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Travel Photo The Flight Crew: Standing, from left: Daniele Dolges, John Deiner, and Gary Lee. Seated in front: Craig Stoltz and K.C. Summers. Blue heads: Roger Piantadosi and Carolyn Spencer Brown, who have moved on to new assignments. By Patrick Witty/WPNI
Talk About Travel
Hosted by the Flight Crew
Monday, August 28, 2000

Every Monday at 2 p.m., The Post's Travel Section Flight Crew – pictured at right – will take your comments, questions, suspicions, warnings, gripes, sad tales and happy endings springing from the world of . . . the world.

A transcript of this week's discussion is below. You may browse an archive of previous live travel discussions.

The Flight Crew: Greetings fellow travelers! Welcome and buckle up! Gary Lee, fresh (well, more or less fresh) back from wonderful Peru (Cuzco, Machu Picchu and Arequipa) acting as your captain today. (Never mind that I've never driven a car, let alone a plane.) I'm sure that you'll be delighted to hear that we have a full back-up crew at your service for our one hour journey into Travel Land this afternoon, including travel editor KC Summers, deputy John Deiner, staff writers Steve Hendrix and Andrea Sachs. Although we all have certain areas of expertise, there are many corners of the world where we have not yet ventured so we greatly welcome you to weign in with tips and suggestions for your fellow flight members' queries. We hope you get as big a kick out of this part of the week as we do.

Manassas, Va.: What do you do when you see a good trip (like the one to Hawaii) page E2 and you talk with your trave agent ans they say they can't help you as its only on the internet. You go to them (travel agency) because you have a large credit and must use them?

The Flight Crew: You say, "Hawaii, Here I come!" That's why the Internet deals are bargains, because they cut out the middleman. I am not sure why you MUST use your travel agent for all travel, but if you wont' tell, I won't tell. Obviously, if they book it, they don't get a cut. But maybe, with the pressure on, they can find you an equally good deal (amazing what a little competition can do). But what matters, I think, is getting you to Hawaii, and fast.

Silver Spring, Md: Do you know anything about Margarita Island off the coast of Venezuela? I was looking in an RCI catalog and there seem to be a lot of time-shares there. I have not been able to find anyone who knows anything about this location. I want to know about the beaches and if there any flights that go directly to the island or would I have to fly through Caracas.

The Flight Crew: Hi Silver Spring. Steve Hendrix here. I was on Margarita a few years ago--and wasn't crazy about it. Partly, I thought some of the nearby islands on Venezuela's coast were so much more appealing--plenty of them that are almost pristine with the same beautiful beaches and none of the crowds. BUT--people love Margarita because it is a well-developed resort area. It's the favorite of most well-off Venezuelans (which is fun) and it's a duty-free zone, so it attracts shoppers from all over South America and the Caribbean (beware, as always: duty-free doesn't usually mean a bargain). And yes, lot's of time shares, fancy hotels and package deals. I'm not aware of any direct international flights to the island, but there are frequent flights from Caracas. Anyone else?

Gaithersburg: I wonder if the Crew or the Clicksters can help with my sort of unusual travel concern.

My wife and I are planning a trip to New Orleans, which is a nightlife-oriented destination. I am the quintessential early bird -- up at 5, work 6-2:30, in bed around 9. I don't have trouble adjusting my sleeping schedule while travelling, but my mental energy level after dinner falls right off the table.

Any tips on how to schedule activities at this particular destination, or switch to being a "night person" for 1.5 weeks?

The Flight Crew: Don't fret, early riser in Gaithersburg. Gary Lee, a big New Orleans groupie, here with a couple of thoughts. First of all, if you're a foodie you're probably better off hitting the well known Big Easy eateries (like Commander's Palace and Emeril's) at lunch time, as they tend to offer better bargains at midday. Here are a couple of other fun daytime pursuits I've enjoyed in New Orleans: 1) the aquarium, which has a wonderful IMAX cinema and lots of exotic species 2) a canoe and or swamp trip in the Bayou (Honey Island is the most interesting swamp to visit and lots of operators go there. 3) The Louisiana School of Cooking offers a four hour course in the basics of local cooking. It's an excellent deal and the chef/teacher is a laugh a minute. Any day in the city should start over beignets and coffee at the Cafe du Monde, which opens at the crack of dawn. Finally, if you like jazz, you'll miss out on the action at the big clubs, since it's mostly in the deep of night. But if you drop into the Louisiana Music Factory, which is located in the French quarter, there are often afternoon concerts by local artists.

Washington, DC: My wife and I are going to Hawaii for her 50th birthday. We've already cashed in miles and have the tickets. Any suggestions on what package deals for hotels-tours etc. might be out there even tho we've gotten the airfare part taken care of?
Also, any suggestions on small out of the way places to stay--my wife isn't a fan of big hotels?

The Flight Crew: Hi, Wash., and congrats to your wife on her upcoming b-day.

Getting to Hawaii is half (no, make that four-fifths) of the battle. As far as package deals go, since you've already gotten your air fare and would prefer to stay in "small out-of-the-way" places, I'm guessing that you'd be better off planning your own vacation--most of the packagers deal with the large hotel companies.

As for small out-of-the-way spots, a couple of us on this end of cyberspace would recommend Kaui--there's a real small-town feel to parts of the island, and there are numerous small hotels and B&Bs to pick from. Check with the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, 1-800-464-2924 or 808-923-1811, www.gohawaii.com. To avoid the mega-resorts on any of the idlands, consider renting a condo. They're plentiful and (relatively) inexpensive.

Washington DC: What is the best route to take to get to Greensboro NC?

The Flight Crew: Because I'm a wine fan, I like to go via Napa Valley. If you're in a hurry, I85 runs right through it.

Ashburn, va: I just gave my two thirteen year old sisters a birthday gift which I hope helps open them up to new experiences. I told each one that they have $500 to spend on an adventure. They must plan a trip for two (I am taking each one seperately since they never agree on anything) including airfare and hotel for $500. With all the new deals on the Internet along with last minute seasonal deals I figured that would possibly leave most of the US open as a choice. Would anyone out there like to give them a few suggestions? Maybe you all have heard of some deals (like 2 or 3 days trips) which are particularly inexpensive? Thanks in advance!

The Flight Crew: Hi, Ashburn, KC here. Wow, do your sisters know how good they have it?? I think I got a pair of socks for my birthday when I was 13. I'll throw your question out to the gang for suggestions, but first, one point -- with the exchange rate so favorable in Canada right now, you don't necessarily have to limit yourself to staying in the U.S.

Also, in addition to e-savers, and last-minute Internet sites like lastminutetravel.com and travelzoo.com, another good source to check for bargain packages is Frommer's Budget Travel mag -- it's full of good ideas and some genuine bargains.

Philly, PA: Re: Margarita -- I remember a while back there were a lot of letters about Margarita at the frommers.com website. They have a search feature, so if you search for Margarita you should find them.

The Flight Crew: Thanks, Philly. Our own Andrea Sachs just chimed in over the cubicle wall. Went to Margarita a decade ago and wasn't impressed. She used the word "bleak."

Washington, DC: My friend & I are interested in taking an extended weekend trip either over Thanksgiving or New Year's to somewhere warm & not too expensive. Thinking Carribean, but neither of us have ever been there. Your thoughts & ideas would be most appreciated. Also, is one holiday more affordable than the other? Only necessities: warm, sun, & hiking!

The Flight Crew: There are tons of deals to the Carribbean and Mexico for long weekend travelers, and many leave from BWI. First, you must decide what kind of island you are looking for, since they all have sun and warmth. One gauge is the Tourist Ruler: you want lots of Americans, then head to a Sandals-type resort in the Bahamas or Mexico, that's all-inclusive and serves copious amounts of coladas. Want more of a cultural exchange, head to Jamaica (Negril, in particular) and stay in a smaller hotel run by a local family (plus there's lots of hiking and mountain biking). Want absolutely no one, go to a remote island in the BVIs or West Indies. To winnow your options, start checking print ads for deals and look at Apple Vacation packages to see what's out there. Also, check out Islands Magazine or other Caribbean mags to see which island might be a good fit for two. However, be warned that prices will rise during the holiday periods.

Wash, DC: To the New Orleans early bird, when I was in Madrid, also a very late night city, I would nap from late afternoon, after a long day of sightseeing, sleep until about 7, go out for tapas, nap some more, and then head out around midnight. Despite the crazy schedule, I did not have trouble getting up early for sighseeing, you just break up your sleep schedule. It was a great time.

The Flight Crew: Much thanks DC from Gary for your early bird tips!

WASHINGTON DC: Chile or bust nut would love to thank "the crew" for the information provided as well as readers who so graciously wrote offering their input. This road trip to Chile can be an extraordinary adventure and I have decided to tackle it with as many resources as I can possibly gather. I have set up an email "chileorbust-usa.net" and would love to hear from the crew or readers with suggestions on obatining sponsors. I can climb trees, mountains, swim, run, take photograps, ride bycicles, eat coconuts and raw fish, canoe, and visit cultural sites which would all make for interesting video. Please help me and I will be forever grateful. Thanks again.

The Flight Crew: DC, Hendrix here. You're the adventurer planning the driving tour through the Andes, right? Best of luck and keep us posted. Perhaps CBS will sponsor you, if you promise to betray yourself during the trip, and then vote yourself off the show just before pulling into Santiago.

Arlington, VA: Cpt. Gary, you've NEVER driven a car? Wow. I have, although I hate it and I don't own one. If it's something I avoid at home at all costs, driving is normally the last thing I want to do when I'm on vacation. But a lot of times, the advice in this forum is of the flavor "to get to the Grand Canyon, fly to Tuscon and then rent a car" or great places to relax in West Virginia or on the Eastern Shore within a couple hours' drive. Great, but the thought of having to drive home doesn't exactly lead to relaxation. I've been just reading past answers that start like that, but now you've made me curious. If you don't drive, how do YOU deal with those sorts of situations? Or do you have family members for that?

The Flight Crew: Arlington: Not driving does require a certain resourcefulness. In all but a few cases (like Los Angeles or the rural western part of the US) I find that I am able to find public transportation to help me get around. When I really need a car, I rely on family, friends or the kindness of strangers. I have sometimes been put in zany situations -- like the time I was assigned to cover the LA riots and ended up doing so mostly by taxi.

Manassas, va.: The reason I have to use that travel agency is because I was given a %500. gift certicate and they don't seem to want to help. Also there is not an agency in my home town. Referring to Hawii Trip

The Flight Crew: can you apply the $500 for another trip, or maybe use it to extend your Hawaii trip, maybe go to another island for a couple of days? Or, can the travel agency you have the voucher with book your trip using United Vacations, so they get some kind of credit? (though the best deal is Internet only, you can still get a good price through an 1-800 agent).

Denver: Suggestion for the New Orleans early bird: go during the NO Jazz Festival, which is the last weekend of April & first weekend of May. You can hear great music from about 11 am on through the evening.

The Flight Crew: Thanks Denver from Gary. That's a great idea!

Laurel MD: Husband, wife, and two not medium dogs are looking for a resort/cabin within four hours or so from area for a few days over Thanksgiving weekend that will fit within the budget of two grad students. Any suggestions?

The Flight Crew: Hey, Laurel. The ol' resort/cabin-with-two-not-medium-dogs problem, eh? (This is JD.) I can't think of any resort offhand that would permit two big dogs in a room, and while I'm sure there are numerous cabins out there that allow dogs (clicksters: Help!), here's what I'd consider doing: Rent a house down the beach for that time period. Lots of houses or condos at various beach towns allow dogs, and that may be a prime time to get a great house at a reasonable price. I'm always partial to the Outer Banks (closer to five hours away than 4, unfortunately). And the dogs will love the surf.

Any other ideas floating out there?

for the Hawaii person: My mom is in Hawaii as we speak (she is 51) and I thought the Hawaii trekkers would appreciate some of the accomodations she searched so hard to find. The majority are budget-style B&Bs (my mom is an avid frommers fan) but all of them looked really good.

-Santa's By the Sea B&B -Oahu

-Outrigger Reef on the Beach - Waikiki

-Islander on the Beach - Kapaa-Kauai

-Carson's Volcano Cottage - Volcano-Hawaii 1.800.845.LAVA

The Flight Crew: Great work, FTHP! Thanks.

Stevens City, VA: I will be moving to England next month on rather short notice and need to get the lowest cost ONE-WAY ticket possible. Suggestions? Additionally, do trans-atlantic carriers allow you to check extra bags for a fee?

The Flight Crew: Greetings Stevens City from Gary. First of all, most transatlantic carriers do offer the option of checking extra bags for a fee. In my experience, the fee can be hefty, however, so you probably want to pack conservatively. We don't know of any one way deals to London so suggest that you get the cheapest possible round trip (like on Virgin Atlantic) and forgo the return half of the ticket. Alternatively, some of the consolidators feature one way fares so you might check them out.

A Pineapplehead in D.C.: This is for the guy taking his wife to Hawaii for her 50th birthday...

Having grown up in Hawaii, I still love the Hotel Hana on Maui (though they were under financial pressure when I moved here 2 years ago). A very tropical setting out in the middle of nowhere (if you've ever been to Hana, you know what I mean), yet pretty nice accommodations. Not necessarily cheap, but tranquil and romantic. Also recomment Kona Village Resort (if they still have their thached huts). Only looked like huts from the outside, inside well furnished and such, but WITHOUT TV and phones. A great getaway that's oceanside.

Aloha auinala (good afternoon)!

The Flight Crew: Great idea, and Aloha auinala to you too, Pineapplehead. Sounds like a couple of great alternatives.

Arlington, VA: For the person looking to get away during thanksgiving, check out the www.virginia.org site (places to stay, rentals/vacation homes) and also www.mountain-lodging.com. The Shenandoah Valley is overflowing with great cabins to rent, and the woods and river are great dog-romping grounds. Enjoy!

The Flight Crew: Sounds as if you could have just made two graduate students and two dogs very happy. Thanks, Arl.

Washington DC: I would like to plan an overseas trip during the Thanksgiving break. Any recommended cities one can visit (1) cheaply and (2) quickly around this time?

The Flight Crew: DC, Hendrix here. Think Yucatan Peninsula. Now personally, I don't recommend Cancun itself for even a brief visit, unless you don’t mind the resort equivalent of strip-mall, sprawl development. But with so many special fares to Cancun, it IS a cheap to get yourself to one of the loveliest coastlines in the Americas (I once flew down there on a chartered UPS cargo plane). Once you land, simply bypass Cancun and head to the charming towns and islands to the south: Akumal, Cozumel and others. Good snorkling there, underground river swimming, small private hotels, Mayan ruins. This is the favorite destination of a LOT of smart travelers.

Sterling, VA: I'm trying to start planning a honeymoon and we want to find a B&B with private cabins and kitchenette somewhere in Virginia. Do you have any recommendations for places to start looking? Is there a central guide that lists B&Bs in Virginia?


The Flight Crew: Hi Sterling, KC here. I stayed in a wonderful B&B in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains a couple of months ago called Buckskin Manor, secluded and lovely, with a separate cottage and kitchenette -- we've recommended it so much we should be getting a kickback. Beautiful mountain views, wineries and hiking and horseback riding and Harper's Ferry nearby. www.buckskinmanor.com.

But look around, too. The Virginia tourism office has a great B&B referral service -- not sure if they'll make reservations (they used to), but they'll happily match you up with whatever you need. Virginia Tourism Corporation, 1-800-847-4882, www.virginia.org, or stop by their office in downtown DC, 1629 K St. NW, 202-872-0523.

L and 20th: Hi! I should be working and am thinking about taking a vacation instead...

I have been searching for an off-season, budget package to Belgium but have only found a go-today.com fly-and-drive, which doesn't make sense since all I want to do is get to Bruges, curl up by a fire with my husband and drink beer and eat chocolate for a week. Any suggestions?

The Flight Crew: Hey there neighbor at L and 20th. Gary Lee here with two thoughts. You might check with Air France vacations, which tends to lower their rates for package holidays after October 1 to Belgium and other places in Europe. Or why not call the Belgian Tourist Office at 212-758-8130 or check out their web page at www.visitbelgium.com. Have fun with that beer and chocolate. It's wonderful!

Mt. Rainier: Wow, Gary, I'm impressed! I thought I was the only person in this area who would admit she doesn't drive - and you have really gotten around! I feel less handicapped already.

The Flight Crew: Thanks Mt. Rainier. I figure the world is a bit safer without me behind the wheel.

Arlington: By the way- Cafe du Monde is a 24 hour place- it & the rest of the French Quarter are equally as interesting, but in a different way at 5 am as at midnight.

The Flight Crew: Thanks Arlington, as an early to rise person I appreciate that suggestion on seeing the Big Easy at daybreak.

Washington, DC: Significant Other lives in Chicago. Won't fly but will take train or drive. I live in DC. I don't drive, but I will fly, take the train, or be driven. We want to take a one week vacation together between Sept 15 and Oct 12, ideally in a national park (US or Canada) or a rural resort-type setting. We'd prefer minimal travel time (however we travel) and that the burden of traveling be equally shared if we have to travel separately to/from the vacation destination (ie. no 3 hour train ride for me vs 12 hour for him). Any suggestions? Helllllp! Thanks!!

The Flight Crew: Wow, that's a stumper. Unfortunately, you not in National Park territory, unless you count rows of corn as one of America's natural wonders. The best we could think of was a pretty cabin along the Great Lakes, perhaps Erie. Or maybe a week of hiking and hot chocolate in the Catskills; you can meet in New York City and drive up. If you really want equality of travel, i'd say look for something in Ohio or Penn--what matters is that you are together, right, even if your togetherness is in Todelo or Wilkes-Barres.

Arlington, VA: I had a friend that went to Margarita Island and although the resort area was okay she was rather nervous about the bomb-sniffing dogs at the airport and she said for one week straight they passed a dead horse carcass on the side of the road en route to the resort!! Guess they don't have city workers to take care of this!! She just did not care for the place. Just a fair warning!!!

The Flight Crew: Arlington, Hendrix here. Well, Venezuela has been suffeing some political unrest under President Chavez...travelers there should keep themselves up to date on the situation, but to date the State Department hasn't issued any dire warnings. As for the horses, oil money or not, Venezuela is still a developing country and visitors from the wealthy North should be ready to find that things aren't always done with lightening effciency.

herndon va: We are going to Maine( Bar Harbor) for a vacation. Can we take the ferry to Nova Scotia? Also, what is the best way to go around New York. We will be leaving wednesday about 6 AM.

The Flight Crew: Hi, Hern. You can indeed take a catamaran from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia...it leaves once or twice a day and runs June 1-Oct. 22. One-way fares start at $45 adults, $20 kids. Cars are $70 one way. Info: 888-249-7245.

As for the best way around NYC...clicksters?

Alexandria, VA: I'm celebrating a significant birthday between Christmas and New Years and decided Key West would be a nice warm place to go. A specific question would be, I'd like to go to a very nice restaurant for the big day...got any suggestions. Also would appreciate any tips for things do do. I'd like to snorkle for sure.


The Flight Crew: Dear Alexandria from Gary. I don't know the best eating places in Key West, just the hamburger joints. But for a really fine dining experience, you may consider driving up to Little Palm Island. It's an hour or so drive from Key West but offers one of the most refined dining experiences in the state of Florida. If you don't stay overnight in the overpriced Little Palm Island resort, dinner for two will run about $120-$150.

herndon, va: Best wishes to "Chile or Bust," but if s/he is planning on driving through practically anywhere in rural Colombia - then be sure the will is is good order, it will make it much easier for the surviving relatives and friends.

The Flight Crew: It's a good point, Herndon. The news from Colombia continues bleak, and there is no land route from Panama to Ecuador and points south that doesn't pass through this troubled country. Keep yourself well informed, DC.

Reston, Va.: I like to take my pillow, how about if you want to take it on the plane, is it a problem on domestic and international flights.

The Flight Crew: Hi Reston, KC here. No it's not a problem, but do you really want to use up your valuable carryon space with a pillow? Check out one of the new small, allegedly compressable travel pillows from stores like Brookstone. Or try out the Dreamhelmet, a sort of pillow-cum-blindfold that's sold over the Internet (www.dreamhelmet.com) for about $25 -- it looks really goofy, but it's small, it's soft and it really works, I'm here to tell ya.

Philly, PA: Hi!
My husband and I are considering going to Santiago, Chile for a friend's wedding over Thanksgiving. It appears that they have a pretty good rate at a hotel (less than $100 per night), but the airfares seem to be $500 to $1000 or more. Do you know of any fares that are really cheap or really good deals to Chile around that time?

The Flight Crew: Philly, with Our Fare Lady Carol Sottili unable to join us, we're all scratching our heads over cheap flights to Chili for November. (We have a DC reader planning a driving trip down, if you've noticed. Maybe you share gas expenses).

Laurel MD: Thanks to everyone for advice on Thanksgiving/two dogs/cheap retreat. VA, MD, and WVA state parks/cabins won't allow pets. Most houses in Ocean City want over $500 for just two to three days during that time period. Appreciate the info and will keep looking. thanks...

The Flight Crew: Hmmmmm....One thing you may want to do is wait till closer to the holiday to see if anyone will budge on their prices. And we still have 10 minutes to see if we get more help for you!

Washingtonpost.com: for Key-West bound: Try Alice on Duval's for more upscale, funky experience; Soul Caribe for good and cheap and lots of luvin'. And then there's Blue Heaven for breakfast.

The Flight Crew: Thanks from Gary for that tip. It sounds much convenient than Little Palm Island.

Takoma Park MD: For moving to London on short notice: can you ship some of your stuff via DHL or other carrier? That might be cheaper & more convenient than bringing it with you.

The Flight Crew: Sorry, can't say i know much about DHL, though another reader recommended overseas postal service in US and government postal office in England. though again i have to plead ignorance. I would think the cheapest way--though slowest--is by boat. Or maybe cargo on an airline.
Perhaps some heavy-luggage travelers who can't leave home without the kitchen sink have some ideas....

Native NJ-an: No good way to get around NYC. The only way I can think of off the top of my head would take the clickster up the NY Thruway and over to New England but that's taking the very-long-but-scenic route. By the time they get to NY on wednesday, they shouldn't have much of a problem getting through IF they get thru the NYC area by 2pm or 3 at the latest.

The Flight Crew: We were waiting for you, NNJ! So, here we go...

Harrisonburg, VA: To Herndon traveler headed to Maine:

Take I-81 N instead of I-95 and you'll have fewer headaches.

The Flight Crew: Thanks, Harrisonburg....

TO Herndon VA: Best way to avoid NYC is to cross the Hudson at the Tappan Zee bridge then into Conn and up through Hartford to the Mass Pike and then up 128 (outer loop around Boston also called I-95) straight through to Maine. Love it up there...Envy you...Have a great time...

The Flight Crew: And thanks to you, Herndon....

Dupont but originially from CT: Speaking as one who drives to Fairfield County CT and tries to avoid NY, here's the skinny on getting around NY on the way to maine. Take the Jersey Turnpike and stay on almost until the George Washington Bridge. At that point, take the left exit to the Palisades Parkway. You will go up to a light, go left, and then go through 2 lights and bear right on the Palisades. Follow to the Tappan Zee Bridge which dumps you on 287. Follow 287 a couple of miles to 684 to Brewster. Take 684 to 84 E and just keep going till you get to the Mass Pike to 495N to 95 again- This should be faster and easier than dealing with NY and Boston messes.

The Flight Crew: And thanks to you, Dupont, for filling in some of the blanks. (Next time, could you be a little more detailed, please?!)

Alexandria, VA: For the cabin w/2 dog hopefuls - Neighbors go to Sandbridge near Virginia Beach, I think. I don't know if it is a resort w/cabins, or a state park w/cabins, but I do know that they brought their 2 big black labs with them.

The Flight Crew: That's a good starting point. Thanks, Al.

Springfield, VA: For the person who wants to travel with dogs... If you haven't tried it yet, check out http://www.travelpets.com/ for a list of places that allow pets!

The Flight Crew: Thanks for that pet tip, Springfield!

Cottage City MD: Does any of the Flight Crew have experience with Uganda? An acquaintance has invited me to come to Kampala and I'm wondering what kind of accommodations and expense would be involved. And of course what to see.

The Flight Crew: Cottage City, Hendrix here. Love the cheese from area, by the way. We here mixed things about Uganda. I knew people who been recently for the gorilla viewing and they had no problems. But there are reports of violence in the remote areas. The State Deparment's last advisory is from Sept.'99, and it warns US citizens against political attacks in some areas. See http://travel.state.gov/uganda.html for the specifics.

Arlington: Help! I am trying to plan a trip for 8 family members to Iceland, during the second week of April. All of the tours I've found on the internet seem to be rather expensive and on horseback! Has anyone out there spent 5 to 7 days in Iceland and done the planning yourself? I would be willing to buy a guidebook and just wing it, but don't know which would be best. Thanks!

The Flight Crew: Arl, what kind of Web sites have you been checking? KC here. You should be coming up with lots more than horseback tours. Did you try www.icelandair.com? It seems to be down at the moment but it should be a good source for packages. Have any clicksters planned a trip there yourselves and want to weigh in? (Quick, like in about two minutes?)

germantown, MD: For Laurel: There is a book (can't think of the name at the moment) about vacationing w/ your pets. It lists loads of pet friendly resorts/hotels/motels, etc. Should be able to come across it doing a search on your browser.

The Flight Crew: Good idea, Germ...I've had a book called "Vacationing With Your Pet," by Eileen Barish, sitting on my desk all this time. Duh. It's packed with ideas. Also, the Post's own Don Oldenburg, a writer in the Style section, wrote a book with his wife, Ann, several years ago called "The Washington,D.C.-Baltimore Dog Companion's Book." It's published by Foghorn Press.

Chevy Chase: I was also in Margarita 10 years ago and found it very bleak ... I hope it has changed by now, but I wouldn't go back. Driving can be horrendous and the biggest car seems to have the right-of-way. There are few stop signs and fewer lights. I had 2 different rental cars and they both died!

The Flight Crew: An emerging concessus...thumbs down on Margarita Island.

DC: I just shipped some things to England, as I am moving there as well, and I did A LOT of research. There are no bargains...to send 35 pounds via U.S. postal service regular (4-6 week) delivery it costs $90. To take an additional bag or in excess of 70 pounds in one of the allotted two pieces with any of the airlines the fee is between $90 and $210! The best advice is to become a minimalist.

The Flight Crew: We hear you, DC, thanks.

germantown, MD: Hi there,
My husband and I are leaving for a week long stay on Martha's Vineyard Friday morning. We were wondering what restaurants to try and anything else "not to be missed." Thanks!

The Flight Crew: There is so much to do on the Vineyard, it's best to check the island's Web site for upcoming events and other perennial favorites. Besides beaches, there are old whaling homes you can visit, the pastel cottage (perhaps youll be there for Illumination Night), antiques shopping, live music at Carly Simon's club, biking, vineyards, fishing, etc etc. As for restaurants, there are so many choices you are hard-pressed to go wrong. Just make sure you have oysters, and that you stop by the Black Dog, just to get it out of your system.

Arlington, VA: Moving here from the UK, crammed everything possible and that I had to have immediately into the normal airline luggage alotment and took it on the plane. The rest went by boat and took a bit over a month. Make sure to send your books separately, as you can usually get a special rate for them. I imagine things work similarly going the other way.

The Flight Crew: More on shipping to U.K. -- thanks, Arl.

Arlington, VA: For Reston:

I took a regular feather pillow with me in my carry on when I went to Australia last month and recommend it highly. You can make the pillow really compact; it doesn't weigh anything; and I was actually able to be (semi-) comfortable in a coach seat. It was the most valuable personal item I had with me, in my opinion.

The Flight Crew: Hmm, maybe we should rethink our strategy. Thanks, Arl.

WDC: Re: Outer Banks and dogs - I was just considering renting a place for a week in the spring in the Outer Banks to take my dog on vacation but I was wondering if dogs are allowed on the beach? Do you know if there are seasonal rules or if they are always allowed? Thanks!

The Flight Crew: I'm pretty sure that dogs are allowed on the beach all the time when the summer season ends; during peak season, you have to wait till the evening to bring Fido for a beach walk. And one more book, Laurel: Traveling With YOur Pet, by AAA. If you belong to the AAA, give them a ring; my copy says it costs 12 bucks.

Richmond, VA: For the dog folks...
Try looking in "On the Road Again with Man's Best Friend". I think it is a Frommer's publication, but I am not sure. The listings included motels, inns, b&b's, cabins, hotels. They have several editions.

Good Luck

The Flight Crew: Thanks, Rich. If Laurel can't find someplace by now, it's not our fault.

Washington, DC: Graves Mountain Resort in VA has? (had) certain rooms and cabins where they allowed pets (large dogs definitely). The area's lovely, the food is good, but they don't put much $$$ into the amenities. The cabin I stayed in several times that allowed dogs had furniture that was pretty bare bones (no pun intended) and little maintenance was done year to year. For this, it was not cheap, but DID allow not small pets.

The Flight Crew: Right under the wire, DC!

DC, again.: To the Chile in November person-
GO GO GO. Chile is gorgeous in November and Chilean weddings are very fun. Take a few extra days, though, b/c the flight is 10 hours. There is tons to see and do in the Santiago vicinity. Look at consolidators for cheap flights, although the best you'll do is probably around $600 apiece.

The Flight Crew: Thanks, DC.

The Flight Crew: From acting captain Gary Lee and all of us here in the pilot's cabin, thanks for joining us. A special thanks to those who offered their own tips on New Orleans, traveling with pets and other questions. We will take a Labor Day vacation next Monday. Please join us for our next session on Monday, September 11 at 2. Have a good two weeks break!

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