Q&A: Driving abroad, Florida beaches, fear of flying

The Washington Post's travel writers and editors discuss your travel stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are some edited excerpts from a recent discussion:

Q: My wife and I are going to Germany and Austria soon and are considering renting a car there. My question is, do I need an International Driving Permit? From what I have gathered it is not needed in Germany but may be in Austria.

A: You won't need it for Germany, but the Austrian tourist office says an IDP is required. The rental company or authorities might never ask for it, but it's better to be safe and have one on hand. You can order the permit through AAA for $20.

- Andrea Sachs

Q: I am going to Disney in mid-October and hope to visit a beach. I presume the Gulf is still warm enough to swim, but is the Atlantic still warm enough to swim? Any favorite beaches?

A: Still warm enough, yes. My favorites are Canaveral National Seashore and a the unique experience of driving on the sands of Daytona.

- Christopher Elliott

Q: Just want to say that my fear of flying was so bad that I avoided it whenever I could for yeeeears, and when I did fly I had to be heavily sedated, but after two hypnosis sessions I am cured! I just flew down to Florida and back for the weekend and did it with no pills and only mild anxiety when we took off. My claustrophobia, fear of heights, fear of lack of control - GONE! If anybody out there is afraid to fly, try hypnosis because it could work for you too.

A: Sounds as if you found a healthy alternative to drugs. May not work for everyone, but worth a try. I always worry about fellow travelers who are out-of-it when flying, wondering how they'd handle an emergency. I believe there are even apps for fear of flying, although I'm not sure how they work.

- Carol Sottili

Q: We have a 9-hour layover in Istanbul. Is that realistically enough time to leave the airport to do some exploration?

A: It is, and if you are flying on Turkish Airlines, you may be eligible for a free sightseeing tour. Here is the info: http://www.istanbulinhours.com/faq

If you go on your own, be aware of the city's knotty traffic. Give yourself ample time to return to the airport and snake through security. Also, travel light, especially if you are going to the Grand Bazaar. And remember that if you buy any liquids, you will have to check them.

- Andrea Sachs

Q: I am obsessed with Miraval, but it is WAY out of my price range. I would love a relaxing place, with healthy meals included, that has a fitness center and fitness activities, but that costs at least 50 percent less than Miraval. Any suggestions? Or should I just save up or give up?

A: Even Miraval has specials, especially in the off-season (summer), but it's never going to be 50 percent cheaper. Luxury destination spa resorts are expensive, but take a look at the Oaks at Ojai in California.

- Carol Sottili


Q. I jumped on the Norwegian Air sale to the Caribbean and got $49 fares to Martinique. Thing is, I don't speak a lick of French beyond bonjour and merci. Am I going to be able to finagle my way around the island (really just worried about finding good croissants and a beach with drinks) or should I take a crash course in French and make sure the international data is working on my phone?

A: It would be a good idea to learn at least a few words of French. Not everyone speaks English, and they will appreciate you at least trying to speak the local language. Fodor's has a nice Web page with audio pronunciations of common words and phrases used by tourists.

- Carol Sottili

Reader Comments

Next Up in Travel

Dostoyevsky vs. Tolstoy: one family’s competitive vacation in Russia
Dostoyevsky vs. Tolstoy: one family’s competitive vacation in Russia
Some readers gravitate toward Tolstoy, others toward Dostoyevsky. It is fun to assign camps to your friends and even more fun to argue in favor of...
Q&A: Passports, Bermuda, carry-ons, agents
The Washington Post's travel writers and editors discuss your travel stories, questions, gripes and more.
Finding a true blue hot spring at Yellowstone
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — If Morning Glory Pool just isn’t blue enough for you anymore, I found a good stand-in.
In L.A., a grown-up show and tell of unhappy endings
In L.A., a grown-up show and tell of unhappy endings
Her story started with, “I fell in love with a junkie.” He must have felt the same heart-thumping emotion, because he ripped the handset...
10 colorful fall hikes in Washington State
10 colorful fall hikes in Washington State
TACOMA, Wash. — Washington is called the Evergreen State for good reason. Walk into the woods any time of year and you’ll be enveloped by...
More Stories

You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com.

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of free premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.