Play­ing the price game on air­fare

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.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.

— C.S.

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.

C.S.

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.

— C.S.

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.

— C.S.

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.

— C.S.

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