Ask our travel experts about travel and get answers to reader questions
Q: Why Did Flight Attendants Stop Stowing Our Bags? PDF Print E-mail

I’m a 73-year-old passenger, and have trouble lifting my bag into the overhead. Years ago, the stewardesses always were willing to help. But on recent flights, they refused. What’s the official policy? BBL, St. Louis MO

A: Because of flight attendant union actions several years ago, they’re no longer required to do the heavy lifting. The best way to avoid doing it yourself is to travel lighter. Try smaller, softer bags, preferably those you can stow under your seat instead of needing to hoist them up into the overhead space. If you still insist on carrying bigger ones, politely ask a strong fellow passenger to do the heavy lifting for you.

Q: Should We Book A Hotel Or Bnb In London? PDF Print E-mail

Since retirement ten years ago, we’ve visited the British capital city almost annually. We always stay in a hotel, but room prices keep going up. We just got a quote that’s more than double what we paid just a few years ago. Ideas? MLL, Plainfield NJ

A: The average one-day price for a room in a London hotel is $200. The average private home room is $75. Look into the growing availability and perks of Airbnb rentals. Check out those in center city areas within short taxi or walking distance to Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and other landmarks. Also consider those near your favorite London parks, restaurants and theaters.

Q: I’m Afraid Of Being Kidnapped While Traveling Abroad PDF Print E-mail

The recent grabbing of an American tourist in Uganda could affect my future plans. I know they got her out safely, but rumors are that it cost a lot of ransom money. What do you suggest to avoid such things? Mrs. EVR, Wildwood NJ

A: Of course, these kidnappings are very isolated incidents. However, there are some basics that could help you keep safe. If your days of youthful wanderings are long past, apply the old saying that there’s safety in numbers. Travel with a group. Also, if you go alone, keep up on the news. Stay away from areas with violent political, economic and other troubles.

Senior Tourist Confused About Helping Handicapped Travelers PDF Print E-mail

Q: I’m 66, newly retired and blessed with good health. On a recent cruise, there were some very elderly people aboard in wheelchairs. When I asked to assist several around the ship, they got very angry with me. What are the rules when you try to show simple kindness? Mrs. PJL, Denver CO

A: Understand that many handicapped people insist on being as independent as possible. Right or wrong, some resent offers of help as demeaning. Of course, it’s very kind of you to offer, and you should keep doing it. However, be prepared for rejection, and then back politely away.

Q: Tired Of Hotel Prices … Should We Try Private Homes? PDF Print E-mail

We enjoy travel, but every time we book a hotel room, the price goes up, plus new sneaky extra charges. Why pay $300 to spend just eight hours in bed in a little room? We’ve heard that Airbnb and other private home rental services charge much less, and you often get an apartment or entire house. What’s your opinion? RBF, Sherman Oaks CA

A: To start, consider definite advantages of a hotel room. There’s security, daily cleaning, in-house restaurants and convenient city location. True, you’ll find them pricey and getting more so. Airbnb types get more attractive. Do some homework with websites that offer private homes and apartments at reasonable prices. Also, with such sites as TrustedHousesitters, you may get lower rates or free stays because it includes caring for owners’ pets


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