Trip Coach: July 26, 2005
Budget Travel Editors: Welcome to this week's Trip Coach. Let's get started...
Bartlesville, OK: My husband is in a wheelchair. He has to travel in it because it must lean back. Air travel is impossible because he must remain in his chair with the seat at a 45-degree angle. Rooms are reported to be quite small on cruises and he would have to have the chair in the room to get to the bathroom, etc. Of course, we need the budget priced tours. Do you have any suggestions for us.
Budget Travel Editors: Here's an article from our archives on accessible travel:
"For Travelers with Disabilities" contains resources and information for booking accessible vacations. Also, "It's Time to Get Off the Sidelines" contains information for mobility-impaired travelers who are interested in outdoor vacations
San Luis Obispo, CA: I'd like to travel over the Christmas holiday but am having a hard time picking a place to go, perhaps a chilly Germany/Europe or a warm Argentina, who knows? Can you give a good Christmas escape idea that also won't break the fragile bank?
Budget Travel Editors: If money's an issue, go for Europe. Airfare to South America will be ridiculously expensive around Christmas, in part because of all the South Americans heading home for the holidays (combined with not all that many flights to choose from). Airfare to Europe can also be expensive around Christmas, but over the past few years several tour operators have been selling air/hotel packages to European cities (London, Rome, Paris, Munich, and more) for specific dates around Christmas and New Year's. The prices are usually pretty good--starting at under $800 for airfare from the East Coast and 5 or 6 nights hotel. You'd pay more than that just for airfare to Argentina. Companies such as gate1travel.com and go-today.com should be announcing their special Christmas and New Year's packages starting around September or May.
New York, NY: I have been trying to locate a direct (or as direct as possible) flight from New York or Newark to Dubrovnik but have had no luck. What I have found takes me through Europe for a transfer and is very expensive. Are there are inexpensive flights (direct or otherwise) from New York or Newark to Dubrovnik for Fall departures? I could fly as late as November.Thanks.
Budget Travel Editors: Forget about taking a major carrier all the way to Croatia. A quick search on Orbitz shows that the big carriers--United, Continental, Delta, etc--all have flights topping $1,300 that stop either in Vienna or Frankfurt. The better way to go here is to fly to Vienna on one of the majors and then catch a low fare flight to Dubrovnik. Many new low-fare carriers like SkyEurope have insanely low prices on intra-Europe flights. For example, SkyEurope has flights from Vienna to Dubrovnik for as low as 9 Euros, or $11. Over the next month, keep an eye on consolidators like Orbitz and Kayak to score a cheap flight to Vienna, and then search engines for the low-fare carriers (whichbudget.com, openjet.com, applefares.com, wegoigo.com) to catch a cheap connection.
Santa Fe, NM: What are the most reasonable travel insurance policies for a 50-day trip to Europe? Who would you recommend? Thanks.
Budget Travel Editors: Here is our guide to travel insurance: Travel Insurance: When do you need to buy it, and what are the best sources?
Centerport, NY: What credit card gives the best rate for purchases in Europe and what bank's ATM card imposes the lowest transaction percentages on withdrawals?
Budget Travel Editors: Until recently, MBNA and Capital One were the only two banks that did not charge additional fees on purchases made abroad. But due to a recent policy change by MBNA--the bank now adds a three percent fee to transactions involving foreign currency--Capital One is the only bank that does not charge fees on foreign transactions. You can sign up for a Capital One card by visiting CapitalOne.com.