Q: Looking to travel to some warm location over Christmas. In the past, leaving on Christmas Day resulted in a cheap airfare. Starting to look for this year and tickets are ridiculously high. Should we wait?
It depends on the destination and whether there is competition on the route. As airlines merge, there are fewer flights. Yet demand has stayed high, especially during holiday periods. Unless your desired route is served by a discount carrier, I would not count on fares being any lower for Christmas Day flights. Sometimes there are last-minute holiday sales, but they are typically very restrictive.
Q: We’re planning to go on an airplane with our toddler. She’s under 2, but we’re buying a ticket and planning to take our carseat. Do you have any tips for traveling with a carseat? I’ve heard that sometimes airlines do not think the carseats are FAA approved. How do we find out? What do we do if an attendant does not let us use the seat? Do airlines charge to take on a carseat?
I applaud you for buying an extra ticket for your child and using a seat. You don’t have to, but it’s safer. Airlines do not charge for car seats. You can find out more about the best car seats for your child on the FAA website, FAAgov.
Q: What can you tell me about travel to Cuba? I have a chance to go with an educational company, but given the long history of travel bans, am leery of getting in trouble with the government here. Are there companies that are authorized to take trips under special regulations?
The restrictions have seriously eased up, and you won’t get in trouble if you travel with an authorized group, which it sounds like you are doing. (No comment on the countless people who visit Cuba via Mexico and Canada and never got in trouble.) I would take the opportunity before Cuba really opens up.
Q: We (two adults, three elementary-aged kids) are going on our first cruise next month. Anything we should know/expect/dread?
Try to plan your shore excursions ahead of time. You will pay more to go with ship-sponsored excursions. If you go with outside vendors, do some research first. Look at advance-purchase beverage packages as they can save money for those who like wine, beer and soda. You don’t have to book a return flight that leaves very late on day of debarkation — you can get off the ship earlier than advertised. Get to popular shows early in order to get good seats. Wake up early in order to grab poolside chairs.
Excerpted from a weekly online live chat hosted by The Washington Post Travel section editors and writers.