Nav­i­gat­ing the ‘neg­a­tives’ sur­round­ing Can­cun

The Washington Post Sunday - - TRAVEL -

On 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 edited ex­cerpts from a re­cent dis­cus­sion:

I’m hear­ing and see­ing a lot of neg­a­tives about trav­el­ing to Mex­ico lately, and I’ve been con­sid­er­ing a week-long Can­cun visit in midDe­cem­ber. What do I need to know?

There have been more re­ports about bad stuff hap­pen­ing in the Can­cun re­gion in re­cent weeks. A 20-year-old from Wis­con­sin died af­ter al­legedly drink­ing un­reg­u­lated grain al­co­hol at an Iberostar prop­erty, there was a drug-re­lated shootout and an­other woman from Wis­con­sin was as­saulted. But that re­gion gets 10 mil­lion vis­i­tors a year, so I’m not sure that I’d panic. I’d still go. — Carol Sot­tili

What are the best web­sites and places to find last-minute travel deals? Also, are these last-minute deals le­git and is there any­thing we need to be care­ful of when book­ing?

There are a num­ber of sites that spe­cial­ize in last-minute (or “dis­tressed”) in­ven­tory, such as Price­line and Hotwire. But among the best sources are the com­pa­nies them­selves, which of­fer deals by email. The deals are le­git, but they go fast. — Christo­pher El­liott

I’m start­ing to plan a 45th an­niver­sary trip to Mada­gas­car, prob­a­bly in Oc­to­ber 2018. Any tips from your ex­pe­ri­ence, An­drea? We don’t want to cook or put up our own tents (we want to spend our time look­ing for lemurs), and def­i­nitely don’t want to do a bus tour. We will prob­a­bly spend around three weeks there.

What an amaz­ing des­ti­na­tion for an­niver­sary. Lodg­ing and food are very in­ex­pen­sive, even at the “higher-end” resorts. Driv­ing and roads are crazy, so I would rec­om­mend a pri­vate driver/ guide for the lemur-and-na­ture-park part of your trip. If you spend a few days on the beach, you won’t need a guide. I used Aud­ley Travel for my ar­range­ments and had a great ex­pe­ri­ence. — An­drea Sachs What would you con­sider to be the best Alaskan cruise? What should we con­sider when book­ing an Alaskan cruise?

I don’t be­lieve there is a “best” cruise. Would you pre­fer a large ship or a small one? Big or small bud­get? How many days can you de­vote? Just about ev­ery ma­jor cruise ship line of­fers Alaskan cruises, and they come in dif­fer­ent fla­vors. There are also plenty of smaller ex­pe­di­tion com­pa­nies. You need to nar­row down your wish list. — C.S.

Next month, I’ll be cruis­ing from Van­cou­ver to Se­ward, with a trip to De­nali af­ter­ward. Any tips for a novice cruiser?

If you drink, price out the al­co­hol pack­age to fig­ure out if it will save you money. If you want to do the ship’s shore ex­cur­sions, book them as soon as you board. Ditto with din­ner at a spe­cialty restau­rant. Re­search al­ter­na­tives to the pricey, ship-spon­sored shore ex­cur­sions, but make sure you’re sign­ing up with a rep­utable firm. What­ever you do, get back to the ship be­fore it de­parts — they won’t wait for you if you’re not on an of­fi­cial ex­cur­sion. — C.S.

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