Talk about Travel

The Pitons on the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia (AP/Scott Sady).
Jul 23, 2018

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Hi all, and welcome to Talk About Travel. In this week's section, we explored the Expo Line light rail system in Los Angeles, which provides easy access to some of the city's top treasures. What's your favorite attraction in La-La Land? Tell us which one and why below. Most compelling answer wins a special prize. Now,  on to your questions!

My African safari trip will cost approximately $12000 and it is 100% non refundable within 60 days of departure. Since my credit card will only cover a maximum of $6000 for cancellation and/or interruption, I am considering purchasing a separate policy for an additional $6000 (probably Allianz). Does this sound reasonable?

Have you priced insurance through your tour operator?

Can anyone recommend some restaurants that offer authentic Bosnian cuisine? I am especially interested in Sarajevo.

Chatters, can you help?

I'd like to take my family of five - including two active kids - to Chincoteague Island, VA, for Thanksgiving weekend. We are planning to bring our bikes, and happy enough getting away for family time at our rental - board games, etc. Is there enough to do in the off season to make it worthwhile? Other activities you'd recommend?

There's a big market day on Nov. 24 with art, crafts, jewelry, etc. at the Community Center for the Arts. Other than that, bird-watching, walking the beach and watching ponies are fair-weather activities. 

I am turning 40 in December and my husband and I are gathering ideas for a fun trip to celebrate. We were in Hawaii in April, so we don't need to head in that direction. :) I have never been to NYC or Chicago, so I'm thinking one of those might be fun, (but COLD, which we are okay with), but I'm open to anything else that's out there. I can't drink, so wine country is kind of a bust for me. We'd likely have 4-5 days including travel. Thank you!

NYC is cold but so festive in December. Quebec City and Montreal are also nippy, but worth braving the cold for. If you want slightly warmer climates, consider Nashville or New Orleans, or driving the Florida Keys. Depending on your departure city, you could also swing a trip to Belize or Costa Rica.

We flew from Sweden to Newark yesterday and had a connector flight on United Express down to Dulles. Our flight was delayed numeros times, we finally took off 5 hours after scheduled departure. In the time I was at the terminal, I don't think I saw a single United Express take off on time. Many were delayed then just cancelled, leaving people stuck. My husband overheard one agent tell a family they would just get a refund and could drive to Richmond VA. In future travel I will avoid United and United Express!

I'm sorry about your flight. You may be eligible for compensation under EU 261, the European air travel consumer protection law. Here's more information about EU 261. Let me know if you need an help filing a claim. Here's how to reach me.

Hi. I was searching for flights to Japan in November; passengers will be two adults, a 3 year old, and a one year old. We will not want to keep our one year old on our lap so plan on buying him his own seat. But, it was unclear to me whether the search engine on ANA air or JAL were distinguishing between an infant seat vs lap infant. The charges for a one year old were quite minimal. I found prices for approximately $2800 for the four of us. But, if I put in for 2 adults and two 2+ year olds then the price came back at closer to $3600. Could a seat for an "infant" really be that much less? Also, is $2800 a good price or would you wait for something better? In 2016, we flew to Japan with our daughter as a lap infant and it was much easier to tell if the fares were good. Now, flying with two kids, I can't tell what's good anymore. I've never bought seats for kids before. Thank you!

I would contact an airline representative or work through a travel agent instead of trying to book this online. I am fairly certain they are not charging you full price for the one-year-old because the airline is treating that reservation as a lap infant. Prices, other than the infant/child discrepancy, sound about right. 

We took our first international trip in a LONG time last week, to Canada and were surprised when we went through US Customs in the Montreal airport, instead of when we landed at home. Is this common for travel from all international destinations? Has it always been like this?

What you saw was part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Preclearance operations, which is billed as the strategic stationing of CBP law enforcement personnel overseas to inspect travelers prior to boarding U.S.-bound flights. You can find Preclearance in 15 locations in 6 countries: Dublin and Shannon in Ireland; Aruba; Freeport and Nassau in The Bahamas; Bermuda; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Winnipeg in Canada.

I was in NYC last month. At the Midtown chain hotel I stayed at, there were two trash cans: one in the bathroom and one under the desk in the main room. The card on the desk noted that the hotel was participating in the green program and the trash can in the room should be used for recyclables while the bathroom can should be used for trash. Any bulky (and smelly trash) should be left in the hallway, outside the door.

I love it. It's nice to see a hotel encouraging guests to recycle.

I really enjoyed Christopher's column about trash cans. While I haven't noticed them disappearing, I have wondered why there isn't a place for recyclables. I leave bottles and newspapers beside the can and wonder if I'm just littering. So the claim that hotels are just concerned about the environment seems ridiculous. My related rant is about bathroom designs and towels. I am more than happy to reuse towels during my stay to save on water, but, for pete's sake, give me more than one skimpy bar to use to dry bath and hand towels for two people in between uses! Your generic artwork in the bathroom is taking up wall space that would have been better served as a multi-bar towel rack.

Thanks! That's an excellent question. I agree that hotels should make it easier to recycle. Too few of them even have a formal program. I also recently wrote about hotel amenity frustrations in a Navigator.

Hello. I'm looking at flights to Cologne, and a very common options seems to be a flight to Frankfurt and then a train ride. Has anyone done this? How does it work? Does the airline escort you to the train station? It seems odd to me that an airline builds in a train trip. Thanks!

Lufthansa operates an express train between the two places. The airline does not escort you. Any chatters been on the train? 

the questioner says 'connector flight'. Was this in the same ticket as the transatlantic or a separate purchase? People use the term 'connection' when they don't in fact have connections. If the latter then EU261 won't provide any compensation.

That's a good question. Hey, OP, if you're still here, can you answer?

Is more than for just the cancellation of the trip. It should also provide cover for delayed bags and medical insurance, public liability (should you do something that injures someone else or cause damage to anothers property) to legal expenses, covering the cost if you lost your passport to more esoteric issues such as getting you home should you fall ill (or worse) SOME of those may be covered by existing insurance - home owners / medical insurance / credit cards but they may not cover everything of the total amount Tour operator policies are not always the cheapest or provide the most comprehensive of cover

Thank you. That's true.

I was in Bosnia ten years ago and I remember having a delicious meal at the To Be or Not To Be restaurant in Sarajevo. I don't remember if there were authentic Bosnian dishes on the menu, but the pasta were delicious and the restaurant was really cute.

Thanks for the tip!

Thanks so much for your take-out on LA's Metro Expo line -- your timing couldn't have been better. I leave tomorrow morning for a conference at USC and was already planning to hop on the train for a quick visit to Santa Monica during a free afternoon. Now I know where to stop along the way, too.

You are so welcome. Have a great trip!

It's been so long since I was in Sarajevo that any restaurants I may have gone to are long gone by now. But here are a few recommendations for dishes to try: Ćevapčići - A kind of shish kebab, with ground meat Ražnjići - Same idea, but with pieces of pork (or maybe chicken) Đuveđ - a kind of stew, with meat, carrots and potatoes (a bit more Serbian, but you'll probably find it in Sarajevo; the Greek equivalent is giouvetsi) Burek - phyllo pastry turnovers, which can be sweet or savory (Greek bourek, Turkish böreg [sp?]) If you can find a wine called Mostarska Žilavka, be sure to try it. Not sure it's still being made, after all the unrest, but if it is, it's worth checking out. And watch out for the šljivovica (plum brandy); it can be lethal!

Thanks for sharing the food memories. Hopefully, a few of the places are still open.

Writing in early in the hope that you or the chatters can help steer me in the right direction. Helping my sons plan a trip to London on Sept. 1, and looking for the best airfare. They will have bags to check as one will be staying there for studies for a semester, while the other will be returning to the US on 08SEP18. As they can leave from any airport between Raleigh-Durham and New York, I have been checking fares from RDU, RIC, DCA, IAD, BWI, EWR, JFK and LGA but am becoming overwhelmed with all the options. All flights seem to be more than $1000 per person. Am I missing a viable option that would cost less? They can fly into any London airport but is it better to fly to/from one city more than any of the others, and better on one airline than the others? I found what seemed to be a good fare on a discount line, but by the time the taxes, fees and add-ons were included, it was no better. Is there a site that actually allows me to compare fares from various cities? Please give me some guidance! Thank you.

Unfortunately, your sons are traveling at the tail end of summer peak season, when flights are often at their priciest. Fares are lower from major cities with high demand and a large surplus, such as Atlanta and JFK, or if you choose a flight with many connections. You could consider a low-fare airline like Wow (September fares are from $620), but the price goes up if you want to check or carry bags or select a seat in advance.

I don't know of any site that compares fares by cities, though most travel booking sites will include fares from all of the nearby airports -- for example, LaGuardia, Newark and JFK or BWI, DCA and IAD. You will have to do a search city by city. I would watch for sales, use miles if you have them and check prices on such third-party sites as Momondo and Kayak. For September, $1,000 is fairly reasonable.

 

Hello Travel Team! I recently completed a trip on Delta airlines. They temporarily lost my luggage. When they delivered my luggage it was the wrong bag. I eventually received my luggage over 24 hours later. My question is I could not get in touch with anyone to assist me with my luggage arriving at the wrong address. I tried contacting through the customer service number which had me on hold for over an hour and sometimes it said can't connect you to an agent and hung up nor could I get a response via email or Twitter. For future reference, do you have any advice on how to get assistance for lost/delayed luggage? Thanks.

I'm sorry about your lost luggage. Have you tried these Delta executive customer service contacts? I would also be happy to help. Here's how to get in touch with me.

My wife and I plan on traveling to Ireland for genealogy research next year. Since I’m over 6 ft and my wife has knee problems, we would rather travel business class. What is the best way to find reasonable priced business class tickets? I used Flight Guru last year for business tickets to the Czech Republic. The prices were good and I did not have any problems, but I've heard mixed experiences. What are your thoughts?

I booked economy tickets on Aer Lingus and then received an email from the airline allowing me to bid on an upgrade to business class. Lowest bid starts at $580 per person per leg, and little chance that amount would be successful.  I haven't done it, as it's a short nonstop flight to Dublin, but that's one option for you. A Web site that specializes in business-class seats is Skylux,  but I've not used it. I'm too cheap! Chatters?

Hello! I wanted to see if you have any ideas for a week long vacation in November. I'd prefer a place that isn't too cold (I'd like to leave my winter clothes behind) and that has some interesting sites to see and food but where we also have the option of relaxing for a couple of days. Ideally travel time would be a day or less to/from DC. Thanks for any suggestions you might have!

By a day, do you mean eight hours in the car? If so, Charleston, SC. 

A dear friend is getting married in Cape Town next year. Because half of the guests will be traveling from the U.S., the bride and groom have arranged a week's worth of activities: mostly boat cruises, wineries, waterfronts and nice dinners. Since my husband and I can't imagine when we'll ever have the chance to visit South Africa again, we'd like to extend our trip by another week, but we're trying to figure out what to do with it. Johannesburg? A safari? Staying in Cape Town but seeing things that weren't on the wedding itinerary, like the Robben Island museum where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned? Help. Our vacation time is usually spent visiting family. We don't really know how to plan for pleasure.

It sounds like you will get a great sampling of Cape Town culture during the wedding, so I would suggest you use the extra time to go on safari - -assuming you enjoy viewing wildlife. You could visit Kruger National Park or one of the private game reserves. If you fly out of J'burg, take a day to visit Soweto and the Apartheid Museum.

I'm fairly adept at flight searches online, but this one seems to have me stumped. I'm looking for a Washington - Riga - Venice - Washington itinerary, with only one of the days a "must". But the plus or minus function I can use for a one-way or round-trip doesn't seem to be available when doing a multi-city search. Perhaps I'm using the wrong website? Help? Also, perhaps it would be cheaper to pick a hub city (Copenhagen, Frankfurt or Paris seem to be candidates) and use that for a series of round trips?

The best resource I know of for multi-stop itineraries (other than a human travel agent) is Google Flights, which uses the excellent ITA Software search engine. Expertflyer also has a good interface.

The main train station (Frankfurt) is located in Terminal 1 at the airport and was easy to locate. If the traveler arrives in Terminal 2, there is a free tram/shuttle to take you there. As you say, no airport escorts. :-)

Thanks for info. 

Whenever I visit my daughter in LA, we try to visit a unique museum or other location. For example, last time we went to the Museum of Jurassic Technology, which was mentioned in Sunday’s article. We have also done the M*A*S*H hike in Malibu State Park, self-toured the empty animal cages in the old LA Zoo, and seen the collection of well-done velvet paintings in the Velveteria. Fortunately, there’s a lot of fun and quirky attractions for us yet to see on future trips!

We took the lightrail in LA during Thanksgiving week, from the Westwood neighborhood to the end of the line downtown. There's a great used bookstore downtown (can't remember the name), as well as a large covered food market (ditto). The public library downtown is a beautiful piece of art deco architecture, with apparently some very nice murals inside. Unfortunately, we were there the day after Thanksgiving and it was closed.

There are so many things to enjoy about L.A., but the one that took me most by surprise was the La Brea Tar Pits. First, they are right in the city! I expected something like a national park, an hour's drive or so, but nope. And right next to a wonderful museum complex. They have their own museum, too, along with a wonderful courtyard/atrium that feels like a bit of the tropics in the middle of a building in the middle of the city. The grounds are well-maintained, and a nice place to sit and relax (if you don't mind an occasional whiff of tar). The guided tours kept my interest (I'm in my 50s) but the kids also didn't seem bored. And while most of the pits are well fenced-off, new blobs keep popping up, which I think is really neat! Yes, the Getty museum complex was marvelous, the beaches great for strolling, but the tar pits are my most vivid memory.

Chris, in your column a week ago you quoted an RN as saying, “have your blood glucose monitoring supplies handy. Bring extra testing supplies to ensure that you will not be without if extra testing is needed or your stay is extended.” That's fine, but it overlooks a far more important point: Bring extra insulin and syringes/needles. Lost non-prescription testing supplies can be more easily replaced than prescription medicine while traveling. Bring twice what you need, divide it up and store each quantity separately on your person. (i.e. rollaboard and backpack or purse, not in checked luggage). I wish you would add this addendum to the original column, for the benefit of those with diabetes who might not understand the importance of this recommendation. Thank you.

Thank you for mentioning this. I would urge you to leave a comment on the story. I'll also return to this topic soon. It's something that affects a lot of travelers.

I think I've mentioned that when we stayed at the Biltmore they *folded* and hung *wet* towels. They also had this ridiculous pelmet so you couldn't hang it on the shower curtain rod. How are you supposed to dry your towel?I actually mentioned all this to the concierge.

Thanks for sharing this. That shouldn't have happened.

We were recently in CA and all the hotels had recycling cans in the room. One had what looked liked a standard hotel trash can but was actually divided with two inserts, one for recycling and one for trash. Maybe it is a rule in CA. I had never seen this before. My husband really likes to recycle and if we are driving and no recycling available we drive the trash home. I am very aware of the ability to recycle in hotels.

I've seen those trash cans, too. I'm trying to persuade my kids to use them properly.

Hi - waiting for the Post Points Code while reading the chat...?? Thanks

My apologies! Today's code is TT4628. It expires at midnight, so be sure to enter it on Monday to get credit for participating.

An older friend has experienced a mild brain bleed while visiting Europe from the US. I worry that his flight home in a plane with a pressurized cabin might be risky, or even lethal. Don't know if he has travel insurance, but would a transatlantic ship be safer for his health, once he's ready to return home, followed by a train ride to his home city?

I think he should call his doctor. 

Perhaps more important than the coverage for a cancelled trip is medical coverage. If you get injuring during an African safari, you could have to be airlifted out and, depending on your injury, you may want to be medevac’d to a major European city. All that will cost big bucks, so you’ll want major coverage.

Good point. 

I always purchased separate travel insurance, but stopped when I got a Costco Citi card that claims to have pretty decent coverage included when you purchase travel using the card. I've never filed a claim either way, so haven't put the coverage to the test. In your experience, have travelers been able to reliably use the travel coverage included by credit card companies, or should I keep shelling out for separate policies?

Yes, they can usually use the coverage as long as they're covered. I know that sounds obvious, but some travelers misread or misunderstand the coverage on their credit cards. Here's a little more information on travel insurance and how to decipher it.

I'm not the OP, but I don't think that Dublin would be a "short" non-stop flight for someone with knee problems. Even if you were able to get up and move around once in a while - which sometimes you can't because of turbulence or meal service.

I realize that, but the cost of a nonstop economy flight to Dublin is typically about $3,000 more round trip, which comes to about $400 an hour. I guess I don't get paid enough or my sciatica isn't as bad as I make it out to be! 

Trip insurance is a good idea, and make sure you also include medical insurance and evacuation insurance. I bought a policy a few years ago for a similar trip and was around $200 for two people, which is no big deal when considering the overall expense of the trip. I went thru Insuremytrip.com, although your safari operator may have a recommendation.

InsureMyTrip, SquareMouth and QuoteWright are all good resources for trip insurance. 

I use google flights - enter start and end airports, dates and class it will give you the available options in terms of airlines and routes

Yes, there are lots of aggregators, including Google Flights, that will give you business-class ticket pricing. 

I'm thinking of going to Germany to visit family in mid-October, but thought it would be fun to fly into and out of Paris to a) have a couple of days in the city, and b) save a LOT of money on airfare. So my question is, how do I get from Paris to Frankfurt and back? My flight would get in to Paris at 7:30 AM and since I don't sleep on airplanes, I thought I'd maybe take the train right to Frankfurt to catch some zzz's (I can sleep on a train) or see the countryside, then let my family suffer through my jet lag and enjoy Paris at the end of the trip. I found one website for a super fast train but it was all in French, and the Eurorail website was not easy to navigate. Also, where is there a train station near the airport?

You'll need to change trains, so not sure how much sleep you will get. Rail Europe has information about routing. 

Do I need an International Driver’s Permit for France? I have never needed one before (7 trips), but in checking various websites and the embassy here in DC, I was told that “it is strongly recommended.” This may just be official, cover-every-angle speak but one travel forum writer said that he was asked for one at Enterprise car rental. Do you have a definitive answer or position on this? I guess better safe than sorry but they cost about $20 via AAA. Most websites say no for France, yes for Italy, Germany and Spain.

I would not risk your trip for $20; you might come across the one agent or police officer who asks for the permit. Plus, the IDP is valid for a year, a good incentive to go back to Europe.

According to the French Embassy:" You may drive with a valid U.S. driver’s license if it is accompanied by a notarized translation in French. It is strongly recommended that you carry an International Driving Permit."

Hi looking for a place in continental US for warmish weather vacation over Christmas. Two adults, one 5 year old. We've gone to Gulf Shores, Ala., a few times and liked it but want to try somewhere new.

Places on the Gulf Coast in southern Florida, such as Marco Island, Sanibel Island and Naples, will be very expensive at Christmas. It doesn't get much warmer than the mid 60s in places farther north, such as Destin, Fla., but if you liked Gulf Shores, that could be an option. Southern California could also work.  

Lots of great food there. Ćevapčići - ground meat, with onions. The Old Town has Hodzic or Zeljo, both of which are good. Restoran Libertas near the Old Town has great seafood. Inat Kuca is in an old house, across the river from the National Library / City Hall with lots of traditional Bosnian food. I went to both in April. The brewery has a good mixed grill platter and serves dark beer.

Great! Thanks for the rec. 

When I read the OP's question, it sounds like the OP is questioning why they were being quoted $3600 for two kids. I'm assuming it's b/c the airline is assuming the 1 yr old will be a lap infant and won't have it's own seat. I've never heard of airlines charging less for a seat depending on age. Unfortunately, airlines aren't like restaurants where you can buy a kids meal and pay less even though you're still taking up a seat/table in the restaurant.

Most airlines charge children occupying a seat the same fares as an adult. However, some carriers, like Southwest, offer infant and child fares on select domestic and international routes; proof of age required. I would call the airline and ask about special rates before you book.

Count me as someone who DISLIKES walking down a hotel hallway and seeing trash, particularly when it is left out overnight! The hotels can't be cleaning the hallways every hour, so why put the trash in the hallway? Same problem with room service trays being left out overnight. There must be a better solution.

You know, I should have included something about that in my previous answer and in the story. I don't like seeing trash in the hallway. Thanks for pointing out the oversight.

Hi. I heard something about wasps in Greece in October, when I was hoping to go. Is October a good time to go? I'm thinking earlier in the month, rather than later.

I have heard that wasps can be a nuisance in some Greek islands in late summer, but I think October should be fine. Chatters? 

New York City is world-class destination, and you should totally go for a big birthday! It is so much fun in December with the holiday window shopping on 5th Ave., street vendors selling chestnuts, holiday markets, skating in the park, awesome restaurants and museums, etc. And even though it will probably be cold, there will be plenty of interesting, fun things to do. Check out the food halls for diverse and somewhat less expensive eating options.

One very enthusiastic vote for NYC!

I'm seeing direct trains from Paris Est?!? It would really surprise me if you couldn't get a direct train.

Yes, but you have to first get there from the airport. 

Where is a good one place with reasonable price to buy travel accident insurance?

Try InsureMyTrip, QuoteWright or SquareMouth. 

I have a friend with a late November birthday. She loves to travel for her bday in the time between Christmas and Thanksgiving. As so many folks save travel days for the holidays, she can often get good deals. The last two years she has gone to the Caribbean.

It is often cheaper to travel the first 10 days or so of December, as most save vacation time for holidays before and after. 

This post emphasizes the need for comprehensive medical and repatriation insurance. If the person involved has travel insurance they would likely be covered the cost of the cruise ship back to the US as long as the case was discussed with them in advance and they agreed it was the most appropriate way to return them home. The cruise operator would also have to be notified as they would be taking on some risks as well if the person became ill once on board - though that applies to airlines as well - you need to tell them

Yes, and definitely needs to be talked out with medical professionals. 

Going to Canada next month but not renting a car. Should I take the 747 bus to my hotel in Old Montreal or is better/faster/same price to just take an Uber? There are three of us. Thanks.

Uber can cost $30-$56; the bus costs $10. So Uber divided by three . . .

I have taken that bus and enjoyed the ride. It was straightforward and convenient. As long as you are a light packer, I would choose the bus., the greener, local option.

Here's a general tip for the traveler to Sarajevo: Pass up the restaurants on the main streets -- you know, the ones that have the menu posted outside in 8 languages. Go for the ones on the back streets, without the fancy menus. Within that subset, look for the ones with a decent-size clientele -- i.e., not deserted, but remember that their meal hours may be a bit different from those in the U.S. And be prepared for "cash only" and minimal or no English spoken. It's a little more work, but it can pay off big -- it has for us in Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Greece and Italy.

Don't forget the cost of getting into Central London from the airport when considering Gatwick and Stanstead - train or coach. The Tube really is cheap - assuming your boys are comfortable taking it. But bear in mind that it has a lot of stairs. If the journey would have a change, you could take it to a Piccadilly Line Station near where they're staying and get a taxi from there. I consider the Heathrow Express a shocking rip-off and you still have to get to your destination from Victoria.

We will be in Tokyo for a couple of days and would like to try nice fresh seafood snacks and sashimi similar to the ones available at tsukiji outer market. We will be staying around Shinjuku, and want to avoid the Tsukiji chaos, any suggestions?

Try Adachi Market, the second-largest fish market in Tokyo.

It's not real business class, but premium economy might be a more bargain-based option that would give you better leg room. The US carriers seem to be upping their game in that class to be more on par with European carriers. I just got my mom a ticket to Shannon in Delta's new premium economy and it was maybe only 30-40% more expensive than regular coach.

I believe Aer Lingus  and United are the only carriers that flies nonstop from Washington to Ireland, and unfortunately neither offers true premium economy. But you are right -- for connecting flights or nonstop flights to other European destinations, premium economy is a good option. Some airlines, such as Virgin Atlantic,  have dedicated premium economy cabins. 

Have you checked out the Premium Economy legroom. That might be enough to be comfortable. I love premium economy.

I would like to add some other activities for Chincoteague. First, it is a lovely community to visit. They have an interesting book store, movie theater and a pretty fabulous new visitor center at the Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge. Even in poor weather a drive around the wildlife loop in the refuge can be enjoyable. Lots of waterfowl will be visiting the pools in the refuge in November and getting ready for winter. They could also hop off the island down the causeway to visit the NASA Wallops visitor center when it is open. It isn't the Air and Space Museum, but it sure qualifies as an indoor activity. If they get a rental with a water view you can always handle a rainy day with a lovely view of the marshes. It is a world away in pace and scenery from DC.

Thanks for the rec! 

especially in recent years. The best thing about travel to NYC in colder months is that the city doesn't care at all. You might not want to sit out and picnic in Central Park in December, but there will be some people doing it. New York doesn't even care that much if it is snowing. As long as you are willing to use the subway (holiday traffic is a bear), NYC is great in December.

I was just in LA and rode the Expo line from end to end. It was shiny and new, and easy to navigate, but slow because the train often had to stop for red lights at cross-streets. A highlight (not on the Expo line, tho), was the Skirball Cultural Center, which had several very good exhibits. And of course RIP Jonathan Gold. We ate very well in LA, thanks to his guidance.

I plan to ride the Expo line next time I'm in Los Angeles. Noy Thrupkaew did a fantastic job covering all the spots to hit on the light rail system. Also, RIP Jonathan Gold. Our colleague, Tim Carman, just published a great tribute to him. 

I've had success with a company called Scott's Cheap Flights. Essentially, you fill out the profile of where you want to go, and when he sees a cheap flight, he sends out an email. The timing may not be to your liking, and you also have to act quickly on the deals, but if you are flexible re location, I have seen some terrific options.

Thanks for the rec!

I was leaning NYC and I'm so happy to see I was on the right track! Thank you to you and the posters for helping me nail my destination down!

Happy to help! Have a happy 40th. 

Looks like our time is up -- thanks for chatting today, everyone. La Brea Tar Pits fan, drop us a line at travel@washpost.com to claim your prize. And join us here next week for more Talk About Travel!

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.
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