Ask our travel experts about travel and get answers to reader questions
Q: I’m Worried About What To Do If My Hotel Has A Fire PDF Print E-mail

Though I must now use a wheelchair, I still want to do as much traveling as physically possible. Recent news about a sudden hotel fire in the Philippine capital of Manila that killed 75 people frightens me. How can I prepare in case I’m forced to get to safety in a hurry.
Mrs. WLA, Baltimore MD

A: Now that you’re not as mobile as you were in younger days, be alert to potential travel dangers at all times. When checking in to a hotel, get familiar with all the safety rules, including fire alarms and other warning systems.

Book a room on a lower floor, preferably close to the elevators and exit doors. Travel with a physically-fit companion who can help, especially if you must use the stairs. If you see fire or smell smoke in your room, have your smartphone close at all times to call the front desk and/or local fire department for help.

Q&A: I’m Allergic To Dogs And Encounter Too Many In Airports PDF Print E-mail

Q: Recently I read an article on the Los Angeles Times website about the continuing increase of dogs in airports. They include traveling pets, service dogs and volunteer comfort dogs. Every time I fly these days, I’m surrounded by them, both in airports and aboard flights. My asthma gets so bad I can’t stop sneezing. What can I do about it? MMJ, Portland ME

A: Not much to change the situation. It seems increased crowding, tougher security and other contemporary airport situations encourage more presence of dogs for various reasons. The best way to address your allergy is to have a session with your family physician, and get an effective prescription to ease your allergy.

Take enough medications you can use while being confined at airports and aboard flights where dogs are present. If weather permits, spend as much airport waiting time outside in the fresh air. When your seat is being assigned, tell the online or live airline contact about your medical condition. Ask for seating, usually near the rear the plane, where there are no dogs during the flight.

Times Square NYC: How Do I Deal With Costumed Characters? PDF Print E-mail

Q: I recently took my two grandkids to Manhattan for a day at the theater. Everything went OK until we walked through Times Square. When the kids went over to the costumed characters to shoot some selfies, they heard nasty cursing and loud demands for money. I quickly pulled the kids away without paying anything. Was I right? AAL, Scranton PA

A: Of course, if you were offended by the language in front of the kids, you were right to leave. That scene happens often because all of the characters expect to be paid for posing for photos. Now that kids of all ages use smartphones frequently, on crowded days among the costumed characters many snap and leave without paying.

Q&A: Always Double Check Your Hotel Bill When Checking Out PDF Print E-mail

Q: In the rush to get to the airport, I paid the hotel bill, stuffed it in my handbag and ran out the door to the waiting taxi. However, after settling in my airline seat, I scanned the bill and found I’d been charged for several high-priced meals in the swanky hotel restaurant. I never ate there. What can I do about it now? Ms PRS, San Antonio TX

A: Of course, it would’ve been easier to correct the bill at check-out time. However, you can probably get it resolved by sending an explanatory note and copy of the bill to the hotel email address. You should receive a refund or credit for your next stay at the hotel.

Q&A: Is It OK To Stay Beyond Hotel Check-Out Time? PDF Print E-mail

Q: Sometimes we need to use our hotel room into the afternoon before we leave. Is it OK to stay an extra hour or two for last minute shopping, packing and other needs? Will we have to pay extra for the time? LLM, Providence RI

A: You're expected to be gone by check-out time. However, if you need it and call the front desk at least an hour in advance of the deadline, you’ll probably get another hour or so in the room at no extra cost. Always remember that a busy hotel needs the required schedule to clean and prepare rooms for arriving guests. Your cooperation is expected.


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