Trip Coach: March 14, 2006
Budget Travel Editors answered your questions
Budget Travel Editors: Thanks for joining us this week. Let's get to your questions!
Teaneck, NJ: My nephew in Montreal is getting married August 12 and is interested in an inexpensive honeymoon. He and his fiancee are really into outdoor activities i.e. hiking, canoeing, etc. Also interested in a cruise to Alaska. Any suggestions? Thank you, Marcella
Budget Travel Editors: A cruise to Alaska seems like an excellent fit for your outdoor-minded nephew and his soon-to-be bride. Once the hot destination for more sedentary, time-rich seniors, the 49th state now hosts dozens of cruises that stop in several ports and offer great outdoor excursions: hiking, bear-watching, biking, kayaking, dog-sledding, helicopter tours, etc. For the most economical option, forego pre-/post-cruise tour choices and stick with a basic week-long trip (from about $850, most excursions cost extra). The top three lines sailing the Alaskan coast -- Princess (800/774-6237, princess.com), Holland America (877/724-5425, hollandamerica.com), and Royal Caribbean (866/562-7625, royalcaribbean.com) -- all have a myriad of itineraries for this summer and dock in the big name ports of Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway as well as some smaller towns. An Alaska cruise would offer a healthy mix of active adventure and one-on-one indulging via food, drink, spa treatments, and, well, you know...
New York, NY: Thinking of going to Sicily in mid-April. Is it still too cold to enjoy a trip there at that time of year ?
Budget Travel Editors: In April, Sicily will likely be too cold for swimming and lolling about in bathing suits, but perfect for sightseeing and leisurely outdoor lunches. Temperatures average 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, with about two inches of rain. You'll avoid the summer's oppressive humidity and spike in tourists, and will get to witness wild flowers bursting into bloom and the traditional processions and festivities around Easter (April 16).
Merritt Island, FL: I will be traveling with my husband and 3 couples down the Danube ending in Vienna on June 6, to 8 June, 2006. We need a hotel in center town, walking distance to everything. Friends are 55 to 70 and do not want loud night life close by. We are looking for quiet, comfortable rooms w/bathroom in $90-100 range. Do you have any suggestions?
Budget Travel Editors: Finding a central hotel in Vienna under $100 a night is a tall order, especially with the current strength of the euro against the dollar. Here are some properties that make the cut--or at least come close. Near St. Stephen's Cathedral and Hofburg Palace in the 1st district, Pension Neuer Markt faces a beautiful square that hosts Vienna's lively outdoor food market. Be sure to request one of its 37 rooms overlooking the quiet courtyard or Seilergasse; doubles from 75 euros ($90), including breakfast. The family-run Hotel-Pension Suzanne is located on a quiet side street off the main thoroughfare Kartnerstrasse and near the State Opera House; doubles start at 96 euros ($115), including breakfast. Further afield in the quaint residential neighborhood of Josefstadt (close to public transportation), the Hotel Zipser has modern brown-and-cream double rooms from 79 euros ($94), including breakfast. Some rooms come with balconies. A bit more expensive, the Pension Nossek is a perennial favorite sitting smack in the midst of the pedestrian-only, shop-lined Graben. You'd be hard pressed to find a more central location, but it can become noisy at night. Rates start at 110 euros ($132), including breakfast.
Fort Myers, FL: We are going on a 10 day Greek Island trip: 3 nights in Santorini, 3 nights in Mykonos and two nights in Athens from April 3-13. What temperature ranges can we expect while there so we know what to pack? Thank you for your help.
Budget Travel Editors: April is a lovely time to visit the Greek Islands. The November-through-March colder rainy season is over, the mercury starts creeping up the thermometer (averaging in the 60s), and the wildflowers begin to bloom. A light coat, windbreaker, or heavier sweater mixed in with short sleeves and long pants should be suitable for dealing with any dipping evening temperatures (low 50s). Of course, if you want to keep your bags light, pack for fairer weather and just pick up an inexpensive sweater there if you face an unexpected cold snap.