Travel

Travel Q&A: Try Yapta to track airfares, choose best time to buy

It might be a little early to book tickets for the summer, but it’s hard to know for certain. Remember, even airlines don’t know whether fares will go up or down. It’s market-driven. Travel columnist Christopher Elliott recommends a site such as Yapta, which lets you track your airfare and select the best time to buy.
It might be a little early to book tickets for the summer, but it’s hard to know for certain. Remember, even airlines don’t know whether fares will go up or down. It’s market-driven. Travel columnist Christopher Elliott recommends a site such as Yapta, which lets you track your airfare and select the best time to buy.

Q: I expect you get this question constantly, but I am completely mystified by the arbitrary pricing of airfares, and I don’t travel enough to have found any good way to game the system.

My husband and I would like to take my two teenage daughters to Europe this summer for a couple of weeks. Should we buy tickets now? Wait to see if prices go down? Is there a magic window for sales? And could the lowering of gas prices actually lead to the lowering of airfares? Yeah, I know, that’s crazy talk, but I just thought I’d ask.

A: It might be a little early to book tickets for the summer, but it’s hard to know for certain. Remember, even airlines don’t know whether fares will go up or down. It’s market-driven.

I would recommend a site such as Yapta, which lets you track your airfare and select the best time to buy.

Christopher Elliott

Cabin fever

We’d love to rent a riverfront cabin — not something a mile into the woods with a “river view” — for the Fourth of July in Virginia or West Virginia. Our goal is to be able to walk from the cabin to the river in a few minutes to fish, meander, whatever. Any suggestions as to where to get some honest information?

I stayed in an amazing chalet (it was more than just a cabin) at Harman’s in (how appropriate) Cabins, W.Va. I also have stayed at the charming Historic Matewan House Bed & Breakfast in Matewan, W.Va., near the Hatfield and McCoy trails. Both had rivers nearby, according my recollections.

In Virginia, check out the Stone Manor Riverfront Cabins in Luray, Va. In fact, you can find several options along the Shenandoah River, including cabins at the Shenandoah River State Park.

Andrea Sachs

Cruise concerns

If you know a ship will be going into dry dock next year, should you be overly cautious that the ship is showing its age and that there is wear and tear and you should avoid it? I am looking into a cruise for November on the Jewel of the Seas and it is up for an overhaul in 2016. What should I think since I don’t know a lot about cruising?

I would not be overly concerned. Just because a ship is scheduled for an overhaul doesn’t mean the cruise line stopped maintaining it (although it can). I would avoid the Jewel if you’re looking for the latest and greatest, like the Quantum of the Seas. But you could also find a real deal, since it might not be as desirable of a ship. I’ve cruised on older ships before and have had no trouble at all. I think you’ll be fine.

C.E.

These questions and answers are excerpted from a weekly online live chat hosted by The Washington Post Travel section editors and writers.

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