Trip Coach: Jan. 3, 2006
Budget Travel Editors: Happy new year! Let's get to your questions...
Bettendorf, IA: I am a single parent and will be traveling to the United Kingdom with my two sons in March. I've heard horror stories about single parents being delayed or even not being allowed to travel overseas with their children due to potential problems with custody and kidnapping, etc. What can I do to prevent any problems from occurring?
Budget Travel Editors: Any single adult-mother, father, aunt-who travels abroad with a minor child could need additional documentation beyond a passport and visa for that child. Just what kind of documentation (a notarized letter from the other parent, a copy of the custody agreement, etc.) depends on the country they're visiting and how they're getting there (plane, car, cruise ship). I'm not aware of any special requirements for parents visiting the U.K., but before leaving home I'd double-check with both the British consulate and your airline, which could have regulations of its own. For more information on traveling as a single parent, visit singleparenttravel.net.
Minneapolis, MN: My fiancee and I are getting married right out of college and money is very tight. Any tips for a $1000 1 week honeymoon leaving from spokane?
Budget Travel Editors: Congratulations! Planning a honeymoon can be very stressful; I can't imagine studying for finals at the same time! It's tough to recommend specific destinations, since you didn't include the dates you're willing to travel, so here are some general suggestions.
Southwest Airlines offers vacation packages from Spokane, including air-hotel and cruise packages. Search for flights departing mid-week when prices are usually lower. Southwest's 'DING!' software will alert you to low fares leaving from Spokane, WA. Download it at southwest.com.
Alaska Airlines also offers some good package deals from Spokane. Recent Internet-only specials include specials to Las Vegas, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan. Check out their current promotions at alaskaair.com.
Also, have you considered vacation packages to Canada? Montreal, Toronto, and nearby Vancouver are all wonderful, cosmopolitan cities, full of European charm without the jetlag and unfavorable exchange rate. While Canada's exchange rate have been increasingly less favorable to Americans, ($1.16 to the U.S. dollar, as of Friday), prices are still quite reasonable. For example, check out a recent Real Deal to Niagara Falls from $329 per person.
And, of course, we recommend bookmarking our Real Deals page and signing up for our e-mail newsletter, so you don't miss any deals.
Orlando, Florida: Greetings,
I'm looking for a reasonably priced escorted tour to Australia in June 2006 for two of us. Any suggestions of some good tour operators for this trip?
Budget Travel Editors: For escorted tours, try Newmans South Pacific Vacations (newmansvacations.com), Pacific Delight Tours (pacificdelighttours.com), Swain Tours (swaintours.com), Goway.com (goway.com), and ATS Tours (atstours.com). If you'll consider a trip that's not fully escorted, check out Monograms, part of the well-known Globus group (monogramstravel.com). You'll be able to customize your itinerary with optional tours and excursions and spend as much time as you like on your own. But you'll also have some of the security of a group tour: There's a local "host" in each city who will greet you at the hotel, offer an informational briefing upon arrival, lead optional group tours, and make him or herself available each morning for sightseeing advice and restaurant recommendations. In short, a happy medium between an independent and escorted tour.
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