Q: I'm looking to go to Cancun the last week of March with my husband and teenage son. Up until now I've avoided all-inclusives, preferring to make my own travel choices and get off the beaten path. But both Funjet and Apple are offering fantastic prices on all-inclusives with the sort of Mayan and nature-themed add-ons I would normally book myself. Total cost for the three of us flight plus hotel plus activities is $3,500-$4,000. Is this a good deal, or too good to be true? We are flying out of Chicago if that matters.
A: Funjet and Apple Vacations are reputable companies, but I'd make sure that everything is included in the price you are quoted. I'd also price out the components separately to find out how much you are saving with a third-party package.
- Carol Sottili
Q: I have a free day in Los Angeles in December. Have you visited Koreatown - is it worth a visit?
A: My daughter lived in Little Bangladesh for a few years, so I spent a bunch of time in Koreatown. It has some interesting shopping and restaurants. Food trucks are great. I don't remember names right now, but Los Angeles Tourism has a decent guide.
Q: Any recs for a good place to stay in Lake Tahoe? My husband skis but I don't, so a spa and proximity to town would be pluses.
A: I've stayed in several areas around the lake, and in your situation, would recommend the more built-up area of South Lake Tahoe. The Landing Resort & Spa is very nice. Most of the chains also are represented in that area.
Q: I flew through Heathrow Airport last week. Was struck by how professional, helpful and well-trained their security screening staff are, and how well-organized and clear their passenger screening system is. Our much-maligned TSA employees (who in the past have suffered from poor leadership at the top) could do with some of that. Sigh.
A: Thanks for the feedback. It's nice to know security on the other side of the pond is efficient and helpful. In fairness to the TSA, the agency has made some progress recently, but it still has a lot of work to do.
- Christopher Elliott
Q: Can you tell me why so many B&Bs have "no kids" policies?
A: My guess is that antiques, high beds, tchotchkes and the like have a lot to do with that. And B&Bs are often touted as romantic spots for couples to escape, so noisy kids may not be conducive to that vibe. That said, there are plenty of B&Bs, especially in more rural areas, that accept kids.
Q: I just returned from a short trip to Guadeloupe, visiting extended family. Guadeloupe belongs to France - the language is French, the money is Euros and the electrical outlets are European-style (bring an adapter). We hiked up a volcano in the national park, took a snorkeling trip, and visited a beautiful botanical garden. Norwegian Air has inexpensive direct flights, but they only fly on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The plane has more legroom than Southwest Airlines. But once on board, everything (even water!) costs money. $2.50 for a bottle of water, $5 for a sandwich. Guadeloupe reminded me of France, but with palm trees and beaches with warm water.
A: Many of the newer discount carriers, which include Norwegian Air, use that business model. The flight itself is very cheap, but everything, including carry-on luggage, seat assignments, water, etc., costs extra. It works for those who travel light and simply. Glad you enjoyed Guadeloupe!
Q: Going to Paris this summer and would like to pre-book some city tours. Any specific tour company suggestions? We would probably be most interested in food tours or neighborhood specific walking/biking tours.
A: I typically either wing it or rely on the hotel concierge to hook me up with a good tour. But if you want to do your own research and book in advance, take a look at Viator and City Wonders.
Q: I always wanted to take a trip to NYC to see the parade. Preferably stay in a place on an upper floor with a good view of the parade, so with a balcony. Too late for this year, but do you have any recs of a specific place, or just where a good area would be? I have no idea where the parade route actually is.
A: NYC Tourism publishes a list of hotels along the parade route. But expect to pay big bucks for a room with a view: It's not uncommon for rooms to rent at $1,000.