Ask our travel experts about travel and get answers to reader questions
Making Travel Decisions: Hotel Room, Hostel Or Airbnb? PDF Print E-mail

Q: I’m familiar with hotel rooms and cruise ship cabins, but recent travel promotions confuse me. I know these two are the cheapest places, but what’s the difference between a hostel and Airbnb stay? Lucile P., Greeley CO

A: With names, prices and places changing all the time, traveling seniors can get befuddled about where to spend the night and their money. Airbnb is a relatively new and growing market in the travel industry. Private home owners offer rooms or the entire house for one night or more. It can be much cheaper than hotels, especially if your travel group includes four or more people.

Hostels have been around for a long while, mostly appealing to younger travelers. They’re usually basic dorms with bunk beds, four or more people to a room and shared bathrooms.  To get more familiar with Airbnb and hostels, before your next trip alone or with a group, do some internet searching and price comparisons.

Q: Just Retired & Ready To Roam. When Is Best Time To Travel? PDF Print E-mail

We’re thankful for the new freedom, but our pension income is very limited. We want to see the world, so how do we pay for it wisely? Mrs. LVL, Dallas TX

A: Your search for bargain travel deals won’t be difficult in this era of instant info. First, decide on general plans, including destinations and events that interest you. Then, work with a trusted travel agent and/or scan the internet daily for best packages.

Time of year and day of the week are important, because prices vary greatly. For example, a flight during busy Labor Day weekend could cost $400 round trip, but two weeks later only $100. A weekend visit to a Florida beach city hotel during Spring Break could cost $1,500 for flight, hotel and meals. The same package to the much quieter, less crowded destination may be as low as $500. Lower if you fly midweek.

Gotta Love Those Las Vegas All You Can Eat Buffets! PDF Print E-mail

Q: Choices are many and my spouse and I consider them Sin City’s most sinfully great attractions. So, is it OK to doggy bag our leftovers to snack later in our room, the casino and hotel pool? HLMcJ, Sacramento CA

A: Doggy bagging is a no-no at Vegas buffets. However, if you’re sneaky enough and have a handy bag you can quickly stash into a pocket or purse, go for it. Just don’t tell them we said you could. Actually, consider how buffet prices have skyrocketed in recent years. When we visited Vegas way, way back around 1999, average breakfast and lunch each were $5, and dinner $10. Now they’re $25, $45 and higher. So, enjoy your doggy bagging!

Q: Where Can I Find The Best Reasonably-Priced Cruises? PDF Print E-mail

I just retired and want to celebrate with a cruise. My travel agent quoted several that seemed way too expensive. A friend told me the best prices are the ones ready to sail, but are not yet sold out. My time now is free and I can go tomorrow for the right deal. How do I do it? PL, Atlanta GA

A: Consider last-minute sailings, when prices drop dramatically. Review on-line sites such as Expedia and Travelocity. They can save you time with continuously updated lists of many last-minute choices. Also scan cruise lines websites. Then make sure you’re packed and ready, in case the cruise you want will be sailing in just a few days or possibly hours.

Q: What To Do When You’re Booked Into A Dirty Hotel Room PDF Print E-mail

We woke up in our Vegas upscale hotel to find bedbugs in the sheets, and bloody bites on our legs.When we complained, the desk clerk offered to move us to another room down the hall. We quickly checked out and refused to pay our bill. Did we do right? Mrs. PKMcD, Chicago IL

A: Of course you were correct. Try to prevent it from happening again. Always travel with a small flashlight, and as soon as you check into your room, immediately pull back covers and sheets, and make a close check. If you see soiling or bugs, notify the front desk, check out and find another hotel. Also, report the situation to local health authorities.


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