Trip Coach: Feb. 14, 2006
Budget Travel Editors answered your questions
Budget Travel Editors: Thanks for joining us this week. Let's get to your questions!
Savannah, Georgia: I love to travel, and the journey is more important than the destination. Since I travel alone and dont like the idea of sharing with strangers, I would like to know if there are companies that have travel packages WITHOUT A SINGLE SUPPLEMENT. Thank you.
Budget Travel Editors: There are a number of companies that cater directly to single travelers and most enable you to avoid paying a single supplement by pairing you with another same-sex single traveler who you'll be sharing a room with. If you don't mind meeting new people--and sharing your space with them--then it's a great way to keep costs low while exploring the world on your own. All Singles Travel (800/717-3231, allsinglestravel.com) has been in business for 10 years and caters specifically to the solo traveler. Most of their passengers range in age from their 30's through their 50's and the company also offers trips for Jewish, Christian, and senior singles. O Solo Mio (800/959-8568, osolomio.com) also specializes in singles travel and is currently offering thirteen trips in 2006 including trips to Fiji, Italy, and China. Travelers are mostly women, nearly all in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. And singles travel club Travel Buddies (800/998-9099, travelbuddies.com) organizes trips for small groups of singles to adventurous and/or exotic places, including cruises and weekend getaways.
Silver Cliff, CO: We would like to travel around the world spending about a month each in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, South America, and Central America. We would like to leave from San Diego next October and be back about 6 to 9 months later. Is there a way to purchase airline tickets with very flexible itineries and what airline(s) would be best for this type of extended trip? Thanks for your advice.
Budget Travel Editors: You'll get the best deal on a round-the-world airline ticket from a specialist like Airtreks (877/247-8735, airtreks.com) or Air Brokers International (800/883-3272, airbrokers.com). The tickets are valid for one year from purchase -- which means that if you're planning a long trip, wait pull the trigger until a month or two before you leave. They're also valid for travel in only one direction, so plot carefully. If you want more flexibility to go wherever the wind takes you, consider buying tickets for your first segment ahead of time (say, Denver to Sydney) and then booking the rest as you go along.
Gayle Forman traveled around the world for a year with her husband and wrote an excellent book about their journey: You Can't Get There From Here. She shared some of her best travel tips with Budget Travel in the March issue and contributed to a live chat. Anything not covered there is probably on her website gayleforman.com. It's chock-full of useful information on everything from airline tickets to visas to money.
Phoenix, Arizona: Hi; We are traveling to Hong Kong for the first time with our 3 young adult children. What are the best things to see and do in Hong Kong? We leave the U.S. on April 5th arriving in the morning of April 7th in Hong Kong and return the afternoon of April 15th. Should we avoid poultry products while over there? What other areas of the Hong Kong district should be see? Are there any things to make sure we do or don't do? Any information you can give is greatly appreciated. It is our first trip into Asia and our sons first trip out of N. America. We have a 2 hour lay-over in Taipai on the trip flight both ways.
Thanks much, Vicki
Budget Travel Editors: Lucky you! April is a terrific time to visit Hong Kong. The pace is always dazzlingly frantic, but you'll bypass much of the summer's onset of tourists and the oppressive humidity. There are no current State Department warnings for travel to H.K., and eating poultry products should be fine provided they are well-cooked and from a clean kitchen (avoid dubious street food!).
The city is famous for its shopping--both bargains in crowded lane markets and impeccably tailored high-end goods in state-of-the-art, airy malls. Pacific Place even has the shops arrayed in a loosely hierarchical order: top designers on the top floors. Make a post-dinner trip to the unique Temple Street night market, and hop the bus for a rickety and scenic 45-minute ride to the markets at outlying Stanley Village, where you can find inexpensive Chinese trinkets and souvenirs as well as a beach. In fact, Hong Kong is made up of various islands, including Tai O, a cluster of wooden houses on stilts, and Lantau, crowned by a giant bronze Buddha statue atop a mountain at the Po Lin Monastery. (You can read more about the city's sleepy islands in Hong Kong Chills Out.) It's a short, spectacular ride on Star Ferry from Hong Kong Island across Victoria Harbour to Kowloon, where you can take tea in the soaring lobby of the Peninsula Hotel, complete with palm fronds, classical columns and gilt touches.