Talk about Travel

The Pitons on the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia (AP/Scott Sady).
Jun 24, 2019

Join the Travel team to discuss your travel-related questions, comments, suspicions, warnings, gripes, sad tales, etc!

Hi all, and welcome to Talk About Travel. This week, we visited two theme park cities, Orlando, Fla., and Anaheim, Calif., and took a look at what else they have to offer. Have a favorite destination in either city? Tell us about it below. Most compelling answer gets a copy of "Unforgettable Canada: 125 Destinations" by George Fischer and Noel Hudson. On to your questions.  

We'd like to plan a vacation in the Caymans during Sept since we'll already be in Fla for a wedding. We'd like to book everything on points (which involves having to book flights one way since we can't book a multi-city trip on jetblue points), so how do we go about getting travel insurance that covers each part of our flights & hotels, especially if a hurricane comes? Also I'm pregnant (we've run the Caymans by our Drs and they said go for it, CDC says zika is low risk now) so I'd like something that covers us medically too in case I have any complications leading up to the trip and have to cancel. The last trip insurance I got was through my travel agent, but I didn't want to go to her since we're booking points instead this trip. I don't even have a ballpark for how much that would cover. I just don't know where to start to get that coverage after the fact and with so many different vendors (2 airlines, hotels, cars, etc) thanks!!

Research your options on any of several Web sites dedicated to comparing travel insurance policies. These include InsureMyTrip, QuoteWright and SquareMouth

I'll be 75 when I'll be renting a car in France next year. Should I anticipate any restrictions or limitations based on my age? Am I less likely to have a problem if I use Hertz or Avis instead of Europcar?

There are no age restrictions on the upper end for renters in France, according to Auto Europe, which maintains this useful list or restrictions. But it's always a good idea to call ahead to find out if anything has changed. Also, check out this Navigator on age restrictions.

Thanks so much for the article on Orlando this past weekend. Since I just moved to the area a few months ago, it was nice to have someone hand me a list of things to do in my new hometown that don't include the usual theme parks!

Glad it was useful! Anyone who missed it can read it here.

Wow, I read the article by someone bitten by a stray dog in India and the troubles getting rabies shots. I have to admit, something like that never occurred to me and I'm in science! It probably is a good precaution to get the vaccine if traveling to India/Asia/Africa. And for those of us in Europe, no more petting the odd cat or dog sitting on the sidewalk!

Indeed. Here's the piece, from our colleagues in Health.

Don't assume that basic travel insurance will cover hurricanes and related evacuations/cancellations. I was (maybe naively) surprised to learn that we had to upgrade from the basic policy higher-priced coverage to get full hurricane-related benefits. Last year, we paid $248 through Allianz to cover a 10-day trip to Turks and Caicos for two of us in October. Of course, the cost of the policy will depend on the cost of your bookings, and we tend to travel on the cheap (VRBO or Airbnb rather than all-inclusives), so YMMV.

Thanks for the warning. Yes, always, always read the fine print. When it comes to travel insurance, you should never assume anything.

Hi travel staff (and chatters). I will be going to southern Utah in the middle of July and have the chance to do a day trip to Zion or Bryce Canyon. I like hiking and outdoor activities and am fairly fit, so can handle most physical challenges to get the most out of a visit. I'm looking for the best scenery and unique vistas. Thoughts on which one to chose? Thanks!

My absolute favorite is Angel's Landing in Zion. But it's physically demanding. Chatters, what are your favorites?

The DR government keeps saying that the number of deaths is normal for the number of tourists visiting each year. Are there any comparable numbers for, say, Jamaica - number of American tourists and number of deaths? That would put it in perspective.

Travelers die all the time -- of heart attacks, in car accidents, etc. So I don't think comparing numbers is a fair assessment. What is unusual about DR is the cluster of deaths and the mysterious cause(s). In addition, many travelers there have become dreadfully ill, which would not be reported.

I have flights booked on Southwest from BWI to Orlando in early December. I know that they do accept small dogs/cats in carriers. My problem is that I have a severe animal allergy. I always have allergy medicine and rescue inhaler in my purse, but is there something else I need to do to be able to fly safely while still respecting those who can't leave their support animals behind?

The airline will have a record of people traveling with pets, so they should be able to tell if you are on a flight with animals. If you are, I would purchase the early boarding option or ask the airline if you can board with the passengers who require extra time. Tell the gate agent and the flight attendants that you will need to sit as far away from the animals as possible, due to your allergies. They should be able to accommodate both of you.

And thank you for understanding the needs of people traveling with support animals. Hopefully they will understand your needs in return.

For the reader requesting insights regarding Rick Steves Tours (RST): I went on the RST “Best of Venice, Florence & Rome in 10 Days Tour” in Nov-Dec 2017 at age 69 as a single. One of the best gifts I have ever given to myself! My impression from tours spanning decades is that RST has corralled all of the very best tour leaders in every country. Overall tour leader Stacie was exceptional, as were the university-quality tour guides for the individual cities and museums there. The selection of small local hotels was impeccable; I felt embedded into each community with no loss of amenities important to me, plus a few unexpected extras. INSIGHTS: Yes, the RST web site tells you true. The tour was, indeed, “physically active.” I lost 15 pounds. We left the hotel after early breakfast and were on our feet, walking and standing, for 3-4 hours every morning, indoors and outdoors, up steep museum stairs and down, and in all weather conditions. We carried our own luggage up several flights of stairs in Venice and, in Florence, several blocks from the bus to the hotel entrance. Thankfully, in Rome, the bus could stop in front of the small hotel, which also had an elevator to my 5th floor room. Plus, depending upon free-time plans, afternoons and evenings also will involve walking and standing. Work out at home before you go if you have doubts. TIPS based upon my trip experience: TIP 1: Shoes--I wore broken-in hiking boots throughout the trip; a pain the neck at airports, but a sure-footed, comfortable blessing at every other time (except for shower flipflops and black leather tennis shoes for the occasional restaurant dinner), especially on the steep stairs. TIP 2: Always take a small plastic magnifier and a small penlight flashlight for reading small-print maps, especially for after dark activities. An REI endangered-species orca penlight impulse buy for the trip turned out to be providential (and still is). TIP 3: Pick up the hotel’s free city map and take with you everywhere. Lost? Point on the map where you want to go and ask. TIP 4: Buy ALL sundries (toothpaste, etc.) there at the local corner drugstore when you arrive (you might even find your preferred brand). TIP 5: Trust the suggestions, such as for places to eat, in the RST Tour Book for that city. TIP 6: Ask the hotel staff re excellent nearby hair salons for a free-time respite…after all, it IS vacation! I think the entire salon staff enjoyed the “glamourous” hairstyle the young man gave the 69-year old lady. I still have the photo on my iPhone. 

Thanks for the insights.

Any informed speculation as to what's causing the American deaths? Is it an increase in incidences, or just increased attention?

From what I have read and heard, I think the culprit is a toxic pesticide. But officials have not released a report yet on the cause.

I think it is a bit of both -- more cases and increased exposure. Over the week, several travelers have messaged me about feeling violently ill while vacationing on the island, and in once case, the writer said their friend died. She was a healthy 37-year-old mother of four. It is important that more people share their stories, so investigators can find a cause and travelers can return to DR without fearing for their health.

When you visit places where the tap water is unsafe, do you carry purification tablets and filter gadgets, or just buy bottled water? Do you drink coffee and hot tea made from tap water?

I usually buy bottled water. Boiling the water can help, but I don't trust it. I love this topic and I think it would make a great Navigator. Chatters, what do you do when the water isn't safe to drink?

Today's code is TT3203. It expires at midnight, so be sure to enter it on Monday to get credit for participating.

I just posted info about our Allianz travel policy and forgot to add: Be sure to research how the policies cover pre-existing conditions, which I assume your pregnancy would fall under. The policy we upgraded to in order to have hurricane coverage also covered pre-existing conditions, but again -- the basic policy didn't. And I'm not sure I would have known to look for that detail.

Thank you.

You're awesome. That is all.

Our chatters are the best. 

Just booked our honeymoon - few days in Buenos Aires and then traveling to Mendoza to stay at a resort and explore the wine region in early December. Was wondering if anyone had any experience booking private wine tours to Uco Valley? Renting a car does not seem advisable (drinking lots of wine, poorly marked roads, do not speak spanish). Are there any recommendations on best way to get around?

Chatters, any advice?

Where would be your first choice for a quick, 3-4 night summer (mid-August) get-away--less than 4 hr flight from DCA? Looking to relax on the beach, spa, good food (but not in the Caribbean given all the stuff happening in the DR).

Even if you aren't afraid of visiting the Caribbean (I do wonder what my chances are of dying in DR compared to driving on the Beltway), it's pretty hot there in August. Have you thought about doing something different, such as heading to a beach in Maine? You won't be able to swim in the ocean, but it's a cooler option. If you like the heat, Florida is probably your best bet.  Maybe Amelia Island? There is a nice Omni there. 

What happens when I am in a county with Universal Coverage healthcare system as an American visitor? Do they want up front payment for people from outside the country? I know the results will vary from place to place but a general idea will help.

It does vary by country, but most health care providers will want some kind of payment upfront, since you are a foreigner. Several years ago, I had to go to the ER in Nova Scotia and paid a fee of I think $75 Canadian. Back in the States, I received bills from each of the doctors who helped diagnosis my problem. (I weirdly came down with pleurisy.) My insurance company refunded me, but I had to provide reams of documentation.

Bring several credit cards, in case you need to max out your cards, and ask for copies of everything!

It's beastly hot in Zion then. Bryce is at a higher elevation, so it's generally cooler.

Good point. Thank you.

The Narrows. (although I've never done Angel's Landing.)

Thanks.

It's hard to choose, because I love them both. However, Zion was very crowded in May two years ago, and I can't imagine that two years later in July will be any better. Bryce will probably be less crowded (but still full of people), and hiking is fun there, also. If you choose Zion and don't think you can make it to Angel's Landing, if you go as far as Scout Lookout, you'll have passed Walter's Wiggles, a very fun and scenic spot. Southern Utah is my favorite place on earth. Love red rocks... Remember, there's always Capitol Reef or Canyonlands for fewer people.

Thank you for the info.

Bryce all the way. Zion will be packed in July and you'd need to hit Angel's Landing as early as 6 am to miss traffic on the spine (and maybe avoid the mass of people getting yoga selfies at the end - ugh). Bryce is fantastic and Navajo Loop just got some trail work so it should be in tip-top shape. It is at higher elevation that Zion so bring lots of SPF!

Thank you. I'm going to be in Utah in September, and I can't choose. I'm going to visit both!

A few years ago, I did a hiking trip in Utah with Road Scholar. We hiked one day each in Bryce, Zion, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Capitol Reef. Bryce Canyon was the highlight of the trip, I've never seen anything like it. I vote for Bryce over Zion, if you can only pick one.

Many thanks.

I think Zion might have more variety, and it has stunning views. Though the hoodoos in Bryce are unique. I don't think you can go wrong, but if I had to choose one to visit again, I'd go with Zion.

Thank you.

As a Utahn, I tend to try and avoid the national parks because of all the people. But, I would say both Bryce and Zion are worth braving the crowds. Although, Angel's Landing in Zion is cool, it is just way too overrun with people to be all that enjoyable in my opinion. In Zion, I prefer going to Hidden Canyon - you get some of the chains on the side of the cliff ala Angel's Landing - and then continuing up to Observation Point for spectacular views of the entire canyon. It is a physically demanding hike, but worth it. Also, it will be really steamy in July. Either make sure you're on one of the first shuttles or go late afternoon. Bryce is at a higher elevation so will likely be cooler. At Bryce, I love Fairyland Loop.

Thank you. Good stuff.

If you just have a day, I’d do Bryce (we liked the Navajo Loop trail). Zion was described as “outdoor Disney” and it fits if you don’t take the long drive around to the middle part of the park. The main attractions of Zion are pretty, but in peak season you park outside the park, shuttle in, and must shuttle from sight to sight.

Thank you!

Wow, we are getting a lot of answers on this one. Thanks for the feedback.

Just a day trip? Depends a little on how many hours in the park you'll have. You'd need an early start to hike Angel's Landing. Both have great shorter hiking options. Zion is beautiful, but if I only had one to visit again, it would be Bryce. It was such a totally unexpected, otherworldly landscape.

I don't know. OP, you still there?

Presque Isle, PA (near Erie, on the lake)? Toronto, Ont.?

That's a different idea. 

We visited both on a two week trip several years ago. Both were wonderful, but i’d have to say that Bryce has more spectacular (and unusual) scenery. We loved the Navaho trail, which goes down into the canyon, but i’m told the area called Fairyland is beautiful as well, and more rugged.

Thank you.

I'm close to finishing off my "I have been in all 50 states" list. Alaska, probably not unsurprisingly, is one of the last on the list. If you had 2-4 days in Alaska, what would you do? I would like to fly there and stay mostly on land; no cruise suggestions, please. I also would not like to camp. Other than that, however, I'm open to suggestions! Driving is not an issue (just not driving to get there), and any quintessential Alaska experiences would be wonderful.

I'd probably go to Denali National Park & Preserve. I'd stay in one of the interior wilderness lodges, but that's not for everyone. There are several hotels near the park entrance. I also love the Alaska Inside Passage, but you'd need to take a ferry to access this region. 

I got Global Entry about 2 years ago. My passport expired this year and I renewed it. When I got GE I was told that I would need to come back into an office to get it moved to my new passport. In my efforts to try to do this, I created an account on the new government website for the trusted traveler programs and updated my passport number associated with my GE. Is this sufficient, or do I need to go in person to an office? I called my local office and left a message but never got a reply. Thank you!

Hazarding a guess here: I think that as long as your current passport number and your GE match up, you should be okay. I would leave a few more messages. Next time you travel internationally, however, you will have your answer!

Hello! I have a flight question: I am flying from DC to Istanbul at the end of July for a trip to meet family. We were going to meet my grandmother in Istanbul, but now we're heading to Adana first. I want to get a cheap one way from Istanbul to Adana but I'm worried about booking ahead of time in case my flight into Istanbul is delayed. Should I book before or when I get to the airport? The best solution would have been knowing about when I booked my flight so I could fly into Adana, but what do you suggest? Thanks!

Book your flight now. I think Turkish Airlines has several flights every day from Istanbul to Adana, so even if you miss your flight, you should get onto another one. If you are booked on Turkish Airlines to Istanbul, give them a call now and see if they can add it to your itinerary. 

My daughter is in the early stages of planning an 8 day trip in October to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. What are your thoughts on how much time for each ( thinking that most of the time will be in Paris, but not sure how to allocate the other 2), and any thoughts on don't-miss things in each locale outside of the usual tourist spots? I spent 2 weeks just in Paris many years ago, and so not sure how to distill that down decades later.

By eight days, do you mean seven nights? If so, three nights in Paris, two nights in Amsterdam, two nights in Brussels. Or ditch Brussels and do four nights in Paris and three in Amsterdam. As for stuff not to miss, if she's not been to any of these places, she needs to hit the usual tourism hot spots. My personal favorite in Amsterdam is Vondelpark and the adjacent Museum Quarter. In Paris, I love walking to the top of Sacré-Cœur Basilica. In Brussels, let's just say I'd go to Bruges first, but I haven't been there in many years. 

I'm going to be in Edinburgh in mid-August for about 5 days and will catch part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. My question is, should I buy tickets for the shows in advance or will there be enough available on the day of? The things I'm interested in are mostly small obscure student productions (a friend of mine is involved in one and I promised I'd go support her) so I doubt tickets will sell out, but will they cost more at the venue? I just don't particularly want to deal with international postage or remembering where in my suitcase I stuck a very small piece of paper unless I have to - I'll be bouncing around the UK for about a week and a half before I get to Edinburgh so there will be too many opportunities to lose it on the way. I'd also welcome any recommendations for non-Fringe-Fest things to do while I'm there! Thank you!!

I think they may cost less at the venue. There is a half-price day-of-performance box office and from what you've described, you may luck out there. As for other things to do in Edinburgh, I will throw that one out to my colleagues and chatters. 

Happy Monday, travel gurus! We're headed to Barcelona on Norwegian Air in early September, and we'd like to continue our carry-on only habit. Since international carry-on sizes are smaller than domestic, I'm shopping around for new bags... but the listed dimensions don't include the wheels or hardware. A 22-inch bag becomes a 24-inch bag if it's a spinner. What the heck! Do luggage makers really think that we want to know the interior dimensions of a suitcase, but not what its actual cram-into-the-overhead-bin size is? Am I the only one bugged by this?

No, you're not the only one. Luggage limits can be confusing. The International Air Transport Association tried to standardize carry-on sizes in 2015 but failed. Since then, my best advice is to find the smallest carry-on you can. A 22-inch bag should be fine, by the way -- wheels and all.

Hello. Flying to El Paso in mid-July. Once we land, we'll hit the road and drive to Marfa. What should I expect (and plan for) driving in this part of Texas? We return to El Paso with one full day in the city. Is it worth going to Mexico just to go? I would imagine it is not a "quick" trip. Or is our time better spent enjoying El Paso? Thanks.

The three-hour drive is pretty straightforward. You take I-10 to US-90. There is not a lot in between, so fill up on gas and bring snacks.

El Paso is an amazing city. You can soak up the Mexican culture and cuisine without crossing the border. (You can also see the country without driving or walking across.) Here is my piece on the city.

Haven't you reported about some country where the upper limit is something like 72? Can't recall where, though.

Ireland had strict rules on this a while back, but I think they have been relaxed. Just check with the rental car agency first. Auto Europe, for example, states for Ireland: Drivers over 75 are required to provide proof that they are in good health and have not been involved in any accidents in the past five years.

A co-worker just got back from Zion, and made the day trip to Bryce. She said Zion was very crowded, and that lines were long for the shuttle and for some hikes. A ranger steered her group to a different hike instead of Angel's Landing.

Good to know.

I noticed when I bought an airline ticket recently that the fine print about what you cannot take on a plane includes lithium batteries. And I remember some stories about exploding batteries a few years ago. The newest hearing aids now come with rechargeable lithium batteries. Would those be banned? What's a person with hearing loss supposed to do?

You can bring lithium batteries but you can't check them in your bags. You need to carry them onto the plane. Here is the TSA info on batteries.

Not that Bryce isn't a unique and special place; but if you can only do one, there's really no debate in my mind. Zion's valleys, summits, river, walking trails, climbing trails and diversity of natural beauty shouldn't be missed!

Many thanks.

Only if you buy a new ticket! Miss a flight and airlines have no obligation to rebook you for free - especially if the flight that delayed you is nothing to do with them.

Yes, that's true, but if she's on the same airline, there's a very good chance they'll put her on a later flight without penalty. 

If the trip is in the middle of July, would give the edge to Bryce as Zion can get quite toasty then. Love the hikes in Zion, but probably would enjoy them more in cooler months.

Yes, you're right. It can get really hot in Utah during the summer.

Boiling the water should usually be enough to kill bacteria and viruses, but it doesn't do anything about industrial pollutants, pesticides etc. So when you travel you don't drink tea or coffee? And what about hotels that serve orange juice and other drinks that may be mixed from concentrates and tap water? Do you skip those, too?

All great questions. I will add these to the list.

Bryce is perfect for a day trip. You can drive around the entire park plus do some hiking - all in a day. Amazing opportunities for sky watching as well if you stay the night. Two days in Zion were barely enough to do all we wanted to, but if that's what you end up choosing, I second the Angel's Landing recommendation.

Thanks!

As someone who is on medications for seizure disorder, I rarely drink the tap water, even in places where my traveling partners do. Even though the water is perfectly drinkable, it is all a matter of what a person's gut is used to. Stomach distress caused by drinking the tap water I don't usually drink can cause diarrhea, which lowers levels of medication, which brings on seizures. I learned that lesson the hard way in Barcelona, where I missed out on half of my time there. I still need to return to see Park Guell.

Thanks. I've already started my research on this one. I've also wondered when you should, and shouldn't, drink the water.

We're doing our first major road trip with our SUPER active toddler and no room for a grownup to sit in the back seat (big sister will be back there, fortunately, but she's not super interested in entertaining - though will at least rescue toys). Any suggestions besides the obvious one of stop when you can to make this less painful? She has not shown much interest in passive screen watching and we're looking at about 15 hours of drive time each way. We're going to attempt to at least start during naptime in hopes that it gives us a good start, but I'm a little nervous about having to drive for many hours with a screaming toddler (and said toddler refusing to get back into the seat after stops).

Are you going to drive straight through for 15 hours? That's insanely ambitious to me. But if you have two adults, I'd try to drive much of it at night. Especially if your toddler goes to sleep at 7 p.m. or so, you could start at in the late afternoon and then get there 7 a.m. or so. If you take turns driving and sleeping, that could work.

Hi, Traveling to Florence, Italy in a few months on United. Flying United out of Dulles to Zurich. Then, from Zurich to Florence on OAW Helvetic Airways. I have a carry on I plan to use that falls under United's rule of 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches. But, I see that OAW Helvetic Airways only permits carry on of a smaller size, ie., 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm. I am guessing I will be required to check in my carry on in Zurich?

Yes, probably. But you can always take it to the gate and see. Maybe they'll let you sneak it on the plane?

Going on an Alaska cruise next week that starts in Vancouver and ends in Anchorage. Any not-to-be-missed things to do in either of those cities? We'll be staying in Vancouver for a few nights, but will only have the day in Anchorage. Thanks in advance!

The Anchorage Museum and Alaska Native Heritage Center are amazing. If you have time, you can take a boat or plane tour of a glacier. If you want secondhand outdoor gear, including mushing attire, hit up the Hoarding Marmot.

It is harder to offer recommendations for Vancouver, since the city has so much to do and see. The tourism office pulled together some really nice itineraries, based on season, age and interests. I would take a gander at these.

Wasn't there a case two or three years ago where a family checked into a fancy Caribbean condo/resort and were poisoned by pesticide? Didn't at least some of them die and some were med-evaced to the US? I seem to remember it was concentrated bug spray in the unit or just outside the unit.

A Delaware family in St. Johns became gravely ill from a pesticide the EPA had banned in the '80s.  The Justice Dept. fined Terminix $9.2 million and the family received a settlement of $87 million.

Apropos of the comment "it's pretty hot there in August. " - Isn't the Caribbean in August pretty much the same as the Caribbean any other month of the year?

No, it's not. For example, average daily high in August in Punta Cana is 88 degrees, low is 78. In January, it's 83 high and 73 low. 

What about Charleston for good food/spa -- and aren't there beaches nearby?

Yes, I was going to mention Charleston, but it'll be hot and muggy, too. Folly Beach is nice, as is Sullivan's Island. And if you want something upscale, Kiawah Island. 

They don't always ask for money in advance, often no money is required at all, or very minimal afterwards. Every place has different systems though so check the specific place you're going.

Yep, that's what I said -- policies vary by country and even by hospital. The U.S. embassy in your destination can help if you fall ill and need health care services.

Although not big or exciting like the theme parks, the small museum and gift shop at Tupperware World Headquarters is a quick little diversion (visit time no more than 30 minutes). It is south of Orlando and easy to find. The museum is informative and the gift shop has numerous Tupperware items from here and other parts of the world for purchase. And it's FREE. My daughter even liked it as they had some cool key chains that looked like miniature Tupperware.

Disney... always Disney and maybe Universal but unlikely - those are place I am going because I want to go to the main thing. I save my off the beaten path traveling for other locations.

Lake Eola, at the edge of downtown Orlando, is a beautiful park. Yes. It has a floating fountain in the lake, and both black and white swans. There are also restaurants around the lake, giving the opportunity to enjoy the view while dining. There are also a lot of Vietnamese restaurants on State Road 50, north of downtown. A lot of people came over to the area after the Vietnam War.

Edinburgh will be very crowded at festival time, but I recommend the Scottish Museum of Modern Art (which is in a less crowded part of town), the botanical gardens, Walk of Leith, and Dovecot Studios.

Thanks for the suggestions!

Isn't that something children contracted in Dickensian workhouses? Did you get it by doing anything you could have avoided?

I don't know how I contracted it. I was not working in a Dickensian workhouse; I was on a cruise ship from Montreal to Boston.

Are there any ocean cruise lines that offer cabins with balconies for single people?

Here is a Cruise Critic article that details solo cabin choices in the industry. 

Oh no do not ditch Brussels for Bruges. Brussels is a fantastic city, there's a lot of museums and it can be interesting for a lot of different reasons (comic books, food, beer, chocolate, history, politics). If she hesitates between Brussels and another belgian city, I would recommend Antwerp before Bruges. Great museums again, a lot of great places to eat and do some shopping, really easy to walk by or even bike. I liked Bruges but I thought it was a little too tourist-y and once you have done the main attractions, there's not much left...

Thanks for weighing in!

A few of the trails at Zion are still closed from landslides this past winter... including Observation Point and Hidden Canyon, two great trails. That would make the other trails even more crowded in the busiest and hottest time of year. I recommend Bryce in this case - the Wall Street / Queens Garden loop or the Peekaboo loop are both amazing and as someone else mentioned, other-worldly. Cooler temps as well. From Bryce, you might also be able to drive some of scenic byway route 12, which drives through several different types of "moonscapes."

Good to know, thanks!

Do you think if I had travel insurance with Medevac coverage that the company would have helped either get rabies shots or transfer me back to the US for the shots expeditiously?

All depends on the policy. If you are going to a rabies-prone destination, get the shots in advance. For a trip to Malawi, I scheduled the shots through my HMO. They are very specific about timing, so you need to plan ahead.

In the United Kingdom, treatment at hospital emergency rooms is free of charge for everyone. I fell on a slippery sidewalk and received a nasty cut above my eyebrow where my eyeglasses hit; several passersby helped me with napkins to put up against the cut to stop the blood flow, called me a cab, and sent me to the nearest A&E. The triage nurse assessed my injury and I did have to wait a bit, but the attending physician did a beautiful job on the stitches (I have only a minuscule scar), and although I tried to pay at the discharge window, they weren't having any of it.

Thanks for sharing your story!

Anyone have a recommendation for a nice place to stay, preferably on the beach (most of the hotels sit up on a ridge and require transportation to the beach). Thanks!

Travel last wrote about Manuel Antonio in 2016; with luck the recommendations will stand up -- you can check out the piece here.

That's another reason to get travel insurance. You may be willing to risk the cost of your vacation, and if you paid for everything by credit card your risk is low, but a medical emergency requiring evacuation could cost six figures.

Excellent point!

And what do you rinse your mouth out with after you brush your teeth?

Whiskey.

One of my first stops after arriving is to a corner market, where I get the largest bottle of water possible. Usually 5 liters. I use it to make hot coffee, brush teeth, and drink. Don't forget a reusable water bottle from home, so you can refill and take with you while out and about.

Good stuff, thanks!

We planned a several hour layover in Brussels when traveling by train between London and Amsterdam. It gave us the opportunity to see the Grand Place, have waffles, and walk around a bit, even though we didn't have time for a longer visit.

Thanks!

Looks like our time is up, thanks for chatting today, everyone. Tupperware fan, 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.
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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