Ask our travel experts about travel and get answers to reader questions
Q: Is Rome The Pickpocket Capital Of Europe? PDF Print E-mail

We’re taking our first trip to Rome next month, and hear a lot of talk about theft problems, even thieves posing as police. My husband is worried about being scammed or robbed. What do you suggest? MLDiR, Bangor ME

A: Because there are so many tourists in the Italian capital city, it naturally attracts thieves. Pickpockets, packs of kids, fake officials and others blend in with the crowds at famous sites, especially St. Peter’s Square, so it’s easy to get close to victims.

However, that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your visit. Keep everything in buttoned or zipped pockets, including smartphone in a case with a strap. When shooting photos, be sure the strap is wrapped around your arm. Historic Rome is a great destination, so enjoy it while always being aware of potential troubles.

Q: Should We Take Our First Trip To Sinful Las Vegas? PDF Print E-mail

My spouse and I both retired from teaching last year, and for religious and other reasons have never gambled in a casino. We’re invited to speak at a convention at Caesars Palace next month. We’re tempted, but…. What do you suggest? TRMcD, Ogden UT

A: Unless your religion expressly forbids it, go to the convention. Of course, its called Sin City, but there are countless other things to do in Las Vegas besides gambling, and many are free. For example, check out Fountain Shops and art displays at Caesars, as well as downtown Fremont Street where there are nightly sky-filled lights, music and huge projected images.

There’s the Conservatory at the Bellagio Resort, with beautiful blooming trees and flowers, huge aquarium at the Silverton Resort and interactive art museums at the Cosmopolitan and City Center. And don’t miss the Statue of Liberty at New York New York and Grand Canal at the Venetian. And, if you have the time and interest, there’s much more to enjoy.

My Tourist Camera Blocked At The Sistine Chapel In Rome PDF Print E-mail

Q: On a recent visit to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece I pointed my camera at the beautiful ceiling. Suddenly a guard’s hand blocked it, scaring the hell out of me. What are the rules? TFB, Chicago IL

A: The no photo rule in the chapel is because cameras disturb the religious setting for other visitors. Also, when there are flashes, the bright light can damage the fragile old artwork. Other world art on display, such as in London’s Westminster Abbey, have similar no photo rules. So, when visiting any famous old site, be sure to know where to keep your camera lens closed.

Q&A: Is It OK To Take Doggy Bag Extras From My Vegas Buffet? PDF Print E-mail

Q: After my hotel buffet, I always take leftovers with me for a later casual lunch and/or late night snack. Last week, after I did it as usual, people at a nearby table said it was bad manners, and I had broken hotel rules. What’s the answer? JML, Oakland CA

A: They were right, and although not usually enforced, most Vegas hotels forbid doggy bagging. Actually, taking the leftovers as later meals is cheating the hotel out of another $25 or more you’d spend next time you'd dine there.

Q: What’s The Most Economical Way To Experience Las Vegas? PDF Print E-mail

We’ve been going to Vegas for several decades, and on recent visits we’ve been shocked by the increasing high prices on everything. Room rates are through the roof. In 1990 we paid $25, and now for the same hotel room it’s $250. A buffet was $5, now $29.99. Taxis for a 10-minute ride from the airport to the hotel were $5, now $40. How can we avoid the rising Sin City robbery rates? PLF, San Antonio TX

A: Consider all kinds of alternatives for seniors. To avoid airline, hotel and other high costs to Vegas, check prices at Native American casinos closer to you in Texas. For Sin City local transport, ride with Uber, Lyft or take the bus. Las Vegas RTC transit offers reduced fares to seniors with photo ID.

If you continue going to Vegas, do research before booking. There are seasonal money-saving promotions, packages that include flights, hotels and meals, as well as senior and AARP membership deals.


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