Playing the price game on airfare
Mondays, at 2 p.m., The Washington Post’s travel writers and editors discuss your travel stories, questions, gripes and more at live.washingtonpost.com. Here are some edited excerpts from a recent discussion:
We booked an Iceland ground tour a couple of weeks ago but held off on buying airplane tickets. They were about $550 at the time, and now the same flights are over $700. Is that just the name of the game? Our trip isn’t until July, so we are hoping they dip back down before too long.
Have you tried WOW Air out of BWI? Basic discount carrier, which means everything from bags to seat assignments costs extra, but fares are often cheap.
— Carol Sottil
We want to schedule an allinclusive resort vacation in the Caribbean for the end of May. However, the resort will be closed starting in July and we’re concerned that our experience may be subpar, as they stop investing resources in maintenance, activities and staff in preparation. Thoughts?
I’d like to say you won’t have anything to worry about. If they’re closing for a renovation, they’re just taking a hotel from “good” to “better.” But I would take lots of pictures and if something isn’t right, let the hotel know immediately. They may invite you back next year, when the resort is reopened, for a make good vacation. You never know.
— Christopher Elliott
I’m going to be in Tampa the second weekend of March, and car rentals from the airport are starting at $100 for economy cars! Are these spring break prices? Off-airport rental prices are around $60, but they aren’t conveniently located. Should I book now or see if the prices go down? Are any of the off-airport locations worth exploring?
If you’re a member, Costco offers good rates. I’m currently seeing a rate of $52 with all taxes and fees included for a rental from noon on March 10 through noon on March 12 with Alamo.
What’s the best way to fly to Tel Aviv from the West Coast? I see Turkish Airlines has good prices. Are they any good? Also, I noticed Condor Airlines has flights. Where are they from? I am planning to travel in May.
Lufthansa has the shortest flights, but they’re not the cheapest. Turkish Airways is the least expensive and you’ll connect via Istanbul, which has a good reputation. Condor, which operates out of BWI and is considered a discount carrier, has very long layovers to Tel Aviv.
I would like to book a trip to Israel from the West Coast. I have tried using several travel sites recommended to me by friends, such as Kayak and Hipmunk, but when I go to book a ticket I am sent to a third-party site that does not seem reputable. What should I do?
I use sites such as Kayak and Hipmunk to get a general idea of flight prices. I prefer to book directly through the airlines, as I don’t want finger pointing between third-party booking site and airline in case there is an issue. There are some third-party sites that appear to offer substantial savings, but I’d steer clear of those with bad ratings on travel and consumer websites.
Can you provide any recommendations for a place within a three-hour drive from D.C., where a few novice skiers can go the first weekend of March? We learned at the Homestead last year, but I imagine they won’t be open by then.
Skiing in the first week of March is very iffy for any spot within a three-hour drive of D.C. Snowshoe in West Virginia may still be open, but it’s a longer drive.
I have a couple extra vacation days to use in February or March. Where would you suggest for a single, 40-something year-old woman go that’s an easy drive from D.C.? I’m looking to relax, eat well and see some local sights. I was thinking Charlottesville or the Chesapeake Bay Hyatt. Any other ideas?
I’d opt for Charlottesville over the Chesapeake Bay Hyatt in Cambridge. Winter on the Eastern Shore is very quiet. I’d also look at Annapolis.