K.?

I am not sure what you are asking. If the hospital will treat you? Or how you pay? Can you be more specific?

Travelling to RSA in June. Should I take the malaria pills?

It all depends on where you are going in the country. The CDC highlights some vulnerable areas, but you should really consult with an infectious diseases doctor or drop into a travel clinic.

Hi, there--a month or so ago, we booked tickets on American via Orbitz, to Nova Scotia in July. I went to the AA website to choose seats, and paid around $40 to ensure that my husband and I and our 10-year-old son could sit together (don't recall which leg of the trip required this). A few weeks later, we got a call from Orbitz that the flights had significantly changed and they needed to rebook us at no charge so we could make our connections, which they did. Again, went to AA.com and this time found seats together on the new flights for free. It's certainly not worth hours on the phone, but I wondered if I could easily get a refund of the $ for the seat fees, or am I up a creek since I bought via Orbitz? The website has a way to check eligibility for refunds, but asks for a ticket number, which I don't have (but I don't think I'd have that even if I'd bought directly).

I would call Orbitz and ask for a refund or a credit, since I think they might have charged you for the seats. If they say it was AA, then call AA and ask for a refund. You should not have to pay for seats that you are not sitting in!

Could use some recommendations for affordable (and family friendly) central-ish London hotels for this summer. I know this has been a topic of prior chats, but I've had trouble searching for them. All the places that friends recommended are fully booked for when we're traveling.

For budget friendly lodging in London, take a look at the Premier Inn chain. 

I am flying from DC to northern CA in early 2018 for leisure. If I purchase a flight too early, I feel like the flight will get changed at least twice. But if I purchase too late, I may not have many choices because some flights may be full. (This is leisure, so I don't mind upgrading to an economy plus or business-type class.) How many months prior to my trip is a good time to lock down an airline ticket?

If you're flying nonstop to San Francisco, chances are that your flight times will not change dramatically. If you're doing connecting flights to a smaller city, better chance of major changes. Sweet spot for buying domestic tickets for lowest price, according to several studies, is no more than four months in advance and as little as one month. But I'd start looking now to become familiar with the going rate. 

How accessible is the Delaware art Museum from the Amtrak station? Is that a reasonable one day train trip from DC?

It is less than 3 miles away. And the train trip is 90 minutes away. So yes.

Were this to happen - are the airlines required to pay cash, or are they allowed to give a voucher? Does it make a difference if it voluntary or involuntary?

They are permitted to give either vouchers or cash in either situation. Push for the cash as vouchers often have blackout dates and they expire. 

This place blew us away: from wikipedia: "The Villa Romana del Casale (Sicilian: Villa Rumana dû Casali) is a Roman villa urbana built in the first quarter of the 4th century and located about 3 km outside the town of Piazza Armerina, Sicily. It contains the richest, largest and most complex collection of Roman mosaics in the world, and has been designated as one of 49 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy."

It's located in Sicily's interior, midway between Catania and Agrigento. Putting it on my "to see" list. 

I love Naples. Yes it is gritty and you need to learn which neighborhoods to avoid, but boy is the place alive. And not touristy.

Some final Canadian favorites:

I've been to various places in Canada but two top experiences were both whale watching trips. The first was out of Tadoussac an hour or two outside of Quebec City. We did a tour on zodiacs in the St Lawrence late July and saw so many whales, dolphins and seals it almost seemed like we were in a tank at a theme park. There were beluga whales and minkes that come to the fjord there to feed in the summer. The second was in the Bay of Fundy while we were in Nova Scotia. Another zodiac tour and we saw many humpback whales including a mother and calf who were playing together and breaching maybe 50 yards from our boat.

Especially for those with a limited amount of time -- Quebec City! A little piece if Europe in North America. Great Food. History. Don't worry about having to speak French-- odds are, you will be in an area where there's a lot of English. However, "Merci" and "S'il vous plait" can go a long way!!

A friend recently called her PO to make an appointment and they told her they only do walk-ins. When she arrived (taking the day off from work), they told her that no, she would have to make an appointment. Which meant taking another day off of work. They really need a consistent system.

Agree!

About ten years ago, before Northwest Airlines was bought out, I was traveling to a funeral in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and I had to change planes in Detroit. I got bumped from the last leg of the flight, stranded in the Detroit airport. And I was carrying the urn to the funeral. Fortunately, the airline personnel were nice and were able to book me to a different town on the opposite end of the U.P. so I had to change my rental car reservation, but I made it to my destination.

Oh that is tense. But glad you made it on time!

Hi Experts! In some weird chain of events I find myself free from this Saturday and don't have to be back at work until the following Wednesday. Where can I go to relax, preferably with a beach, for a few days? Ideally without bankrupting myself? I was going to take advantage of Norwegian Air to Guadalupe or Martinique but it looks like service is no longer available? I'd be a single woman, not overly athletic, with a passport. I'd say just go to Key West or something like that but Florida would be super pricey, yes? I don't want to head to Richmond, Philly or NYC as that''s where I tend to escape so I'd like to get on a plane instead. do any airlines have esavers anymore or is that a thing of 2003? Thanks!

Norwegian Air's flights are seasonal, so not being offered now. Spring break is finished, so Florida may be a fine choice. Or you could take a nonstop to Puerto Rico or Cancun. I haven't heard anything about esavers in ages. 

I know that treatment at emercency rooms is free to absolutely everyone but I'm pretty sure you start getting charged if you are admitted. I fell of my tour bus once in Worcester and was treated (ie, looked at and sent home) at the worcester hospital with no charge. And someone on onathor tour tripped on the sidewalk at Heathrow and was treated as a free, outpatient as well.

I am not sure this is the case anymore. According to a recent news report from the UK: "New laws will place a responsibility on hospitals to charge foreign patients before any care is given."

I was sick in Canada and the hospital visit was definitely not free. I paid thousands of dollars in medical bills. But this is why you should always take out travel medical insurance, so you don't have to worry.

If you are going to Ramstein and will only be in the area a week, don't get too ambitious. Very close by you can explore the city of Kaiserslautern, with a nice pedestrian shopping area and a botanical garden. There are also beautiful gardens in Saarbrucken and Frankfurt is always worth exploring. And it should be a beautiful time for a Rhine River cruise and wonderful wine and food along the Romantic Road.

Is a great city. Since her BF is stationed there, he should check into the local USO office. We used their tour services to book outings to Pompeii and Vesuvius (English speaking guide) and to Capri.

A few years ago I renewed my passport at my local post office. However, I checked there beforehand to see what their hours for that service were, since it turned out they were quite limited. Helpful hint for women: When you're going to get your passport photo taken, wear considerably more than your usual amount of makeup (eyeliner, blusher, lipstick), so your features don't look washed-out in the picture.

Speaking from experience - I tripped and broke my arm in London. I went the ER at University College Hospital, and they did x-rays and gave me pain meds and a sling. No charge - they didn't even have a means of billing me if they wanted to. The doctor explained that it would only charge if I was admitted to hospital. My Blue Cross covers me when I am abroad, but I didn't have to file a claim!

Good to know, thanks!

You should have the ticket number from Orbitz. It's not the same as the record locator (6 alpha-numeric), but a long string of digits (think it starts with 001 for American).

Thanks!

Looks like our time is up -- thanks for joining us! Canada whale-watcherdrop us a line at travel@washpost.com to claim your prize. 

In This Chat
Nicole Arthur
Nicole Arthur is the Travel editor.
Carol Sottili
Carol Sottili is a former Washington Post travel writer, specializing in travel deals.
Andrea Sachs
Andrea Sachs is a staff writer for Travel.
Christopher Elliott
Christopher Elliott writes The Navigator column. He is also National Geographic Traveler magazine's reader advocate.
Recent Chats
  • Next: