A TSA of­fi­cer dam­aged my pass­port

The Washington Post Sunday - - TRAVEL -

Mon­days at 2 p.m. The Wash­ing­ton Post’s travel writ­ers and ed­i­tors dis­cuss your travel sto­ries, ques­tions, gripes and more at live.wash­ing­ton

post.com. Here are some edited ex­cerpts from a re­cent dis­cus­sion:

I was us­ing my pass­port as iden­ti­fi­ca­tion in se­cu­rity on a flight and the TSA agent started writ­ing on the page with my pic­ture and in­for­ma­tion. Is this a huge prob­lem? Is there a way I can get the pen off the page?

Are you kid­ding? There’s ab­so­lutely no rea­son a TSA agent should de­face your pass­port. Please con­tact me (at chris@

el­liott.org) and I’ll help you fig­ure out what hap­pened. The agency needs to re­place your pass­port.

— Christo­pher El­liott

I re­cently in­ter­viewed to vol­un­teer at the 2016 Olympics in Rio; now I just have to wait for an of­fer let­ter. They’ve said they’ll start send­ing them in Novem­ber and will con­tinue to send them through May, but I know I shouldn’t wait un­til then to get a ticket. Are there par­tic­u­lar air­lines that fly from New York (where I live) to Brazil that are more cus­tomer­friendly than oth­ers? Would travel in­sur­ance cover some­thing like not get­ting se­lected to vol­un­teer? Is this some­thing I should just leave to a travel agent?

How ex­cit­ing! Loads of car­ri­ers fly to Rio. The main ones are Tam, LAN and Copa, plus such U.S. air­lines as Delta and Amer­i­can.

The rules are the rules, so a cus­tomer-friendly staff doesn’t re­ally mat­ter. If you can­cel, you will have to pay a change/ can­cel­la­tion fee, plus any dif­fer­ence in fares. You might con­sider pay­ing a bit more for a re­fund­able ticket or look­ing into travel in­sur­ance. Make sure to ask the agent for a pol­icy that cov­ers your sit­u­a­tion. You can use a re­source such as SquareMouth to com­pare poli­cies and prices, but I rec­om­mend speak­ing with a live per­son.

If you don’t feel com­fort­able book­ing or ne­go­ti­at­ing with air­line agents, then use a travel agent.

— An­drea Sachs

I am plan­ning a fam­ily va­ca­tion in Jan­uary for six adults. We would like to go some­where warm/beachy that is easy to get to from both D.C. and Cal­i­for­nia. We would all like to be to­gether in a three­bed­room suite/villa, and I am hav­ing trou­ble find­ing some­thing like that on­line. Do you know of any re­sorts in the “up­per” Caribbean that of­fer th­ese kind of room­ing ac­com­mo­da­tions?

Villa Group Re­sorts, with sev­eral prop­er­ties in Mex­ico, has three-bed­room vil­las that sleep up to eight. Beaches Re­sorts in Turks & Caicos also has vil­las, but get­ting there may be prob­lem­atic. Omni Can­cun is an­other op­tion.

— Carol Sot­tili

My 35th birth­day is at the end of Fe­bru­ary and I would like to go some­where warm to cel­e­brate. I can take only three days off from work and am fly­ing from D.C. I’d like to pick some­thing rel­a­tively close by. Some­where with a beach and not too far from an air­port (I don’t want to spend all my time in a rental car) is prefer­able. Any sug­ges­tions?

Nas­sau, Ba­hamas, was spared the brunt of Hur­ri­cane Joaquin and is a short, non­stop flight from Wash­ing­ton.

— C.S.

My 75-year-old mom wants to see New York City. The prob­lem is that she can’t walk well or quickly. Even walk­ing a few blocks will be hard, es­pe­cially with crowds of peo­ple push­ing past her. What’s the best way to see the fa­vorite sites with­out re­ly­ing on the subway or walk­ing? Are you aware of any Web sites geared to trav­el­ers with mo­bil­ity im­pair­ments?

You might con­sider get­ting tick­ets for the hop-on, hop-off bus, which takes guests to the ma­jor at­trac­tions but also gives them free­dom to ex­plore in­de­pen­dently. For ex­am­ple, Big Bus Tours has a three-day ticket that takes vis­i­tors down­town, up­town, to Brook­lyn and on a river cruise.

NYC’s tourism of­fice has some great info on trav­el­ers with ac­ces­si­bil­ity needs.

— A.S.

Un­til re­cently, I man­aged a large sports team. My bosses just freed up my sched­ule for the fore­see­able fu­ture. I’ve been to San Fran­cisco, Ari­zona and Cleve­land, but not Coop­er­stown, N.Y. Where should I go now?.

Maybe get­ting out of the coun­try for a while, where you wouldn’t be rec­og­nized, would be a good idea. There are some good fares to Reyk­javik. (Thanks to this witty chat­ter for the good laugh.)

— C.S.

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