Trip Coach: September 27, 2005

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Budget Travel editors answer your questions

Budget Travel Editors: Welcome to this week's Trip Coach. We'll be answering your questions all afternoon.

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Murrysvile, PA: We are planning a trip to England in July 2006.
We would like to treat our 10 year old granddaughter to an overnight stay at a castle or palace but we have been unable to locate such a facility.

Do you have any suggestions for locating this type of accommodation?

Thank you.

Budget Travel Editors: We recently covered this topic in Budget Travel magazine. Here's how you can stay in nine historic British homes.

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Miami, Florida: If anyone can answer this question, it'll be you folks. My sweetheart, (of 11yrs) & I are getting married in 3 1/2 months. Although own guests' prescence will be presents enough,for us, we've been told that a 'registry' makes gift giving easier for some. Being a rather 'bohemian' couple. whom have accumulated enough kitchen stuff & linens, but who LOVE TO TRAVEL,...we seek your help. Is there such a site, where friends could buy 'air-miles' for wedding couples? I've read vague references in wedding books about donating miles, but that seems rather awkward for us. We were just wondering if you knew of the most gracious, practical & convenient way of approaching this idea.
Your response is appreciated.
Thankfully,
Bette & Vince

Budget Travel Editors: I'm not sure about donating or gifting miles (and given how hard it can be to redeem them, it's probably not worth the hassle anyway), but a lot of airlines offer gift certificates redeemable for flights . . . If there's an airline you fly regularly that's definitely worth looking into. Honeymoon registries like thebigday.com and thehoneymoon.com are a relatively recent phenomenon and can be useful if you have a particular trip in mind. Even if you've booked the trip already, you can ask your guests to add on extras like tours, spa days, and special meals.

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Gonzales Louisiana: Going to Lake Tahoe in December...what do I need to bring. Staying a time share. What are the best things to do. besides sking, which I do not know how do do.??

Budget Travel Editors: There's plenty to do in Tahoe if you don't ski, though it's also a great place to learn if you feel like giving it a whirl. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dogsledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, sleigh rides are some of the outdoor activities on offer. Casinos, shops, and day spas are all available, too. It all depends on what appeals to you and where your time share is. (The east shore is part of Nevada; the west shore belongs to California.) Try these websites for general information: skilaketahoe.com, bluelaketahoe.com, and visitrenotahoe.com. Here are five things not to miss:
* Cross-country skiing at Royal Gorge, the largest groomed track system in the U.S. (royalgorge.com)
* Meeting the locals at 1/2 price fish taco night on Wednesdays at Sunnyside Restaurant in Tahoe City (sunnysidetahoe.com)
* Exploring the Village at Squaw: make a few candles at Waxen Moon then head to Mamasake Sushi for lunch (thevillageatsquaw.com)
* Riding the Heavenly gondola for spectacular views of the lake (skiheavenly.com)
* Splurging on dinner at Dragonfly in Truckee (dragonflycuisine.com)

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los angeles, ca: I am trying to plan a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina for January of 2006. I would like to stay for about two weeks, but so far I have not been able to find any accomidations other than large hotels. Are there other types of accomidations available (such as hostels, b&b's, parada's or pensiones?) I am on a somewhat limited budget.

Budget Travel Editors: Lucky you! Buenos Aires is still very much a bargain for U.S. travelers and you can find hotel doubles for as low as $20-25 per night. In that price range, try the modern and centrally located Hotel Ibis facing out onto Plaza Congreso and a 10-minute walk from Plaza de Mayo and the Casa Rosada. Alternatively, Lulu Guest House will place you in the hip shopping and nightlife zone Palermo Viejo, while Hotel Lion D'Or situates you in the stately, more residential neighborhood of Recoleta, famed for its cemetery--the resting spot of Evita. Hostels like Milhouse Youth Hostel or St. Nicholas Hostel run between $7-10/night per person, so depending on how large your group is, it may end up being cheaper to stay in one of the aforementioned hotels. Since you'll be in town for two weeks, you might want to opt for the added space and privacy of an apartment rental. Alojargentina has one-bedroom rentals from $250 per week. For a comparative splurge of $80 per night, you can stay in a converted townhouse in Palermo, BoBo Hotel, with seven art-themed rooms, free Wi-Fi access and breakfast. For more tips on where to stay, eat, shop and play, check back in a few weeks and download our forthcoming, free Buenos Aires Snap Guide.

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Hilo, Hawaii: Can you offer advise on entertainment for Sydney, Australia for the week Dec. 25, 2005 ending Jan.01, 2006? I have the guides, but am having trouble finding out what is happening locally to celebrate the holidays, i.e. fireworks viewing, shows, concerts, etc. We do not want to miss anything! We(2 adults) are flying on Hawiian Air Flight #451 out of Honolulu and returning on Flight #452. Mahalo, Michael Hoskins

Budget Travel Editors: Sure, here's a quick overview of some of Sydney's flashiest holiday events. The Christmas parade marches early this year (Dec. 4th), but you'll be able to catch an annual Boxing Day ritual on the 26th: the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Be sure to arrive at Sydney Harbour well before the gun goes off at noon. As for New Year's, plans are already in the works for the annual explosion of 80,000 stunning fireworks above the harbor. Gather alongside the water or hop aboard a Rhythm Boat for a six-hour harbor cruise complete with a five-course seafood banquet, live music, and a whopping price tag of $299 per person. Nearby, the iconic Sydney Opera House is hosting a gala performance focused on Viennese waltz and opera (The Gypsy Princess, The Merry Widow, Fledermaus) led by Maestro Richard Bonynge. Tickets start at $120 and there are add-ons for a pre-gala dinner and/or a post-gala bash. The Sydney Theatre Company is presenting Anton Chekov's The Cherry Orchard through Jan. 22nd. For more major and smaller-scale events, check sites like whatsoninsydney.com and sydney.citysearch.com.au as it gets closer to your trip. And, of course, don't forget to look out for our upcoming, free Sydney Snap Guide!

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Blue Point New York: I know this is short notice, but my friend and I are leaving for Paris on October 8 from JFK. We are both in our late 40's. We will have five nights in Paris, leaving Paris on October 14. Any suggestions at this late date would be greatly appreciated. We are both on a tight budget. Thank you

Budget Travel Editors: October is a beautiful time to visit Paris. The good news about Paris is that it has a good number of affordable hotels that also have oodles charm. Since we don't know which neighborhood you'd prefer to be in, we recommend perusing the 'Sleep' section of our brand new Paris Snap Guide. You'll find unique hotels under $150/night (and in some cases much less) in Montmartre, Montparnasse, near the Louvre, etc. Just follow this link, and download the guide. Bonne chance!

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Honolulu, Hawaii: I arrive to JFK on the 10/20 and will drive to Pennsylvania and stay till the 22nd. From the 22nd to the 27th I'll be back in New York City. I have been seaching the internet and your magazines for sample itineraries and possible tour companies to use but I am overwhelmed. You hear about the scams and how dangerous it is in the big city so I need help as to what to do. I want to see the major attractions, eat great food, shop for bargains and see some shows. I have lodgings in Harrisburg and mid-town respectively. Please help - I'm on a budget and don't know where to begin.

Budget Travel Editors: New York City doesn't have to be intimidating. Our best suggestion for visiting the Big Apple would be to check out our new mini-guide to the city, which is available for download here.

We highlight the great hotels under $150/night, point you to good places to shop, eat, drink, and play--for less. I'd also recommend reading Charlie Suisman's 'My New York is Better Than Yours' article for other insider tips.

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Seattle, WA: We have a 15-hr layover at the Hong kong airport. hotels are running around $250. we would like to reserve a sleeping room/bed in the airport itself. is there an e-mail address i could use? we'd rather not call long distance.

Budget Travel Editors: The Plaza Premium Lounge in the Hong Kong International Airport, located at West Hall (near Gate 60) of Departures Level, has a relaxation area they call a Travelers' Lounge where you can nap and shower for $26 a person. You can fill out a form online or you can email the form back to enquiry.pplhk@plaza-asia.com . Find more information at plaza-ppl.com/hk_en/index.php#. However you do it, it's wise to reserve well in advance, as the lounge only has 9 nap stations

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Budget Travel Editors: Thanks for all of your great questions.

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