Trip Coach: Dec. 20, 2005

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George Hobica of airfarewatchdog.com answered your airfare questions

Smithtown, NY: We are looking to travel to Las vegas from the NYC area Oct 5-10th, 2006. What do you think the best time to lock in our airfare would be? Thanks for your time! Gigi

George Hobica: I think it's too early to book fares. But it's a very competitive route so you shouldn't have trouble finding $79 one way fares.

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Houston, TX: When and how is really the best way to secure the cheapest fares?

George Hobica: Airlines have secret sales all the time so I suggest checking routes every day. I like Travelocity's flexible date function the best since it looks for fares 330 days ahead vs. 30 days for Orbitz. Other sites have limited or no flexible date searches.

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Newark DE : Hello George,
Do you know which of the credit card air frequent flyer
miles rewards programs are the best, in terms of reward
level, ease of use (if thats possible) & redemption ?
I have an Amex Delta Skymiles, and I think they're
horrible. I built up over 66,000 miles and when I try to
call for a flight to Maui 6 months from now, they say there
are no flights available. I am really angry and Delta &
Amex right now.
I'm going to cancel that card soon. No wonder Delta's
bankrupt.

Thanks,
Mike

George Hobica: Hi.. you might look into Captial One's credit card programs. They claim to have no blackouts.

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Sarasota Fl: We travel 3 to 4 times a year and would like to know if there is a general travel insurance policy that will cover all of our travel with just one policy

George Hobica: There is no policy that covers everything; a lot of them have loopholes. Take a look at insuremytrip.com to compare the different vendors.

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cleveland oh: we are flying into prague on 7-6-06.we plan to stay 3 days and then travel to salzburg.
2 adults and 12 yr old...after2-3 days we will stop in villach.from there we would like to visit croatia before heading to italy. we depart from venice july 18.we love
your "little wonders"...any suggestions as to getting to zagreb and then where to go on
coast? should we train or boat to italy?
easiest/cheapest/fastest

George Hobica: I would take a look at the Route Maps page at www.airfarewatchdog.com to see what airlines fly where you want to go. There are lots of new European discount carriers. These days, flying is often cheaper than the train although personally I love train travel.

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Haleyville, Alabama: My sister, her husband, my wife and I will be traveling to Maui on April 17th for 9 nites. We are all in our 50's. We've already booked our condo accomodations.
We are now beginning our search for a good price for our airfare. We will be flying out of Huntsville, Alabama. Currently, the cost for flights seem pretty steep. Thus, our question is when, if at all, may the prices moderate some from where they are now? Please advise. Thanks!

George Hobica: THere could be a sale on Hawaii any minute or any day; it's a fairly competitive route. You might also look at leaving from Atlanta or Birmingham rather than Huntsville.. perhaps flying to LA or another city served by Aloha Airlines in the west, and then buying a separate ticket from there to Maui.

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Portland, Or: My husband and I have plane tickets to Savannah, Ga. for the 13th of January. We will be in Savannah for 3 days. Could you recommend a nice budget hotel? Also some resturants? Thank you. Ang

George Hobica: How about the Hampton Inn tel 912-231-9700. Good value and location.

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Tullahoma, TN: My son-in-law and daughter are going to China this March;Hong Kong, Singapore, and Bejing. What book would be most helpful for them on their first trip to these cities?

George Hobica: The biggest seller is the Lonely Planet Guide; but I like the Rough Guide as well.

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Willliamsburg, Virginia: Dear George, My husband and I want to go to Peru this spring. The tours we have looked at include the airfare. There is a supplement of $350.00 each for us to get to Miami, where the flight originates. I have found airfare for around $800.00 directly from the Norfolk airport to Lima. What should we do? I am torn between the convenience of the all inclusive and trying to save almost $1,000.00 in airfare for the 2 of us. What should we do? Thanks, Marcia

George Hobica: It's often cheaper to buy two separate fares on your own; just leave plenty of time for the connection, or even arrive a day ahead in Miami and explore the city. With what you may save on airfare you can easily afford to pay for the hotel!

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Red Bank, New Jersey: Our son is a college music major specializing in jazz guitar. His winter break is during January, 2006. We had hoped to visit New Orleans to hear some great jazz. Then along came Katrina! We are still debating whether to try the trip. Is New Orleans ready for visitors? Will we find accomodations, restaurants, and jazz clubs open for business? Any time in January is fine. Thanks, Sharon

George Hobica: New Orleans is open for business, sort of. I think the city needs your business and it will be interesting to see the town without all the usual tourist crowds. They do plan to have Mardi Gras this year. And flights are pretty cheap right now. Also, January is a great time to go because it's not super humid. So I'd say yes, go!

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San Jose, CA: Hi George; Happy Holidays to you! My question: My mom, age 72, wants to go on a "Harry Potter" tour of England for no more than a week's time. We would leave from either San Fran or San JOse. What points of interest are close to London that you could recommmend? She gets around pretty good but had pnemonia last winter and can't go up and down alot of stairs or walk for long stretches of time. we want to go before April so I know the weather will be cold there. Please Help!!!

George Hobica: Well, I would certainly go to Oxford, which is a beautiful town and served as some of the locations for the Harry Potter films (it's also one of my alma maters... one of the most beautiful cities in Europe I think). And Bath is an easy train ride as well. Those would be my two picks for day trips; and spend the rest of the time in London, which has more than enough to do and see.

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Grand Rapids, Michigan : We are going on a cruise leaving SAN JUAN on Jan 28th. What is the best and CHEAPEST way to get there by air? Should we book something out of GRR and stay a day or two in Florida and then book something from there to San Juan. Help!!! It's only a few weeks from now.

Thank you, thank you very much!!

George Hobica: This is a tough one because fares from Detroit, GRR, and LAN are really high now to San Juan.. You're not going to save anything by flying into MIA and then going from there to SJU. Of course, fares could change at a moment's notice, especially if Spirit has a sale. You might want to give hotwire.com a try. And be sure to arrive for your cruise a day or two early in case winter weather delays your flight.

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Medford, OR: I am planning a trip to Europe in June of 2006, and will be traveling from Spain to Italy to Greece to Turkey. What are the cheapest and most reliable ways of travel? And where could I find great deals on flights within those areas?

Thanks!
Alicia H

George Hobica: Take a look at the routemaps page of Airfarewatchdog.com to see discount airlines within Europe. There are tons of them now.

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Boston, MA: Hey George! I subscribe to your daily fares update and really appreciate them. A question for Europe travel in summer 2006. If you recall, there was a discount airline called Eurofly that started flying from JFK to Naples, Bologna and Sicily last summer (I think they were previously a charter outfit). Do you know if there may be additional start-up LCCs flying from major US airports to Europe in time for next summer? Thanks.

George Hobica: There are no new low cost carriers that I know of (except for business class only carriers from New York to London), but since many airlines have beefed up their international routes at the expense of domestic routes, I have a feeling that we may see some better than normal fares. It's too early to tell what will really happen.

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Granbury, TX: George,
My friend and I are planning on visiting Venice next June. We will have a rental car, so should we stay just outside Venice? If so, where?
Thanks, Patsy

George Hobica: Since cars are not allowed into Venice itself, then yes I would stay outside the city and take the train or boat service into the city. If you're staying in Venice for several days, you might want to consider releasing the rental car, unless you have it for a week or two and it's a good deal. You can easily spend 3-4 days exploring Venice. Personally, I'd stay in the city, although you'll probably find better hotel rates outside.

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NJ: I am soooo confused now about WHEN to book flights. What has happened to the tried & true rule that booking early & on mid-week days is cheaper?? My last few trips, I've found this rule to be completely untrue. I've booked flights early only to see prices slashed in half a few weeks before the trip. I've waited until a few weeks before a trip only to end up angry because the prices did not get slashed but instead got higher! It seems that info about when to book flights is outdated or obsolete. Help!
(I travel worldwide, so have no specific destination in mind for this question - would just love some solid, applicable info about when to book flights in general).
Thank you!

George Hobica: There really is no best time. Airlines lower fares on different routes everyday without advertising them. A fare could be $400 today and $98 tomorrow. And then $500 the next day. Usually, Tue/Wed/Sat are the cheapest days to travel, but not to buy airfares. You have to look at fares on the routes you want to fly every single day for a few weeks (using a Travelocity or Cheapair flexible date search) and then adjust your schedule to whenever the fare is lowest. That's what we try to do on Airfarewatchdog.com and in our newsletter.

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Ashland, Ohio: We are traveling to San Diego in Feb. and are having a difficult time figuring out the best area to stay. We prefer the beach and we were considering Coronado Island. Is it a hassle to take the ferry to go to the main land? We plan on doing some sight seeing while we are there. Is there any place you recommend? Thank you for your help. Still searching. Lisa

George Hobica: Definitely see the world famous Zoo of course, and Sea World. There are some great beaches. I think I'd stay on the mainland rather than the island and just visit the island for a day. Check out the San DIego visitor's bureau site for more suggestions: http://www.sandiego.org/nav/Visitors

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Washington, DC: I'm planning a trip to New York City, and I've read and seen news reports on tv about bed bug problems some hotels in the city are having. Should I be worried? Is there a site that lists the hotels that have had complaints from guests about bed bugs? Thanks!

George Hobica: I think this problem is probably overblown. But perhaps you should bring your own sheets and pillowcases, or a sleeping bag if you're really worried!

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George Hobica: Thanks for your questions. Happy Holidays!

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