Talk about Travel

The Pitons on the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia (AP/Scott Sady).
Jan 27, 2020

Let's discuss your travel-related questions, comments, suspicions, warnings, gripes, sad tales, etc.!

Hi all, and welcome to Talk About Travel! In this week's section, we started year three of our "You're going where?" series with a closer look at Madison, Wisconsin. Is there an underappreciated U.S. city that you think we should feature in the series? Tell us where and why below. Most compelling answer gets a copy of "Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders," by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton. On to your questions!

We want to go to either Yellowstone - Grand Tetons or Zion - Grand Canyon - Sedona for vacation this year. We do not have kids in school so we want to avoid peak season. The question is what are the best times to go where you still have nice weather but the crowds/prices are lower. Any thought appreciated. Thanks

Yellowstone starts to get a little chilly in September, but I've been there in October and it wasn't too wintry. As you head south to Zion, the Grand Canyon and Sedona, you can usually count on very nice fall weather into early November. But there's no guarantee. If I had to plan this trip, I'd do it in mid-September and start in Yellowstone.

Love these chats. I already wrote to Chris to tell him about my Global Entry (GE) renewal experience, but thought I would share with you in case you want to post for others. I worried it could take awhile after other chatters said it was taking months to renew. In my case, I applied for renewal Jan 11 and the new card came Jan 25 - lightening speed. But the online process of applying for renewal is a PITA. You can't return to the Global Entry portal you previously used. DHS has a new one, so you have to re-enter your information - not just once either. It seemed like there was one page after another asking for information I had already entered, plus new info of course. My recommendation is: be nice and rested and alert when you decide to start your GE renewal process. Have all your info assembled: your passport info (# and dates from it); your GE info (# dates); your driver's license info, etc. etc.

Many thanks for sharing your experience. This is very helpful.

What to do when the tour director is verbally abusive to his/her tourists?

Immediately complain to the parent company. 

I booked a 12-day tour package vacation to Dubai and Egypt with Great Value Vacations in July 2019. I purchased the tour for me and my sister at a cost of $4,129.00 each. The tour began Dec. 1, 2019. Upon arrival in Dubai, we were met by a driver and another tour company, Kurban Tours, and were handed a packet with an amended itinerary and hotel accommodations. Among the changes was a move from a 4-star boutique to a Hampton Inn adjacent to a 24-hour construction site. The worse part was the change is our scheduled departure from Dubai to Cairo on Dec. 5, 2019, for 5:30 p.m. on SV 589. Pickup was set for 2:30 p.m. or 14:30. No one from Kurbin came to pick us up. We taxied to the airport at 2:35 p.m. but were told at SV Airlines that we had no reservations. Because our flights actually left at 12:30 p.m. that day, we ended up paying $1,050.00 USD to fly to Cairo, and complete the tour. I have asked Great Value Vacations to reimburse me this costs because it was their mistake in the amended itinerary. They claim that we missed the transfer and flight. We were following the amended itinerary. Should the travel company be responsible for their own errors? It has offered me $100 gift toward the next tour. I will never purchase another tour with them again. This trip was not worth the price. It was a total bait and switch. The cruise down the Nile was on a boat that had 10 people and no menu choice. But for the fact that we were in Egypt, and the Sakkara Tour guides, who were very professional and accommodating, the entire trip would have been a total waste of time. Please help us hold Great Value Vacations accountable. 

I guess this is one of those times when Great Value Vacations wasn't, if you know what I mean. The tour operator should have told you about the itinerary changes in advance and offered you an opportunity to accept or reject the changes. It should have also taken care of your ground transportation -- all of it. I have executive contacts for Great Value Vacations on my advocacy site. If those don't work, please contact me directly and I'll do my best to help you.

I have back issues and need to use a cane for mobility. Do I need to put this in my checked baggage, or can I take it with me through the TSA screening and onto the plane?

Yes, you can bring the cane through screening and onto the plane. Go to the TSA's Disabilities and Medical Conditions Web page for details. 

We'd like to do a hiking trip through Ireland in June. We're happy to go with a formal tour company or just put one together ourselves, but we'd need at least some assistance to do so. Any suggestions? Thanks!

You can do it yourself in Ireland, but if you want a support van or luggage transfers, it may be easier to go with a tour group. I've only been to Ireland independently, so I'll throw this one out to our chatters to see if they can recommend an appropriate tour guide or operator. 

Processing traveler's through airport security: who have TSA recheck through AIT screening, additional individual pat-downs apparently because of total knee replacements, hip replacements, other implants. Isn't there a way to certify individuals by identity that these replacements are a part of who they are? It seems like a needless complication, slowing and upsetting passengers, invasion of personal bodily privacy when the implant can clearly be seen by machine?

The TSA has a somewhat helpful page on knee replacements on its site. But there's no way to register your replacement that I'm aware of. Chatters, have you heard of anything like this?

Our friend was planning to travel with us to Costa Rica and her husband to Panama. Both found out on the day of departure that despite having valid passports, they were expiring in less than 90 days which is the country’s requirements. Her flight had to be canceled. It would have been so helpful if the airline had a pop up reminder about a particular country’s requirement when ticket is booked.

I agree. Airlines have their own policies about expiring passports (for example, American requires six months validity). I have an upcoming Navigator on this topic.

Thank you to Christopher Elliott! His customer service contact responded promptly and we are on the way to reimbursement.

I love it! You're very welcome.

I am looking into cities that are direct Southwest Airlines flights from BWI. Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Albuquerque and Detroit are top of my list. I'd love to knock a couple of them off my list for this year. A feature from you just might jolt my usual travel partner into submission. Thanks, and keep up the good work!

Good news: We've done two of your four -- Albuquerque and Pittsburgh. (Three if you count Ann Arbor!)

Hi travel gurus! My husband and I have to travel to Florida for a wedding in February and our travel dates/times are pretty restrictive. I searched for about a month for good fares from WAS to MCO and didn’t find anything for less than $375/person. (I won’t fly any budget carriers.) Once I added extra legroom seats for both of us for both legs of the flight, I was looking at about $500/person. American Airlines had first class tickets that met our criteria for $549 RT. I stupidly didn’t jump on the tickets and when I finally went to purchase them, I could only get one ticket at that price. The price for the second ticket was up $789. I did buy the tickets—one at $549 and one at $789—but I’m curious if this is a common practice to pay two different prices for the same flight and class? I completely understand if it’s my fault for not jumping as soon as I saw the $549 price. Thanks for any insight!

Yes, this is very common. Airlines offer a certain number of seats at set prices. Once they are sold out at that price, cost  jumps to the next price point. That's why I advise readers to track how many seats are left on targeted flights. Once the seats start to fill in, the price is going to go up.

There are so many tour companies and it's hard to know which is a good bet, and which are less reputable. What sources do you use to evaluate the options? Are there lists of trusted companies? Thanks!

I look at how long its been in business, ratings with the Better Business Bureau, reviews and price. So often, travelers want the cheapest tour they can find, only to be very disappointed in the outcome. What hotels are they using? What's included in the price? What are the maximum number of participants? If it's an escorted tour, will you also have separate expert tour guides at specific sites? A good place to start your research is the United States Tour Operators Association, but this won't cover foreign-based companies. If you can locate a good travel agent, especially one that has expertise in the area you are visiting, that can be helpful. And word-of-mouth is worthwhile. 

Hi Travel Crew - Headed to San Diego for business in early March and plan to extend for a few days but not sure where and how best to spend the time. I've done San Diego as a city as well as Laguna Beach, and points north to L.A. like La Jolla, Newport Beach, Dana Point, etc. Frankly, I don't want to spend all of my time in a rental car. Would rather be hiking, biking, or shopping. Would like to find a good spot for an Air BnB rental and go from there. Is Carlsbad a likely candidate? Thanks for your help.

I think a day or two in Carlsbad would be lovely and relaxing. It's a beautiful but residential area; you'll find great hiking, biking and shopping there. If you did decide to venture into San Diego, it's about a 40-minute drive and also an easy train ride to/from San Diego and downtown LA. Be sure to check out the Flower Fields, Oceanside Harbor Village and rent a bike and hit the Strand.

My sister and I used to travel together a lot but now that she has passed I am finding myself looking for good travel ideas for someone who is traveling solo.

If you are a senior citizen, look at the offerings from your local senior center or county government. In Loudoun County, Va., for example, there are dozens of day trips and a bunch of overnight trips, including a trip to Iceland, available to those age 55 and older, and the single occupancy rate is reasonable. You might also enjoy reading this article on the topic that I wrote a few years ago. 

The phenomenal National Aquarium on the harbor, the sports stadiums, great restaurants (beyond the obvious fresh crabcakes) like the Charleston restaurant that just earned a 4-star Tom Sietsema review, or Alma Cocina Latina, yum! Easily accessible by major airport or I-95.

Grand Rapids is home to the Meijer Gardens and museum, which has surprising amounts/quality of art. The city also has a good zoo, good dining. Lake Michigan and beaches are an easy drive, and there are a number of parks / nature areas.

Many people, me included, have used Oakland as a place for cheaper air fares and cheaper hotels when staying in the Bay Area when visiting San Francisco, UC Berkeley or San Jose. I would love if your "You're going where?" series could give me some ideas for Oakland itself. Thanks.

We are thinking of taking a Viking cruise on the Danube. Are there any months to insure a better chance the river is the right level for river travel instead of the need of being put on buses?

Low water levels are most likely in summer and early fall. Spring is less of a problem. Right now, water levels on the Danube are fine for cruising. 

In late April we will have a couple of days in Amsterdam prior to a river cruise. What is the best way to see the tulip fields outside the city and maybe the Keukenhof Gardens, and should we devote a full or half-day to that? Should we consider the Tulip Festival Card for transportation and garden access?

We ran a column on the tulips earlier last year, and our writer suggests going to Flevoland instead of Keukenhof. Check it out here.

I know you've discussed to find travel insurance in the past, but my searches are coming up empty. We're planning a dream trip to Italy in the fall and want to make sure we're appropriately covered but I am struggling with the choices. Any guidance on reputable companies or where to start would be much appreciated.

Compare companies and policies at InsureMyTrip, QuoteWright or SquareMouth. And make sure the policy covers what you need. For example, if you're going to hang-glide when you're on vacation, make sure the policy covers injuries sustained in these type activities. 

Howdy, all. I was hoping you could help me out with strategy. I was traveling for work earlier this month and finished with my project earlier than anticipated. Because it would be cheaper for my client if I changed my American Airlines flight to an earlier one that same day (even with the change fee and fare difference) than pay me to sit around for 7 hours, I changed to the earlier flight. After boarding that flight, it was delayed by 12 hours because a crew member got sick right before pushback and they couldn't find a replacement. I ended up on the later flight I was originally scheduled for. Do you think I have a prayer of getting the fare difference and change fee back? If so, how should I go about pleading my case? I'm skeptical that calling the 800 number will get me anything but frustrated.

I think you do have a prayer. But I would not call. I'd send your request to American Airlines by email. Keep a meticulous paper trail. If they say "no" then appeal to one of the American Airlines executives. Keep your correspondence tight and polite. You never know -- you might get your money back.

The week after Labor Day weekend in 1970, we were camping in Grand Tetons National Park, and planning to drive on to Yellowstone next, then Glacier National Park. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum, I mean Yellowstone. A blizzard closed the Yellowstone roads, so we had to bide our time (went over to the west side of the Tetons, in eastern Idaho, for a few days), until the main Yellowstone roads had been cleared. Never made it to Glacier on that trip, however (IIRC, they didn't plow its roads).

Yes, that can happen! Thanks for sharing your story.

How about in spring? I'm swamped at work in the fall so can't travel until the end of October. I don't have any kids either so will avoid spring break.

Spring is good, too.

One thing missing from Carol's advice: Immediately complain *in writing* to the parent company.

Yes, that's always a good idea. But picking up the phone may get more immediate results. 

Would it be possible to add a search bar to the travel section? When I'm planning a trip, I start by reading up on a lot of possible destinations, but I don't use your content because digging up, say, "Switzerland" on wp.com is basically useless.

That's a longtime wish-list item. In the meantime, Googling "Washington Post Travel [Wherever]" is probably your best bet.

I really appreciate all of you and your great advice! I'm soooo excited about my upcoming trip to Lake Garda (via Verona) for a week in May, first trip out of continental US in decades - by myself. to write and sip lattes! I regularly use airbnb but I need this trip to be no-cost-lodging and be able to cook sometimes if possible. Homecarers.com my first choice, so far isn't yielding anything. Possibly trading homes (mine for theirs). Or hostels. Any other thoughts or things to consider?

We recently ran a story that provides tips for housesitting abroad. Keep us updated!

We once tried beat the families with school aged children by visiting Yellowstone in the first week of May. It was in the 80s back in DC when we left. We knew we were in trouble when it started snowing as we paid our admission into the park. We had only packed a tent and sleeping bags, so my spouse and I had to double up and just do our best to stay warm.

Maybe Yellowstone is a stretch for this trip. But Zion, Grand Canyon and Sedona are safe at that time of year. More or less.

What's "verbally abusive?" I've noticed that some people, especially when they're on vacation, are awfully thin-skinned. "Don't take selfies in the church where it's prohibited" might be construed as "abusive" by people who think the rules don't apply to them. I would talk to the guide first about what bothered me before I tried to wreck his livelihood.

I assumed that verbally abusive meant just that. And I would be reluctant to confront someone who had been abusive. But if the person calls to complain to the main company and says, "She told me I could not take selfies in the church," I'm hoping that won't result in the tour director losing the job. 

Any thoughts on how best to make travel arrangements to Istanbul? I read the travel guides and websites and do most of our planning myself, but I'm a bit flummoxed by the complexity of a multi-city trip to Turkey, Athens and Ireland. The airline schedules, destinations and timing are beyond challenging. I'd turn this over to a travel agent but don't know how to find one that specializes in travel to that part of the world.

Can you elaborate on where you're coming from, what order are you trying to go in and how long you have in each spot? There are plenty of connections usually through to Istanbul from Dublin and from Frankfurt. Also, you can go nonstop from Dulles on Turkish Airlines. I would probably aim to start in Dublin, then go to Istanbul then Athens. It might take longer, but you could take a ferry/cruise from Turkey to Greece.

I recently witnessed an evacuation for a medical emergency while at sea on a cruise. I cruise 3-4 times a year. This has me considering searching for an insurance plan to cover me for the year - not per cruise. I usually purchase the cruise lines plan - but I'm sure that does not include medical evac which could be financially devastating. Can you recommend a Travel Insurance Company for cruisers?

Yes, I just had a story about booking a cruise and had an entire section on cruise insurance. There's a Berkshire Hathaway plan that offers higher medical and evacuation coverage limits for a cruise trip that I specifically mentioned. It might be worth considering.

I've never used them for Ireland but I have taken Country Walker tours in other places and they are wonderful! If you don't want a fully guided tour they also offer self-guided tours where they give you directions and arrange for your luggage transfers.

Thanks for the recommendation!

I had a very good experience with Contours Holidays for a hiking trip in England last year and I see that they also have some trails in Ireland. They booked all of my accommodations and arranged for luggage service, but it was not guided. Mac's Adventures also has a good reputation among long-distance walkers. 

Thanks much. 

I can recommend the Oakland Museum of California. I did a quick visit last year when I was in San Francisco and very easy to get to on the BART. There are probably other places to visit but I was on a quick in and out. So ideas for other museums etc would also be welcome!

That's a favorite of mine! Lots of great museums to see in the Bay Area, including one of my favorite places in the whole world, the California Academy of Sciences. Thanks for the tip.

Other places that I see lots of solo options are at community colleges and local universities here in the Baltimore area.

Thanks for that idea. 

The person who wants to hike in Ireland should check out Country Walkers; I’ve been on 2 escorted trips with them (Peru and Costa Rica) and have been very pleased. I think they also set up independent trips, handling logistics and itineraries.

Another vote for Country Walkers

I recommend looking at autumn for Yellowstone rather than spring. The year I was visiting Yellowstone, 2 of the entrances were still snow-bound and closed at the end of May.

Thanks!

I understand the frustration about being denied onto a flight when your passport doesn't fulfill the criteria of the destination country, but I'm not sure why the airlines should be responsible for providing this type of information to travelers. Sure, it would be nice, but it's also not unreasonable to expect people to educate themselves and to understand the requirements of the countries they wish to visit.

I agree. I think the airlines should have some mechanism for holding passengers to their own passport requirements before they accept a booking. That would save us a lot of trouble.

We would like to take our 15 year old grandson to England for a week this summer. He is a good traveler, interested in most things historical. Should we stay at an airbnb in London and take day trips to spots such as Stonehenge, Stratford, etc.? Or should we be in London 4-5 days and then take a few overnight trips? I would prefer not to drive on our own, but we can if necessary. And, good suggestions for things that would be of particular interest to him in London?Thank you.

I'm in the same boat. I have a 15-year-old and will be in London this spring. I'm leaning toward a base in London with day trips. I think moving around is more disruptive and a little less conducive to getting the lay of the land. But either way will probably work just fine.

It can start to get chilly (Montana had a blizzard in late September this year). But it's beautiful and the weather feels fairly "late fall" to me. That being said, unless it's full-on winter in Yellowstone, that place is just REALLY popular. We were there in mid-September this year and routinely had trouble finding a place to park for various popular sites. So don't go in September thinking you'll have the place to yourself . . .

Thanks. Well said, and true. 

The government just put out a report a few weeks ago by NIST about the problems with facial recognition especially as it relates to people who aren't white. Although I suppose the Chinese government's surveillance based on their population is a huge data set but I don't know that anyone else has access to it.

That's interesting. I think facial recognition technology is still la work in progress, but as I noted in the column, it's something we should all be aware of.

I recently flew from PHL to Cancun on one of AA's Boeing 767s. I'm almost 6-3, and leg room is always an issue (and it was on this plane, too). But to make matters worse, half of my foot room was taken up by a gray box that I'm guessing contained the wiring for various gizmos in the seat. This was true for half the seats in the main cabin. (It was true for the aisle seats on both sides, plus one seat in each row in the center section.) I checked SeatGuru, and they make no mention of this. Is there some site that lists issues with foot room? It's bad enough to have my knees up against the seat back in front of me, but not being able to put one foot on the floor for four hours was the worst. Help!

SeatGuru is the most widely cited airline map site, but there's also SeatExpert and SeatLink.

Have airlines continued to avoid flying over Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan or have they quietly resumed their previous routes?

I believe many carriers are flying over those countries, especially at high altitudes. KLM, for example, resumed flights over Iran a few days ago. Those routes are commonly used between Europe and Southeast Asia. Contact your carrier for its policy. 

I booked a round-trip flight to London Heathrow. Now I’ve decided to take another (one-way) flight from Heathrow to another British city—same day as arrival, same airline. Before I book that new flight: Will so doing affect my original reservation with the airline? Will it affect my passage through Heathrow regarding customs and security? Should I talk to the airline about adding this new flight to my original ticket? Or should I just book the additional flight, get its boarding pass at Heathrow, and stop overthinking the situation? BTW, the new flight leaves from the same Heathrow terminal five hours after my arrival, and I’ll have carry-on luggage only. So no concerns in those areas. Thank you.

I would call the airline and ask it to make sure your reservation is connected. That way, if your first flight is late, you'll be "protected" for the rest of your journey. It shouldn't change the price of your ticket and will give you a little more peace of mind. I don't know about your transit time; that's probably something your airline can better answer.

No it wouldn't be a good idea for airlines to have a pop up = other than a generic one that said 'check your passport is valid for your trip' and most people would just click it to get rid of the pop up. Think of all the combinations of passports their are and all the possible countries involved. Maintaining a list would be a nightmare. Plus people can have one passport when they book but use another when they travel which would make it even harder. People need to take some personal responsibility to check these things themselves in good time and not expect an airline to do it for them.

You're probably right about that. But if it required that you entered you passport expiration and then warned you, that might work.

We travel with canes on planes. Depending on the airport you'll get a wooden one or a glass one to go through the security thing. On board as we get seated we tell the attendant about the canes and we hold on to them until the overheads are packed and then the attendant puts the canes in front of the overhead. Either an attendant or a passenger usually helps us get them out when we arrive..

Thanks for the report. 

that you can't also carry a knife, etc. near that part of your body. They do have to check. What they shouldn't do is not be able to recognize what a knee or hip replacement looks like on the scanner, get all flustered and do a full body search that resembles a Gyn exam. If they have to check to make sure there isn't anything else on that knee or hip or whatever, so be it. But having a medical condition doesn't make you a super dangerous risk. Check the bit that looks wonky on the scanner - just like you do for slouchy socks or a folded bit of t-shirt - and move on.

Yes, agreed. The TSA shouldn't freak out when you have a knee replacement. I have a TSA story on the schedule and I talk about some of the sensitivity training they're doing. Parenthetically, I wonder how many terrorists with knee replacements are out there.

We've camped in Zion National Park twice in late March (our wedding anniversary, which is why I remember the date), and hit gorgeous weather both times, sunny with highs in the low 70s. Bryce, however, is at a significantly higher elevation, so only the roads were open, no facilities (although we later learned Bryce roads were re-closed for a while due to a snowstorm a couple weeks later).

Ah, that's what I like to hear! It's such a gorgeous park, too.

My husband and I are looking for a 5-6 day Caribbean getaway with our 2 and 4 year old kids. A lot of family-friendly advertised places seem geared towards older kids, we will not be kayaking or going down 100 foot slides. Are there places that would be specifically appropriate for 2&4 year olds? We've gotten two recommendations for Finest Playa Mujeres Cancun. A little pricey but we're thinking about it since we haven't figured out anything else that looks appropriate? I've never been to an all-inclusive, we usually are more adventurous, but are seeing if we can manage a somewhat relaxing trip with our kids. No interest in having other people watching our kids while there.

I'd look at the Beaches resorts in Jamaica. The chain also has a property in Turks & Caicos, but that's difficult to get to. 

I travel about once a month for work for 1 or 2 days. I now carry a roll of painters tape in my luggage to tape closed the curtains and cover any other lights in the room that are bright and keep me awake like the light under the tv or the light that illuminates the AC thermostat.

No, not to me!

Ten years ago, my husband and I did a tour with Tauck from the North Sea to the Black see which we really enjoyed. It was in August, and it's true that the last stop we missed due to low water levels. What we learned was that river tours in Europe often include a lot of buses due to the nature of the beast. For example, there were many days on the Maine River which were filled with travel through one lock after another, a boring alternative to a bus trip to somewhere nearby more interesting.

I've been on several river cruises, and I would have been sorely disappointed if I was put on a bus. One of the lovely benefits of cruising is that you don't have to pack and unpack.  I very rarely got on a bus when we docked. Instead, we'd do the walking tours and then explore by foot. We almost always cruised by night and then spent most of the day in port, so the locks were fascinating to me, especially at night. I understand that some don't mind bus tours, but when you sign up for a river cruise, it's preferable to stay on the boat. 

Really enjoyed the articles on the capital cities of Des Moines, Iowa, and Madison, Wisconsin. My choice for an underrated city is the one I currently live in, Tallahassee, Florida, the historic capital of North Florida, midway between Pensacola and Jacksonville and thus “200 miles from anywhere”. When visitors come, I take them to Maclay Gardens, about 15 minutes’ drive from my house, for beautiful displays of blooming camellias in the winter or azaleas in the spring. We feast on fresh Gulf seafood in locally owned restaurants. (I always laugh when I see Gulf seafood on a menu in, say, Michigan, because it will have been frozen.) There are three large plant nurseries inside city limits that are wonderful places to while away an afternoon among all the fabulous tropical and subtropical plants that grow here. For longer field trips, south of us is Wakulla Springs—the same spring that Bailey White wrote about in her essay “Large and Deep”—and St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, especially if the monarchs are migrating; north is Thomasville, Georgia, for shopping and antiquing in its charming downtown.

Went a couple years ago with my mom to go to a baseball game. But there was so much to do in the downtown area around the ballpark. The science museum next to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was a winner, and the library was incredible inside, and we had great food, too.

How about Dayton, OH? The National Museum of the United States Airforce at Wright-Patterson, Dayton Art Institute, which was rated one of the top 10 best art museums in the United States for children as well as the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. Plus great college and minor league sports. And a growing food scene.

I have this when it comes to planning trips so I end up just not taking them. I want to go to Iceland but I want to see everything while I'm there but I don't know exactly what everything is so I get overwhelmed and just...ugh. Same goes for Yellowstone.

Maybe you should consider a tour, where someone else does all the planning and you just show up. There are group tours or you can go with a company that will plan an independent itinerary for you, such as Monograms

Looks like our hour is up -- thanks for chatting, everyone! Tallahassee booster, please drop us a line at travel@washpost.com to claim your prize. And join us again next week for more Talk About Travel!

In This Chat
Nicole Arthur
Nicole Arthur is the Travel editor.
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.
Carol Sottili
Carol Sottili is a former Washington Post travel writer, specializing in travel deals.
Helen Carefoot
Helen Carefoot is Travel's editorial assistant.
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